Under a shining sun in Kenai Municipal Park on Friday, children eagerly sprayed colorful streams of water onto snow berms as they awaited the start of the city’s annual Easter egg hunt.
Featuring an XTRATUF-clad Easter bunny, the event, which was organized by Kenai Parks and Recreation Department, with the help of the Kenai Community Library and other community groups, included a traditional Easter egg hunt for younger kids, a scavenger egg hunt for older kids and photo ops with the Easter bunny.
The egg hunt for children 5 years and younger was held in a cleared-off area, while older kids went on a “QR Code-Breaker Hunt.” As part of that activity, participants had to find 15 colorful eggs hidden in the park that contained clues to solving a riddle. The corresponding “QR Code-Breaker Notebook” riddle asked: “Why was the Easter Egg hiding?”
As part of another activity, called “Spray on Spring,” kids filled water blasters with colorful water that they then sprayed onto the side of snow berms in an area that had been cleared by Kenai Parks and Recreation.
Parks and Recreation Administrative Assistant Carol Bannock, who helped direct attendees to activities, said that the idea for the watercolor activity came when the department realized there was going to be so much snow on the ground for the event.
“We’re spraying on spring,” Bannock said, adding that the activity can easily be done at home by people who were unable to attend Friday’s event.
Parks and Recreation Laborer Charlotte Thurman, who was dressed as a rabbit, stood under a jewel-strung tree while handing out stickers and taking pictures with kids. A fence around her and the tree allowed for social distancing.
“We’re just trying to give a little bit of distance,” Thurman said. “If people don’t want their children right in front of my face, then there’s a little bit of a barrier there.”
The event is technically the city’s third-annual Easter celebration, but last year’s was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Attendance at the first event, Parks and Recreation Director Bob Frates said, “far exceeded” their expectations.
“[We were] just simply looking for an activity for the community in the spring,” Frates said. “There’s a pretty good focus on winter activities with skiing and skating, and of course a summer focus with baseball and soccer and everything else that comes with summer activities, but [we were] just kind of looking for something in the shoulder season.”
Frates said the event was truly a community effort. In addition to collaborating with the Kenai Community Library, the event featured a hot chocolate table hosted by the Kenai Rotary Club, activities hosted by the Salvation Army and berms decorated by the Kenai Central High School cross-country ski team.