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Eggs-citing Eggs-travaganza

ROME TOWNSHIP — With 80 degree sunshiny weather predicted for Saturday, the seventh annual Sanctuary of Grace Easter Egg Hunt is expected to draw the biggest crowds so far to the Lawrence County Fairgrounds.

“We are expecting 5 to 6,000,” Debi Reynolds, one of the hunt’s organizers, said.

But there will still be lots of eggs to find as volunteers have spent months and months stuffing 27,000 plastic eggs with candies and prizes.

“Our church started it years ago and last year we joined up with several other churches,” Reynolds said. “Now it is a community egg hunt. It’s wonderful.”

Plans started back in the winter with the churches dividing up chores to bring off the children’s event coordinating everything from entertainment to food.

“Everyone takes a leadership role,” she said. “It is a very shared, active load. It all starts coming together. It’s amazing.”

By 8:30 a.m. that morning volunteers will hide the eggs in cordoned off areas according to age groups.

Then the gates at the fairground will open at 10:30 a.m. with cartoon and fairy tale characters strolling the grounds, available for photos. Among those “celebrities” will be Sponge Bob, Elmo, Marco, the OU Bobcat, Cinderella and Belle.

There will also be face painting, free hot dogs and drinks and a live band music from Roman’s Highway performing. Even the originator of the hunt, Damian Southard, will show up as the Easter Turtle.

Also throughout the morning will be special testimonies from community members who have overcome trials such as drug or alcohol addictions

Between noon and 12:30 p.m. the actual hunt will begin but there is another purpose to the fun.

“Our overall goal is to reach out to the community that Easter is more than the Ester eggs and the Easter bunny,” Reynolds said. “It is about the free life we celebrate. There is new life in the spring and it is about that Jesus Christ rose on what we call Easter and he gives us life.”