Saturday marked 3-year-old Kelli Hann's very first Easter egg hunt, and she wasn't quite sure what to make of it.

She carried a pale pink basket in one hand, while her other hand clutched that of her great-grandmother, Brenda Lancaster.

The crowd was a bit overwhelming for even the veterans attending the annual Easter Eggstravaganza at Herman Park.

"She has not ever been before," Lancaster said. "I hope she knows to go get the eggs."

When the signal was given and children scattered, Kelli immediately focused in on a green plastic egg, gently placing it into her basket.

Then she knelt down to retrieve an orange one, spotting a second one of the same color and attempting, unsuccessfully, to pick up both at once.

Satisfied with the three eggs, she returned to Lancaster's side.

"She'll be faster next year," Lancaster said.

There were 17,525 plastic eggs strewn across the landscape of Herman Park, cordoned off by age group to level the playing field for the estimated crowd of 1,200 children.

This year Goldsboro Parks and Recreation partnered with Bethel Church for the event, which also featured inflatables, live music, face painting, free pizza and cupcakes and a variety of vendors.

"We have been hosting this event for probably six or seven years now," said Daniel Weeks of Bethel Church. "It's always been big.

"We bring the eggs, face painting, music, sound, the prizes, the food, a lot of volunteers. The City (of Goldsboro) was awesome. They provide the park and the stage."

Alexis Artis, 2, carried a bright red basket accessorized with a red and white polka dot ribbon made by a co-worker of her mother, Andrea Artis.

They were accompanied by Andrea's cousin, Kerry Mack, and other daughter, Annice Artis, 6, whose basket was adorned with butterflies.

"We're here to have fun," Annice said.

Seeing the opportunity for a teachable moment, Andrea asked, "What is Easter really about? Remember we talked about Christmas and Easter?"

"It's about Jesus," Annice replied.

Instead of the traditional wicker baskets or plastic or metal containers, siblings Marquis Frederick, 9, and Tiana Kenon, 7, showed up with three plastic grocery bags between them.

They were a tag team of sorts and scoped out the landscape in advance of the festivities.

"I saw a gold egg," Tiana said. "It's got money in it."

"We're going to look for golden eggs together," her brother said.

"And our cousins," Tiana added. "We'll get some for our cousins. The goal is to get as many as we can before time runs out or before they run out of eggs."

Vickie Tarlton was most excited about seeing the event through the eyes of her 6-year-old grandson, Seth Mallo, who was carrying a Captain America plastic bucket.

"We're going to go Easter egg hunting," he said, a smile breaking out across his face.

"This is his first Easter egg hunt," she said. "He's from the Philippines.

"He told me in the car, 'Nana, I'm so excited for my first Easter egg hunt.'"

As the capacity crowd fanned out over the park, parents were cautioned against doing all the work -- "The Easter egg hunt is for your children," explained Phillip Sexton, children's church pastor of Bethel Church.

For some it was the thrill of the hunt, for others a dead heat to fill whatever container they had brought.

And then there was the added bonus of popping open the eggs and discovering bite-sized candies or tiny toys.

Some of the fortunate got to stand in the prize line near the gazebo, like Georgette Simpson and her daughter, Serenity, 8, who discovered two eggs with stars on them. She cashed them in for two prizes, a kite and a pale purple water bottle.

Not bad for a few minutes scurrying around to fill a bucket with eggs.

"I took off running," she said. "I was running really fast and got a whole bunch, but I was trying to let other kids get some, too."