Families hop to St. Patrick’s Park for third annual Easter ‘O’ Hunt

Published: Apr. 9, 2023 at 10:55 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - With the sun shining and a light breeze, it was a great day for kids to find those highly coveted Easter eggs in Michiana.

Families hopped on over to St. Patrick’s County Park in St. Joseph County for a bit of a challenge at the third annual Easter “O” Hunt.

”So most of our kids are a little bit younger, so we kept them (the eggs) in open areas, around buildings,” says Jamie Hancock, Leisure Services Manager for St. Joseph County Parks. “So, our park is 396 acres, which is really large to go out and try to find eggs, but once again, we made an easy-to-read map, so the parents help them out, get them in the vicinity, and then they start to look for the eggs. Maybe it’s by a landmark like a building, a river, a pond, playground equipment, so they get them in the area, and they start searching.”

The egg hunt was recommended for children six and up, and for only $5, kids could take home 40 pieces of candy.

“People are out, they brought picnics with them, and they’re going to go enjoy the playground afterward,” Hancock said. “So, they get to enjoy the park, look for eggs, and then, the best part of it; the kids get to come back and get the candy to reward them for finding the eggs.”

The “O” stands for orienteering, a sport where people are armed only with a topographical map and their sense of direction.

“We’re just out here having some fun, hunting some Easter eggs, and bringing our daughter around on this nice day,” says Ryli Vissers. “This has been a great day so far. Fun to see a bunch of other families out here and getting everybody to enjoy the nice day and holiday together.”

“And it’s really cool that this is more like a scavenger hunt, so we get to walk around, enjoy the weather, and spend some time together,” says Daria Kapinos. “And I think it gives her a little more pride too because as we walk around and she sees it, she’s super excited to go get it and onto the next location.”

Unlike the Easter egg hunts that are a mad scramble to grab the most, these kids and their parents would visit a series of points on the map, recognize landmarks, and find the hidden baskets.

“I like how we got to learn how to read a map, or at least they did,” says Chad Lemak about daughters Jemma and Jaycee. “We’re going to be doing a little more practice with them. They had a lot of fun doing it; they had a blast. They did pretty good, though. They did pretty good looking at the map, figuring where to go for the next one, what was in between us.”

All in all, 35 families participated in the egg hunt, with Hancock saying the registration list was full.

“I always love activities that bring new people out,” Hancock said. “They’re like, wow, I didn’t realize that this park was so close to town, and it’s beautiful. There are so many things to do and features to see. So, we have the activities; just bringing them out here is amazing.”

And looking around, one couldn’t help but see families together, kids laughing, and that spring is sprung.

“I think spreading it out throughout the park kind of shows them (the kids) different aspects,” Hancock said. “We have this gorgeous ditch surrounded by flowers that are popping up. They’ll be able to run up a hill, they’ll be able to check out the ponds, and in the meantime, they can watch turtles and maybe the fish. I think it has a lot to do with being able to take in nature while they’re out here looking for Easter eggs.”

Hancock also tells 16 News Now that the goal was to have a fun, family-friendly atmosphere while spending time outdoors.

“I’m huge on family time, so I think being outside, away from any kind of electronics, it’s great for the kids,” Hancock said. “Fresh air, the beautiful weather, everyone is ready to get outside and enjoy the sunshine, and it shows off our beautiful parks here.”

But families tell me that the best part of the day was even sweeter than candy.

“This is time for family,” Lemak concluded. “Being with family and being grateful we’re all together.”

To all our celebrating viewers, Happy Easter from WNDU.