03/29/13 — Hop, hop, hop

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Hop, hop, hop

By Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on March 29, 2013 1:46 PM

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Brianna Best, 8, left, and Tyasia Bunch, 7, center, sprint alongside other children as they look to collect colorful eggs during an Easter egg hunt on the front lawn of the Herman Park Center Thursday.

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An Easter egg sits on the lawn in front of the Herman Park Center as children wait in the background before the annual Easter egg hunt.

Eric Vaughn Sr.'s Easter egg hunting tips to his children were both simple and effective.

"My daddy told me to run straight ahead to the tree," said Eliana Vaughn, 7, Eric's daughter. After the whistle trilled, she did just that and found the coveted golden egg, a prize that earned her a basket full of goodies.

Eric Vaughn Jr., 4, didn't reveal his secret strategy. He was too busy being 4, but whatever he did out on the egg hunting field, it also earned him a golden egg and another basket for the Vaughns. That's two out of the three golden eggs available found by one very lucky family. The senior Vaughn took no part.

"I stayed on the sidewalk. I just said go out there, and fortunately, they both won," he said.

The Vaughns' adventure was part of the annual Easter egg hunt held Thursday night at the Herman Park Center and sponsored by both the Goldsboro Parks and Recreation Department and the Mayor's Youth Council. The more than 25-year-old event drew at least 150 children and parents for two egg hunts throughout the night and a few other Easter activities.

For the first half-hour of the night, Dan the Man, a clown, took the stage for a magic show. His antics got the crowd of children dancing, jumping, yelling and pointing out the obvious to the befuddled clown.

Face-painting was also available in the lobby. But the biggest draw was the egg hunt. About 100 young children awkwardly propelled themselves forward bundled in cold-weather wrappings to snag the 500 eggs that littered the ground in the front yard of Herman Park Center. "A hunt" is a misnomer, think more along the lines of mad dash.

Another egg hunt for 9- to 12-year-olds happened later in the night, with the added difficulty of hunting in the dark using flashlights.

Every egg had a piece of candy inside, but the biggest prize was a golden egg. Only three were available during each hunt, and they won one of the Easter baskets that the Mayor's Youth Council puts together every year as a fundraiser for their scholarship program. The 68 students in the youth council sell the baskets usually raising more than $3,000 each year, said LaTerrie Ward, the city's community affairs director.

Besides selling baskets, the council also helped with the Easter egg hunt by distributing the eggs and posing as the Easter Bunny. The lucky student who donned the costume lost the ability to speak, hear and see effectively and had to be guided around. But the children didn't seem to care about the bunny's disabilities. They were too busy having fun, which is the whole point of the annual event.

"I think they look forward to this every year," Ms. Ward said. "They're so excited. They can't wait to get in there."