By Geri Gibbons, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
WILKES-BARRE — The city’s annual egg hunt sponsored by the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association brought hundreds of families to Public Square for a day full of fun.
Kicking off Saturday’s event was the Easter Bunny’s arrival on a fire truck, with children chanting excitedly: “bunny,” “bunny,” “bunny.”
The Easter Bunny then made his way through the Square more than happy to stop for a “selfie” with a youngster or to pat a delighted child on the head.
The day’s festivities provided an extra bit of celebration for the Ostrowski family, celebrating daughter Olivia’s third birthday as well as the start of the spring season.
The couple also brought along their twin boys, who at 9 months, slept peacefully in spite of the noise and activity which surrounded them.
“It’s our first time here,” said Chris Ostrowski. “But we’ll be back.”
Michelle Wise, an owner of Dunkin’ Donuts and a member of the DWBBA, said she has watched children grow up during the event’s 10-year history.
“I remember them as toddlers and now they’re big,” she said. “One family in particular always sits in the same area to look at their eggs. I always take time to say hello.”
Colleen Phillips, representing Service 1st Federal Credit Union, said the egg hunt was made possible by a cooperative effort of all the businesses who participate in the downtown business group.
“We hear so many great things,” she said. “Not only does the event stimulate the economy, but it also brings families together.”
Children in three different age categories scooped up over 5,000 eggs at the prompt of “Ready. Set. Hop.”
Families then grabbed a “Bunny Trail Map” of the downtown, directing them to businesses providing additional activities, product samples and giveaways.
Chris Kelly, director of community relations at Osterhout Library, said the library’s stop on the “Bunny Trail” provided children with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the library and get a library card.
Crafts, games and a movie were also offered at the library.
Kelly said the egg hunt dovetailed perfectly with Osterhout’s mission of serving children and families, as well as the benefits of reading together.
Other entities opening their doors to families Saturday included the YMCA, the F.M. Kirby Center and Boscov’s.
“It’s all about families,” said Phillips of Service 1st. “That’s why we do it.”