By Allen Etzler, Frederick News Post
Monday, April 10, 2017

58ead03351d09.imageLisa Howard’s search for an Easter egg hunt led her to Hillcrest Elementary School.

Howard, her husband, Anthony, and her children — Jody, Riley, Lily and Aslan — joined more than 40 kids gathered on Sunday in the cafeteria at Hillcrest Elementary School in Frederick to take part in an early Easter celebration put on by the Golden Mile Alliance.

Youths participated in egg races, an egg toss, face painting, coloring and hula-hoop contests. Last year’s event featured an Easter egg hunt, but the Golden Mile Alliance decided to focus this year’s event on other Easter-based activities, said Deb Reynolds, president of the organization.

The Howards attended the event last year, and the children had such a good time that they chose to go again, she said.

“They have such a blast,” Lisa Howard said. “It’s such a great time for the kids, and they all get along well, so that’s why we came back.”

The event allowed children to take part in a community celebration a week before the family celebration takes place on Easter Sunday.

“Next week is going to be really busy for everyone, so it would have been hard to have it next Sunday, or even next Saturday,” Reynolds said.

Alderman Josh Bokee dressed as the Easter bunny for the event — posing for photos with youths and taking part in a dance competition and the egg race.

“He did such a great job,” Reynolds said. “Last year he said he wanted to do it for us, but we had already hired someone. So we had him do it this year, and it has gone really well.”

Riley Howard said his favorite part of the event was getting his face painted. He had the artist paint half of his face as a rabbit and the other half as a fox.

His brother Jody said he most enjoyed the lollipop tree. Children could choose a lollipop from a plastic tree and find a prize along with each.

Jody’s selection won him an Easter basket that included a flying disc, a yo-yo, a paddle ball and more activities for him to play at home.

“It was my favorite because I got to win all of this stuff,” Jody said. “Plus you get a lollipop.”