"It was a beautiful day," said Recreation Director Chuck Barone. "It was sunny and warm. We couldn't have asked for a better day."
Multicolored plastic eggs were laid out throughout the park, some with tickets inside offering giant chocolate bunnies. However, everyone got a regular sized bunny.
"In order to get the chocolate bunnies in time, you have to order them months in advance," said Donna Daly, who has been the supervisor of the Weehawken Easter egg hunt for several years. The event has transformed into a labor of love for Daly, who begins preparing three months in advance.
The most important aspect of the day is securing the right chocolate. Store-bought bunnies just won't cut it. Daly orders more than 400 of the sweet rabbits from Bromilow's Chocolates in Little Falls, so each treat is 100 percent homemade.
Daly then has to secure the services of the cast of characters that make appearances, like the Easter Bunny (whose schedule is just a little tight just before the big day), his wife, Mrs. Bunny (we never knew the Easter Bunny took a bride), Mr. and Mrs. Chick (whom the kids loved) and Happy Duck. They posed for pictures with practically everyone.
Mayor Richard Turner loved the reactions of the kids who participated.
"It's symbolic to the beginning of spring," Turner said. "The Easter Egg Hunt is a wonderful day. The children love it. It seems like a simple activity, but there's actually a lot of work involved."
The staff was busy Saturday morning turning Louisa Park into an Easter playland. Nearly 1,000 balloons were inflated and hung around the park.
"We had a sizeable crowd," Barone said. "The little kids really enjoy themselves, looking for the eggs. Every kid is guaranteed something. It's an event that is geared more for the little kids, which is good. And there isn't a competition involved. Everyone wins."
The organizers said that although the event takes a lot of work, the rewards are plentiful.
"When you see the kids get all excited and see the smiles on their faces," Barone said. "That's what makes it worthwhile. The smiles are worth thousands of dollars."
Turner said that the entire recreation department, as well as other township employees, deserves a lot of credit for running a successful event.
"Chuck's crew did an outstanding job," Turner said. "But the Parks and DPW [Department of Public Works] people had to work hard after a tough winter to get Louisa Park in tip-top shape. It all clicked. It turned out to be a nice day."
It was also the last event that will be held in Louisa Park for a few months. The park will now begin a major restoration and renovation that hopefully will be completed by the fall.
"The next time we have an event there, it will be a brand new park," Turner said.