While it's not exactly in their job description, many Property Owners Association Recreation Department employees are busy on a special project. They are helping the Easter Bunny prepare thousands of eggs stuffed with candy or prizes for the annual POA Easter Egg Hunt.
Jessica Anson, the senior manager of recreation and aquatics, works closely with the Easter Bunny on the event. Each year it's the Easter Bunny who starts the festivities.
"It's the Easter Bunny's favorite thing to do every year," she reported. Preparing for the egg hunt is a lot of work, but it's all worthwhile when the Easter Bunny gets to meet the kids.
The Easter Egg Hunt will take place in Kingsdale Park this year. It begins with a bunny meet and greet at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 8. Parents are welcome to bring their own cameras for Easter Bunny photos.
The egg hunts are divided by age starting with 0-3 years old; 4-6; 7-9; and 10-12. Each age group will have its own designated field in which to hunt and the first group starts hunting at 10:30 a.m. Each age group starts about 15 minutes apart so parents with multiple children can watch each of them hunt for eggs. There's one golden egg, representing a larger prize, for each age group.
POA employees start early to rope off the fields and hide the eggs. Then they stay in the area to make sure no one starts early.
"The only thing we let slide is for the 0-3-year olds, we let parents help," Anson said. But there's never been a real problem, she said. The parents and the kids are all just having fun.
The Easter Bunny knows his appearance can be intimidating for some children, so he's careful not to scare them.
"There's not a lot of talking," Anson said, "It's more hugging and high fives. The Easter Bunny is on all the time."
She knows that it can be hot and exhausting for the bunny, but he loves what he does. There is a an assistant to help since it can be hard for him to see.
Anson said no one ever counts the number of kids or the numbers of candy and prizes, but each year they add a little bit more.
According to The Weekly Vista archives, the Easter Egg Hunt hasn't changed much over the years. In 2014, the hunt was advertised as the 10th annual event with categories and prizes similar to 2023. In 2020 and in 2021, the hunt became a drive-thru event because of social distancing requirements, but an in-person hunt returned in 2022.
Anson said there hasn't yet been a decision on rain. Since Riordan Hall is closed for construction, the event can't move into that facility. As soon as a plan has been made, it will be posted on the POA Facebook page, but she's hoping for a nice spring day and a happy Easter Bunny.