But was it likely that they'd get it? The damp and dreary weather that had doused the area with snow, rain, rain, snow, and more rain made the organizers of the annual Weehawken Easter Egg Hunt a little concerned before Sunday. .
"We bought all these chocolate bunnies and did all this work," said Weehawken Recreation Director Chuck Barone. "It snowed one day, then rained for three days prior to the event. We really had to wonder what we were going to do if it continued to rain." .
But for some unexplained reason, the rain ceased and the sun shone brightly last Saturday, shining on the 400 or so youngsters who flocked to Louisa Park on Boulevard East to participate in the township's 18th annual Easter Egg Hunt. .
"It was a beautiful day," Barone said. "It was sunny. We couldn't have asked for a better day." .
"The forecast was bad for several days," Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner said. "But we were lucky. It turned out to be a beautiful day, celebrating the beginning of spring." .
Donna Daly 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 first and 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. .
"But in order to get the chocolate bunnies in time, you have to order them months in advance," Daly said. .
Hidden tickets Tickets are placed inside plastic eggs and the lucky youngsters who find an egg with a ticket inside gets the bigger chocolate prize. .
Even though the only kids who find the winning eggs get giant bunnies, all of the participants get regular-sized rabbits. .
Daly then has to secure the services of the cast of characters that make appearances at the hunt, like the Easter Bunny (whose schedule is just a little tight just before the big day) and Mr. and Mrs. Chick (whom the kids loved). .
Turner loves the reactions of the kids who participated. .
"The Easter Egg Hunt is a wonderful day," Turner said. "The children love it. Not only for the hunting of the eggs, but people just come out and stay. They milled around the park for hours. I think everyone wants to make sure that spring is here and winter is finally over. It's a great time. 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 play land. Nearly 1,000 balloons were inflated and hung around the park. The eggs were placed strategically throughout the park, but not hidden so far out of plain sight that the kids couldn't find them at all. .
Each child was able to find one egg - and then were able to see if they won a bigger chocolate prize. .
"We had a sizeable crowd," Barone said. "The little kids really enjoy themselves, looking for the eggs. The staff really gets behind this event and everyone has a lot of fun. Every kid is guaranteed something. The kids have a great time and the workers have a great time. 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 important thing is that every single child leaves with a prize," Turner said. "It makes the event non-competitive and that makes it fun." .
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. .
"It took a lot of work," Turner said. "Once again, Chuck's crew did an outstanding job. 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." .
Sure enough, two days later, Weehawken experienced its most substantial rainfall in 23 years, getting more than three inches of rain. Look at the bright side. That could have translated to 36 inches of snow. .