Helicopter to release Easter eggs at Saturday event

Jennifer Toms and Denise Hutchison are two of the people planning a huge get-together at Antrim Township Community Park from noon to 3 p.m. on March 23. They expect up to 5,000 people will help them celebrate Easter, and everyone should get to go home with an egg or a fun memory.

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

No, Chicken Little, it is only Easter eggs coming at you by the thousands. All safety measures are in place, and Saturday the sky will be raining nearly 25,000 plastic eggs filled with candy and toys. Community Grace Church of Greencastle is sponsoring an Easter Eggs-plosion at Antrim Township Community Park.

The event is a step up for the church, which last year hosted an egg hunt at Jerome R. King Playground. Twelve-hundred people showed up to gather 3,000 eggs.

"They were gone in two seconds, literally," said Denise Hutchison from Community Grace.

"At the time, 3,000 eggs sounded like a lot," added her husband Paul, pastor of the church.

They decided to step up the game, to create a get-together for everyone in the area. From noon to 3 p.m., the park will be full of activities for children ages 0 through teens. All of the acreage of the large park will be used for games, food sales, and other experiences, with the exception of the two soccer fields, where soccer games will be underway.

The highlight of the day will be when a whirlybird from Advanced Helicopter Concepts, Frederick, Md., drops eggs into two barricaded circles at the north end of the park. Once the situation is safe, children will be allowed to run out and pick up the plastic treats.

Eggs will be laid in grass at a baseball field for children through age 4. The helicopter drops will be for ages 5-8, and 9-teens. Parking will be closed at 2:30 p.m. so organizers can get in place to assure protection for everyone prior to the fly-by.

Though the lineup of local vendors on site is still finalizing, visitors will be able to purchase hotdogs, drinks, and offerings from Mikie's. Lexie Fretz from F2 Photography will take pictures of children with the Easter Bunny for a minimal cost, or parents may snap their own shots. Bob's Florist is providing the setting for the big rabbit.

The Hutchisons received financial support from businesses and individuals to buy the eggs, which were made by a company employing handicapped and Down's Syndrome people. The eggs are designed to stay intact upon landing, but can be opened by a child.

Approximately 15 members from the congregation are organizing the Eggs-plosion, but 80 will be on hand for crowd control on Saturday.

"Our entire church family is helping," said Denise Hutchison.

Paul Hutchison noted, "When we had a meeting after church to plan this, no one left."

They have been in contact with other churches who regularly sponsor egg drops, so they are confident it will go well. If rain or wind prohibits the helicopter from coming, the day will be postponed until March 30.

Other activities include face painting, a bounce house, a Minute to Win It game for teens (with prizes), and door prizes for all ages.

"It's going to be so much fun," Denise Hutchison said.