Lumina News file photo
Elizabeth and Ben Harrington from Stanford, N.C., open their eggs during the Easter Egg Hunt at Wrightsville Beach Park on April 7, 2012.
The annual Wrightsville Beach Easter egg hunt and puppet theater is scheduled for April 19 at Wrightsville Beach Park.
Children ages 12 and younger are invited to participate in the festivities starting at 9 a.m.
The Easter puppet theater will be first on the schedule, lasting about 15 minutes, said Karen Scheboth, director of Christian education at Little Chapel on the Boardwalk Presbyterian Church.
Three Wrightsville Beach churches, Little Chapel on the Boardwalk, St. Therese Catholic Church and Wrightsville Beach United Methodist Church, are the sponsors. Each church is supplying 1,500 colorful plastic eggs filled with candy, Scheboth said.
“This event is a good way to let the community know that we are here for all the churches,” Scheboth said. “It’s a way for us to reach out to others.”
Around 500 children participated in 2013, even though it was moved inside the Little Chapel on the Boardwalk due to rain, Scheboth said.
She said the sponsors are expecting a similar number of children, if not more, this year.
The children will be separated into different age groups: under 3 years old, 4-7 and 8-12. Each group will have hunts in different parts of the park. Special prizes will be awarded in each age division to those who find golden eggs.
Children are responsible for bringing their own Easter baskets, and parents need to bring their own cameras if they want pictures from the event. Scheboth also noted that parents are asked to stay with their young children throughout the event.
The churches are relying completely on volunteers for everything from filling eggs with candy to monitoring the hunts. Youth from the sponsoring churches are expected to play a big role in helping, Scheboth said. The Cracker Barrel restaurant in Wilmington donated the cardboard flats where all of the plastic eggs are being stored.
Katie Ryan, Wrightsville Beach parks and recreation program supervisor, has been working with the churches’ program directors to coordinate the event with the town. She said the town is mostly involved with logistics, providing the facility, handling the parking and helping with permits and insurance.
Ryan said she was impressed with how much the event had grown in just a few years.
“The event had less than 100 kids when it first began,” Ryan said. “The city was not expecting the much larger turnout of 500 kids that happened two years ago.”
In the case of rain, the event will be held at the same scheduled date and time inside of the Little Chapel on the Boardwalk.