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Fun, one piece of candy at a time - Fort Dodge Messenger

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Fun, one piece of candy at a time - Fort Dodge Messenger
Apr 8th 2012, 03:23

Promises of candy and fun brought hundreds of children out to Dodger Stadium the day before Easter.

More than 400 children registered Saturday for the annual Community Easter Egg Hunt, sponsored by the Moose Lodge. Under a gray sky in cool, 50-degree weather, more than 30 lodge volunteers began setting up the field at 10 a.m., arranging hurdles to demarcate the lanes for age groups and dispersing pounds of candy.

"We have a lot more candy than we've had in previous years," Becky Grazier, Moose Lodge chair person, said. "We have about a thousand dollars worth of candy, between donations and what we purchased."

For the event, small candy was strewn generously over the artificial grass-covered football field for groups of children to collect. Participating kids were divided into four age groups: 18 months to 3 years old, prekindergarten to kindergarten, first and second grades, and third and fourth grades.

In addition to all of the candy, this year the lodge gave away 25 prizes to each age group. The prizes, displayed across several long tables, included new board games, super soakers, volleyballs, stuffed animals, Transformers and a Disney Princess Musical Vanity. Three bicycles were also given to each age group.

"Every year, it gets bigger," Grazier said. "It gets bigger and better."

Michelle Vought, lodge volunteer, kept warm in her Easter bunny costume while handing out candy to smiling, appreciative children. She has been the Easter bunny for three years.

"I enjoy being the Easter bunny," she said. "I love helping out these little kids and seeing smiles on their faces."

Grazier has been coordinating the Moose Lodge "egg hunt" (a misnomer, as there are no eggs and the candy isn't hidden) for the last 12 years. The lodge has been sponsoring the event for years before that, she said.

"It's a lot of work, but it makes the kids happy," she said. "The kids deserve the candy. They enjoy it. It's fun to watch them get their prizes and get their candy, and then meet the Easter bunny. We have two Easter bunnies out here."

Grazier said she most enjoys "watching the kids go out onto the field and cleaning up the candy." The joy it brings to the children makes the effort worth it all in the end, she said.

"It always is," she said. "For the 20 minutes it lasts."

The field, moist from a brief rain, was divided width-wise into four lanes. Parents crowded their children at the start line across the entire 100 yards. Many offered advice to their kids, saying, "Run to the end of the field and get as much candy as you can."

After noon, announcer Bob Breffle blew the air horn.

"Get out the way," he said, as throngs of children and some parents swarmed onto the field. "The human vacuum cleaners."

In 90 seconds flat, the field was cleared of all candy. After the "hunt," parents hugged their kids and congratulated them as they went to the stands for the drawings.

Contact Brandon L. Summers at (515) 573-2141 or bsummers@messengernews.net

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