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Socially Distant Safe Easter Egg Hunt
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The Easter Bunny must practice social distancing this year.
Steve Wegman

Spring means the arrival of flowers, birds, green grass and the Easter bunny. Celebrations look quite different this year, due to social distancing amidst COVID-19. Holy services include communing with others from the comfort of our sofas via live-streaming services or perhaps a drive-up church gathering.

Families might trot around their own yard this year, but there will be no big Easter egg hunts taking place. It would be difficult to make children focus on social distancing protocol while finding colorful prizes, not to mention the many hands touching those brightly colored caches of candy.

The egg hunt in Pierre began in 1953. Courtesy of Steve Wegman.

Pierre is one community that has worked to provide an alternative to its annual Easter egg hunt. Steve Wegman, who has chaired Pierre’s Easter egg for 35 years, says this is only the third time the city has had to make accommodations to the festivities. “I only moved the hunt two times,” says Wegman. “One for blizzard and one when the constructing the new [Governor’s mansion]. In the 66 times we have done the hunt, this is the first time we had to morph a change. I was brainstorming as I watched the virus spread around the world.”

Wegman and many city and state officials have been watching models to predict needs for events.

In March it became clear, unfortunately, life would call for Plan B, C and sometimes even D.

Wegman and Pierre’s Elk Lodge #1953 had to come up with a new idea for the egg hunt that typically occurs on the Governor’s residence property.

We have about 1,500 youth participate and about 5000 people show up to watch this rite of passage to spring in Pierre. -Steve Wegman

A coloring contest was devised. All children in Pierre and Ft. Pierre were invited to print, decorate, and hang their eggs in their windows for people to “find” while out walking or driving. To enter the contest, photos of the eggs must be posted to Pierre’s Elk Lodge #1953 Facebook page by April, 11, 2020.https://www.facebook.com/PierreSDElks

Wegman encourages Pierre residents to enter, no matter their level of artistic talent. “The community loves the idea, but I have only seen a few eggs colored and posted. So, sad,” says Wegman. “I made the rules simple and easy. I am not looking for van Gogh nor Georgia O’Keeffe. Just some simple art work.”

Easter egg coloring page templates are available online for children and young at heart. Pierre’s Elk Lodge #1953 shares this page for kids in South Dakota’s capitol city interested in participating in the contest: https://www.firstpalette.com/printable/easter-eggs.html