For many families and children, Easter isn’t complete without the annual egg hunt. But the tradition symbolizes more than a children's event. In some pre-Christian societies, eggs held associations with spring and new life. Early Christians adapted these beliefs, making the egg a symbol of the resurrection and the empty shell a metaphor for Jesus’ tomb.
That tradition and symbolism was on full display this weekend as hundreds participated in the annual High Springs Easter egg hunt. Pastor Adam Joy of the Deeper Purpose Community Church, the lead organizer, said the event featured more than 1,2000 hard-boiled eggs and 4,000 plastic eggs filled with treats.
“We also were able to get hundreds of stuffed animals and other prizes to give out, and everything was free for the children and families to take,” Joy said.
Joy said the event was a community effort, with volunteers spreading thousands of eggs and the city contributing the space at Catherine Taylor Park. In addition to the egg hunt, the church provided face painting, bounce houses and other games to keep families entertained during the four-hour event. Organizers also supplied a free meal with hot dogs, beans and chips.
The egg hunt itself was divided into three separate hunts by age group to make sure that everyone got an equal chance. Volunteers put over 1,500 eggs out at each location as children eagerly looked on with anticipation.
When the gates opened, excited children rushed in and clearly each field of eggs in a matter of a few minutes.
This High Springs tradition dates back 15 years, when High Springs resident Charlette Wilson took her daughter to Gainesville for an Easter egg hunt. Upon returning, one of the neighborhood children asked why High Springs didn't have its own event. Wilson decided it should.
“I have always loved children and having an opportunity to make them happy, so organizing the event gave me a way to give back to the community,” Wilson said.
In the early years, Wilson bought the eggs and candy herself and got donations from local residents and businesses to make the event a success, but each year it got bigger and more expensive to organize. Two years ago, she asked Pastor Joy if he would take over and help coordinate it.
Joy, who is also a High Springs police officer, agreed and reached out to his congregation for organizing help and donations. Deeper Purpose Community Church, a multicultural, non-denominational, was eager to pitch in on the event.
“All the members were excited about hosting the event and supplied their time and funding to make everything free to the children,” Joy said. “We also got a lot of support from the community and local businesses to purchase items.”
He said the effort is worth it.
“We love hosting this event for the community and making the children happy,” Joy said.