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Outings: Ventura County. | FOR THE KIDS

Keep Them Hopping

Easter Bunny hands out goodies amid music, games, shows at Harbor Village.


This weekend, the Easter Bunny will be making several appearances to distribute Easter eggs, including, of course, at the beach, since this is Southern California. The merchants at Ventura Harbor Village on Spinnaker Drive have, through the years, been particularly hospitable to the big-eared creature. This year will be no exception.

Judie Amendola, marketing manager for Harbor Village, expects 4,000 to 6,000 kids and their parents to show up for the Easter Celebration on Saturday and Sunday.

This year, the Bunny will be assisted in his giveaway sessions both days by his "pal" in a carrot suit. (Somehow, kids never question these strange juxtapositions. Wouldn't a hen be a better companion for the Bunny than someone who looks like something he eats? It makes you wonder if the wolf ever tours with the three little pigs.)

Besides the distribution of eggs and other treats, there will be an Easter egg hunt, magic shows, pony rides, live music, a petting zoo and a bird show.

Amendola explains that the egg hunt part of the celebration, to be held from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday only, has been designed to give kids 8 and under an easy, safe and noncompetitive way to "hunt."

"Participating merchants with a poster of an egg in their window will be handing out Easter eggs filled with toys, candy and prizes--free--but only while supplies last," she says.

This form of egg hunt was adopted as an alternative to hiding prizes in the grass, so that all the goodies won't be trampled on or scarfed up by older kids in the first few minutes before the little ones can even get out of their strollers.

The merchants displaying the Easter egg symbol in their windows are a cosmopolitan lot, giving the hunt some added twists. Participants include Oriental Treasures, Wet Pets, Harbor Hatter, China Bay Surf 'n' Taco, Pennyworth Books, Pacific Dreams and Harbor Kite.

On Saturday, as part of the celebration, the Michael J. Smith Trio will perform R & B and rock on the Village's carousel stage from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. The carousel staff will pass out Easter eggs with every carousel ride purchased from noon to 4 p.m.

Sunday, at the carousel site, the Frank Umbro band and special guest Buck Page will perform country music from noon to 4 p.m. Meanwhile, at the Village fountain, there will be parrot shows at 12:30, 2 and 3 p.m. and magic shows at 1:15 and 2:30 p.m.


The Easter Celebration is Sat. and Sun., noon-4 p.m., at Ventura Harbor Village, Spinnaker Drive, off Harbor Boulevard, Ventura. (805) 644-0169.

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