News

Merrimack Easter egg hunt a joy for moms, kids and others at Wasserman Park

Friday, May 9, 2014

Story and photos by LORETTA JACKSON

Staff Writer

oms dressed their kids in seasonal pastels to bring them looking their best to yet another primarily mom-managed event, the Easter Egg Hunt sponsored on April 19 in Wasserman Park by the Merrimack Parks and Recreation Department and Merrimack Friends & Family, a nonprofit social and service organization.

Mother’s Day approaches fast on the heels of Easter, a holiday when mothers and others bring to reality yet another of the loving attempts that make a particular day memorable for their children. Volunteers from the sponsoring organizations welcomed hundreds whose egg searches took place in various parts of the park. The hunts were divided into age groups. This year, Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 11.

The Easter bunny, a costumed character resembling Paul Bolles, of Merrimack, was ensconced in a place of honor in the park’s function hall. Children went home with a keepsake photo.

The contributions added funds to the Merrimack Friends & Families’ coffers. The monies are used during the year for various charitable projects. The club has donated Easter baskets to needy families. It arranges holiday donations of gift bags to home-bound seniors. Another effort, a drive to collect shoes for homeless veterans, was well supported.

The group is a nonprofit enterprise and functions as a social organization and a service organization. Members agree that the group’s activities offer a way for families to become involved in community projects, share friendships and support worthy projects.

The group’s roster of upcoming events included a service project from 1-3 p.m., on Sunday, May 4, that focuses on an Adopt-a-Road cleanup near the Merrimack Transfer Station. Another popular event, the club’s annual Spring Yard Sale, takes place from 8 a.m.-2 p.m., on Saturday, May 17, at Town Hall parking lot.

The crowd poured in all morning to the Easter Egg Hunt. Junior Girl Scout Troop 10151 was there to hand out maps to the areas of the park where kids ages 2-3, ages 4-5, ages 6-7 and those ages 8-10 would assemble for their egg hunts. Merrimack Police Department volunteers Jodi Plante, Judy Eriksen, Kay Murphy and Brian McCarthy directed traffic as visitors arrived.

Kristine Flett, co-leader of Troop 10151, said the Scouts undertook a number of duties, tasks ranging from hiding eggs to assisting in games of Simon Says that were held alongside the function hall in the grassy field flanking the playground.

“It’s part of their journey badges to give back to the community,” Flett said. “The girls help out in any way they can.”

A suspended length of yellow caution tape, secured a few feet off the ground, fluttered in the wind at the locations where the egg hunts would be held. The tape served as a launch point for crowds of youngsters lined up behind it. Upon the blast of a volunteer’s air horn, the race was on for hundreds of plastic eggs filled with candy, trinkets and small certificates redeemable for bigger prizes including foot-high Easter baskets filled with goodies.

Matt Casparius, director of Merrimack Parks and Recreation Department, noted the longevity of the event. It was the town’s 22nd annual egg hunt. He said he was pleased with the turnout on a beautifully sunny day.

“We’re happy to provide family fun on a day like this,” Casparius said. “We’re showcasing our parks and we’ll be expanding other family events in the future.”

Bev Coelho, of Merrimack, a member of Merrimack Friends & Families, supervised the area where the youngest egg seekers met. She said there were at least 500 plastic eggs on each of the fields where the groups of children would assemble.

“It was very organized, as each group had a separate area according to the age of the child,” Coelho said. “Inside, you could have your photo taken with the Easter Bunny and have snacks and a drink.”

A bake sale of tasty treats from Friends’ members included freshly baked banana breads, apple-cinnamon breads, cupcakes whose swirls of frosting were fluffed with coconut and cookies piled high on trays.

Patricia Wilson, of Merrimack, brought her two children to the Easter egg hunt. Julie Messier, 2, toddled among the eggs and during the hunt in her age division came up with some beauties in pink, yellow and light blue. Her brother, Boston Messier, 8, came away with a bounty of eggs. One contained a certificate for a large Easter basket chocked-full of toys and candy.

Wilson said the event provided her children a chance to come down to the park on a beautiful day when hundreds of other children were present to share the fun.

“This is the first year they’ve gone to this,” Wilson said. “They had a blast.”

For more information on the Easter Egg Hunt, or for details about other Merrimack Parks and Recreation Department events, visit Facebook, call 882-1046 or visit the department online, at www.merrimacknh.gov.

Upcoming events include a bus trip on May 17 to New York City, Naticook Day Camp, which begins June 23, the Summer Concert Series, held in Abbie Griffin Park, which begins with singer-songwriter Ben Rudnick & Friends on June 25, and others.

For more information on Merrimack Friends & Families, visit www.merrimack
friendsfamilies.org.

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