13,000 eggs await children at Lakewood Ranch's EGGstravaganza

jajones1@bradenton.comApril 11, 2014 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- It's always a wild scene when hundreds of children are turned loose for EGGstravaganza, Lakewood Ranch's longest running and largest Easter egg hunt.

The quest -- some might call it a stampede -- for a share of 13,000 eggs makes for a swirling swarm of activity.

Now in at least its 14th year -- organizers aren't quite sure -- the event returns 9:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday at 13400 Adventure Place, off Greenbrook Boulevard.

Organizers at LWR Community Activities have preparations for the big event down to science, ordering 12,000 eggs that are pre-stuffed with candy, said Lori Basilone, community activities director.

The eggs are packed in Pennsylvania by the disabled, who do a fine job, she said.

Don O'Leary remembers that in the old days, residents packed the eggs with candy and it took them hours over several nights to get the job

done. "I'd go home with a headache," he said.

In addition to the eggs stuffed with candy, there will be 1,500 others stuffed with Chick-fil-A meal coupons, invitations to burlap sack races, or Petland goldfish coupons, Basilone said. Helping scatter the eggs are members of the Lakewood Ranch High School Leadership Club.

Other activities planned at EGGstravaganza are face painting, sack races, a petting zoo, a balloon artist, music and the arrival of the Easter Bunny in a red Corvair. Also on hand will be the East Manatee Fire and Rescue team with one of its fire trucks.

EGGstravaganza is intended for families with children between the ages of 2-13. Already, 600 have registered, Basilone said.

Families can register right up to and including the day of the event. They may preregister online at www.lwrcac.com, or at the event starting at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

So that no one is trampled or loses out during the egg hunt, children participate in EGGstravaganza by age group.

The egg hunt begins at 10:15 a.m.

Participants may enter for a chance to win a themed Easter basket. Proceeds benefit The Florida Center for Early Childhood. Cost is $5 per adult, and $3 for children 3-13. There is no charge for children 2 and younger.

For information call 941-757-1530.

James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter @jajones1.

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