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ALACHUA – The hunt was on this past Saturday as excited children and their parents gathered at the Hal Brady Recreation Complex for the annual Easter Egg Hunt hosted by the City of Alachua. Each year on the Saturday closest to Easter, the City hosts the event to carry on the tradition of a hunt for hard boiled and candy filled plastic eggs.

For many families and children Easter just isn’t the same without the annual egg hunt. It is an adventure and a tradition that has been part of American culture for over 100 years. But it dates back much farther than that. 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.

In Alachua, it has become an annual event that attracts hundreds of people. While the City sponsors the event, others contribute as well. Dollar General provided over 200 baskets to give away with toys and candy, while CVS, Hitchcock’s and Walgreens donated the candy that filled over 1,000 plastic eggs.

Recreation staff and volunteers spread the plastic eggs across four sports fields, with each location designated for a specific age group so all children would have a chance to gather eggs. At 10 a.m., the gates opened on each field and the children rushed in to gather as many eggs as possible. In a matter of minutes each field was cleared of eggs as the parents helped their kids organize their prizes.

Inside the Hal Brady Center, staff members distributed the donated gift baskets as the families waited patiently in line for either a girl’s or boy’s basket containing age and gender appropriate gifts and even more candy. A recreation department employee dressed as a pink bunny circulated among the crowd and offered photos with the kids.

By 11 a.m. the event began to wind down as families left with baskets filled with candy and toys, while others decided to make it a day at the park for the children to play to burn off the energy and excitement caused by the hunt and candy already consumed.

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