MONTEZUMA, Ind. —
With the sun shining at noon Saturday, Craig Arnold, lead pastor of Montezuma Christian Church, stepped to a loud speaker and began the countdown — “3, 2, 1, go!”
And that’s all it took to get the kids hopping at the “Eggstravaganza” at Aztec Park in Montezuma.
Children ran to collect as many of the 4,000 candy filled plastic eggs as they could. The eggs were spread out over three different ball diamonds.
“Get ’em Max, get ’em!,” yelled Jessica Marshall of Terre Haute to her 4-year old son, Maximo. “You’re dropping them. Pick them up. Go Max!”
Marshall said she was raised in Montezuma and often came to the egg hunt as a child. However, the event had laid dormant for at least the past six years until Arnold and his wife, Sarah, as part of a church team thought the event should be revived.
“We wanted to do something big for our community. We starting talking to other churches and here it is,” Sarah said.
This year, eight churches are involved, including Montezuma Presbyterian, Montezuma Independent Baptist and Montezuma Christian Church, each located within the town limits. The other churches are within a 10-mile radius of Montezuma, Craig said.
“It is a way to show that churches can co-exist in the community, without cherry picking each other’s members. That we are all here for the same work, which is kingdom growth,” Craig said.
Last year, the event had 250 children, with about 500 people total attending. Each egg is filled with candy based on age, with soft candy for younger children and hard candy and chewing gun for older children. Some eggs had certificates for French fries at McDonald’s in Clinton.
The event provided free popcorn plus 1,000 hot dogs and drinks. Three blow-up slides plus two bands — Dew and Chris Finchum — provided entertainment, along with face painting, egg dying and Easter photos. Also four bikes and two scooters were given away as part of a drawing.
“This gives the kids something outside of the house, or outside of circumstances. I am proud of everybody involved,” Craig said. “It is exceeding my expectations already. It is incredible to see the unity as Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist and Christian churches come together.”
Kaya Kelley, 2, chewed on a candy bracelet as she and her sister, Kierra Kelley, 8, waited with their dad, Mitch Kelley, of Clinton and his girlfriend, Sarah Smith, to see the “Easter bunny.”
“It’s for the fun of it. Get the kids out and do something fun,” Mitch Kelley said.
Mark and Kendra Myers of Montezuma brought their children, Harley, 10, Mia, 7, and Blade 10 to collect eggs during the Eggstravaganza. Blade said he came “for the bike,” as he waited to collect eggs.
“I like this. I think it is a good idea,” Mark Myers said. “It’s good for the family.”
Ronda Berry of Montezuma held her 4-year old daughter, Dannica, just prior to the egg hunt, while 8-year-old Jessica stood close by. “I just love coming out and seeing everyone in town and everything. It is just a good community event,” Berry said. “It has just been beautiful this year. The weather broke just in time for this.”
Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.