Easter egg hunts on Friday and Saturday brought the community out for some fresh air with appearances from the Easter Bunny.
The two events were organized separately by different organizations and on different days, but with the same goal — getting locals out and interacting with each other.
On Friday afternoon at River Falls Park in Weldon, several guests arrived at the pavilion, where children and others were greeted by characters, such as the Easter Bunny, Peppa Pig, Mickey and Minnie on a clear and bright day.
The event was organized by Barbie Shearin-Boyd, planning committee chairwoman of Weldon-Halifax Community Center Inc., who said she also handles other community events.
“This is just a way of showing some of the things we would be able to do in our community center by just making sure that we give children resources and outlets and things of that sort that they may need to be better to do better,” Shearin-Boyd said. “We’re truly trying to make a difference and what comes out of Weldon. We haven’t had as much positive going on in a while, and we just wanted to incorporate that in the best way that we could.”
Several gift baskets were handed out to children who arrived. The center’s Board of Directors Chairman Donnell Thomas said it is a wonderful opportunity to share with the community and young people, to let them know they are in their hearts.
“We love them, and we want to support them for the rest of their lives and the rest of our lives,” Thomas said. “We think this is a great day to be alive and to serve God.”
Vice President Terra Williams of Weldon-Halifax Community Center Inc. said, “We would like to thank the citizens and all for their support, and let’s continue support to help us grow.”
Stanley Edwards, financial secretary for the center, said it is wonderful to let the community know of their efforts to support the community and to provide recreation and other activities to help children develop fruitful lives.
An Easter egg hunt began at about 2 p.m., where people lined up to take off and find eggs hidden around the park.
Mykenze Brickhouse, 17, brought her little brother, 7-year-old Dominic Brickhouse, to the event.
“I feel like this is a good event for the kids to get them outside of the house because there’s not much for them to do in this area,” Mykenze said. “I feel like this is some type of exposure and something for them to experience having fun.”
Another Easter event was held on Saturday at Steve’s Sno Kone Kups’ courtyard in Littleton. It was again a bright and sunny day where children and guests lined the courtyard’s outside fence before being invited in by the Easter Bunny himself.
Aside from meeting the Easter Bunny and eating treats from Steve’s Sno Kone Kups’ trailer, the children scoured the courtyard to find hidden eggs in the traditional hunt.
Owner of the business, Steve Milligan, was dressed as the Easter Bunny greeting and taking photos with families. Being an educator at Chaloner Middle School, he said it felt good to see the children come out and enjoy themselves and seeing them back in the classrooms, he said.
The event had a great turnout of people with the help of Randy Wrenn, owner of Wrenn Sports Graphics & Screen Printing, who sponsored the event, Milligan said.
“Appreciate the newspaper coming out and supporting us,” he said. “We’ll be doing a lot of events set up in Roanoke Rapids.”
Karla Bankert brought her two sons, 4-year-old Allan and 1-year-old Alberto Santos, and said it was a great idea to hold the event.
“It feels really good to get them back out, especially with Allan being older, we can actually get out, and he can enjoy himself better,” Bankert said.
One little guy who was shy to meet the Easter Bunny, 2-year-old Weston Shearin, was with his mother, Ashley. She said it was a great event.
“I think the community needs to come together more often, and I think this is wonderful,” she said.
Laura Kearney brought her 4-year-old granddaughter Addie Kearney, who often cheerfully followed the Easter Bunny at the event hopping alongside him and giving hugs.
“It’s really fun,” Addie said. “I liked it because when he came to my house I was so excited.”
Laura said Addie loves the Easter Bunny since she had a visit by him earlier that day.
“After last Easter being stuck inside and not being able to go places, it’s been wonderful to go out and the kids to find eggs,” she said. “Mr. Steve did a great job today.”
Handing out food from the trailer was 16-year-old Alexia Marie Durham, a junior at Roanoke Rapids High School, who said she has been working at Milligan’s business since September. Durham said she loves doing things for little kids and remarked on how around Christmas time, they had storybook reading in the courtyard where sleighs were set up to sit on.
“I think it’s great that we have like a small community here, and it’s great to open up for the kids so that they can get out and enjoy something like an Easter egg hunt, even though with all the pandemic stuff going on,” she said. “It’s just great for them to come out and see other kids too because I know we just got back into school, and interaction for little kids is really important. It’s really great to see them all play together and interact.”
Milligan said they might be doing a big event in Roanoke Rapids when October rolls around.
“The city supports it Steve’s Sno Kone Kups, and we really appreciate that,” he said.
Also, Milligan said that his business operates mostly on Friday and Saturdays during the summer, but he may also open on Thursdays as well, depending on the turnouts.