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Hunters and Gatherers

Children will be set loose among 5,000 hidden eggs.


The city of Calabasas is putting on an Easter "Egg Stravaganza" for Valley folks Saturday morning at Grape Arbor Park. A thousand kids are expected to turn up to hunt for colored eggs (some of them golden), join in an egg toss and meet the Easter Bunny.

Marilyn Fisher, the city's recreation supervisor, has a decade's experience organizing Easter egg hunts. She says that the Calabasas event has been designed to be "fun and fair for everyone, kids as well as parents."

Because older kids are so competitive, she says, "we let the little kids hunt first, starting at 10:15 sharp, for 1- to 2-year-olds. Then at 10:30, it's for 3- to 5-year-olds, at 10:45 for those 6 to 8. And at 11 a.m. we let in kids 9 to 12 years old."

Why so much regimentation? Fisher and her staff plan to hide as many as 5,000 plastic eggs in the park, and, beginning with the toddlers, kids will be allowed to take as many of them as they can find and carry in their allotted 15 minutes.

In her experience, if older kids were allowed to hunt alongside the little ones, the place would be picked clean in the first few minutes--and most of the hunters in diapers would end up egg-less.

Dividing up the time gives a wider range of kids the opportunity to grab as many eggs as possible.

The eggs used for this event are hollow. Whether kids end up finding one or a dozen, they will be able to turn their collection in for a free Easter basket packed with little toys and treats, one to a participant.

Ever the realist, Fisher says: "The eggs are the most expensive part of the event for us. If we get them back [in exchange for the baskets of treats], we don't have to buy and glue together another 5,000 for next year."

If the hollow eggs had been stuffed with little candies, she says, even the most successful hunter would probably end up with a smaller pile of sweets and treats than the baskets provide.

There will also be a gift certificate for frozen yogurt in each basket.

Each age group will also have a chance to hunt for two golden eggs.

The lucky finders can turn the egg in for a special prize--a chocolate bunny.

The morning will be rounded out with games--sack races and an egg toss.

The city will provide the hard-boiled eggs so participants don't have to bring their own.

According to Fisher, one of the reasons for the city's largess is that "we don't want to ruin any kid's Easter best."

In the past, she's had some interesting experiences with children tossing Easter eggs that were less than fully cooked.


The "Egg Stravaganza" Easter egg hunt, egg toss and Easter Bunny visit will be at Grape Arbor Park, at the corner of Canwood Street and Parkville Road. The park is near the Lost Hills exit, off the Ventura Freeway in Calabasas. 10 a.m.-noon. All ages welcome. Free. (818) 880-6461.


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