Kids of all ages line up to get a chance to see the Easter Bunny, hunt for eggs, and generally have a good time.
This year was no exception, as more than 200 youngsters converged on the newly refurbished Louisa Park on Boulevard East on Saturday to participate in the 20th annual Easter Egg Hunt.
"It was a beautiful day," said Weehawken Recreation Director Chuck Barone. "We've been doing this for what seems like forever and the kids just keep coming. We were also very lucky with the weather. We had some bad days last week, but Saturday turned out to be sunny. It worked out well. We couldn't have asked for a better day."
Lots of chocolate
Multi-colored plastic eggs were laid out throughout the park, some with tickets inside offering giant two-pound chocolate bunnies. But there were no losers. Every child got at least a regular sized chocolate 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 turned 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.
In fact, Bromilow's chocolate bunnies have become such a staple of the day that the parents actually now check to see that the candy comes from the highly respected company.
"It's expected that we get the candy from Bromilow's," Barone said.
Cast of characters
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 the week before he hips and hops his way to all the good boys and girls) and his wife, Mrs. Bunny.
Funny, no one ever sent out the wedding invitations about the Easter Bunny's nuptials.
Also in attendance were Mr. and Mrs. Chick, another happily married couple, and Happy Duck, who is overjoyed to be single.
The characters spent the entire morning posing for pictures and hugging and greeting the children. Some of the children were a little hesitant to pose for the pictures and were frightened by the characters, but that's normal. Other kids just flocked right to the popular Easter parade of oversized animals.
Weehawken 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 land. 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, deserved 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 the winter months to get Louisa Park in tip-top shape. It all clicked. It turned out to be a nice day."
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at either OGSMAR@aol.com or email@example.com