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A BICYCLE RAFFLE...will be a part of the Frankenmuth American Legion Post #150's annual Easter Egg Hunt, set for 9-11am on Saturday, April 4. Showing off the bikes are Legion members and hunt organizers Dave Hoffman, left, and Art Diffin, right, along with Diffin's granddaughter, Mikayla Hoose, age 12. (News Photo)
Legion, Parks & Recreation partner for Easter Egg Hunt
The annual Easter Egg Hunt has been one of the Frankenmuth American Legion Post #150’s longest-running community events.
Last spring, the members enhanced the event for the enjoyment of the children and their parents and the 2015 hunt is about to get bigger and better, with a nod to Frankenmuth’s German heritage and traditions.
The post will conduct the Easter Egg Hunt, 9-11am on Saturday, April 4, in Heritage Park and the Harvey Kern Community Pavilion. The Legion is expecting 500-600 children, up to age 8.
In past years, the hunt was held at 10am, the actual ‘hunt’ lasting about one minute, followed by picking out prizes and candy at a long table set in front of the pavilion.
This year, the Frankenmuth Parks and Recreation Department is again assisting Legion Post #150. The hunt will include inflatable activities, including a bounce house, a visit by the Easter Bunny, dancing the bunny hop, face painting, prizes, candy and of course, the Easter egg hunt.
There are two new features for 2015.
First, Ronald McDonald will arrive at Heritage Park, along with the Easter Bunny, around 9:15am. The Frankenmuth Police Department’s Humvee will escort them to the hunt.
The Legion will also conduct a bicycle raffle for the first time, thanks to McDonald’s of Frankenmuth, with some assistance from the Meijer Store in Birch Run.
Six bikes will be included in the raffle, two for each age group, boys and girls. When the “hunters” arrive, a Legion member will hand them two tickets and stamp their hands. The children choose the bike of their choice, put one ticket in the Easter basket hanging on the handlebars, and keep the other for the drawing, which will take place at 10:30am.
Flyers will be sent out to area schools to promote the egg hunt. Infants through age 8 are allowed in the hunt.
“In the past, we put out 1,800 plastic eggs (across the Marv Herzog Fest Platz) and this year we should get an increased amount of kids,” Easter Egg Hunt Chairman Dave Hoffman said. “We filled 3,200 eggs and we already have enough plastic eggs (for the future) to cover the increased number of kids.”
A total of 75 Frankenmuth-area Girl Scouts gathered at the legion post home to fill the colorful eggs.
The legion has also increased its amount of candy and prizes. McDonald’s of Frankenmuth will also provide refreshments. The Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Frankenmuth 7-Eleven are also event sponsors.
Hoffman has been assisted by fellow legionnaires Art Diffin, Mike Laux, Ralph Haubenstricker and Larry Henry.
This year, the legion members and parks and recreation staff will be doing the Frankenmuth Easter tradition of building a nest outside the pavilion with sticks and grass. Around the community, this was known as a “Hosa Gatla”
Frankenmuth Gemuetlichkeit Club members will be performing the calling of the Easter Bunny in German.
“The little children and their parents will be asked to find the eggs in the nest. Then the older kids will find the eggs in the same way as it has been done in the past, by three age groups,” Hoffman explained. “I have five small Easter baskets made up. We will have five plastic eggs with a note inside telling them they won an Easter basket,” Hoffman said.
The age groups are 0-3, 4-6 and 7-8.
Per the German tradition, children would go outside a few days before Easter or on Easter eve and call out (English translation): Come bunny, come bunny, come across the field, come running with your fastest speed, and bring along a large sack of eggs.”
On Easter Saturday, families would build the Easter egg nest in the backyard. The nest was built with wooden sticks and had a narrow opening for the rabbit to enter and then a round circle. The nest would be lined with packing, such as fake grass. The entire nest was the shape of a traditional light bulb.
Early Easter morning, before the children rose for church, the eggs were placed in the nest. Candy and other items were left inside in an Easter basket.