The day was sunny, warm, and filled with Easter Egg hunting fun for hundreds of children at Heritage Park of North Iowa on April 3.
After a hiatus last year due to COVID-19, the Heritage Park-Farmers Coop Association annual Easter Egg Hunt resumed and was expanded to accommodate special needs children of all ages.
One of the event organizers, Heritage Park Event and Tour Coordinator Dawn Arispe, said the last thing that anyone wants is for any child to feel frustrated or upset during the egg hunt, which is why the new class was added this year. She said that with the addition of this group, special needs children could fulfill the joy of all kids in hunting for those candy-filled eggs.
“After many years of doing this, we noted a child having difficulty and it was more of a challenge for them,” said Arispe. “So this year, every child of any age with special needs had their own Easter Egg hunt.”
It was the fifth year of the annual event at Heritage Park, which has always been held on the Saturday before Easter.
“We started this because we worked with (Forest City) Parks and Rec and wanted bigger grounds for the event,” said Arispe. “We wanted to do more than just throw candy on the ground and I thought it would be good to have (plastic) eggs.”
She and her husband, Doug Arispe, took over as organizers of the former parks and recreation event and developed the sponsorship relationship with Farmers Coop, which donates the candy for the children during the egg hunt. Dawn and Doug donate prizes given to the children for finding “Golden Eggs” during the hunt.
The hunt was held entirely outdoors. Children searched for eggs in three age groups followed by the special needs group, each in different areas of the park, including a grassy knoll, school yard, and the lawn surrounding a historic house located on the grounds.
“As they get older, the area increases in challenges,” said Arispe. “For the young ones, the eggs are not really hidden. For the older kids, they are looking around buildings and under benches.”
Rob Hillesland is community editor for the Summit-Tribune. He can be reached at 641-421-0534, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.