COEUR d’ALENE — A merry mob of candy-seeking children feverishly combed the damp grass, collecting as many colorful treasures as their baskets could carry.
"I got eggs!” said Ezrah Kemp, 2, of Coeur d'Alene.
She looked up and smiled, wearing a pink rain slicker and holding a white basket.
"Happy Easter!" she sweetly said.
Ezrah got to high-five the Easter Bunny after the annual Coeur d'Alene Real Life Ministries Easter Egg Hunt in McEuen Park on Saturday morning, where about 800 children and parents gathered in the rain for festivities including the egg hunt, games, prize giveaways, bounce houses, face painting and more.
"It was amazing. So much fun," said Ezrah's mom, Whitney Kemp. "And she actually won the first prize egg, so she got to take home a big prize today."
This was Real Life Coeur d’Alene's fourth year hosting the hunt in McEuen following a few years in G.O. Phippeny Park. Children’s pastor Brett Beaugrand said this is one way their church gives back.
"A lot of people come out," he said. "We want to be able to show the community that we care about them, and mostly, we care about Jesus, and that’s why we’re serving the community."
He said these family-oriented activities are a part of the Easter tradition.
"I grew up going to Easter egg hunts,” he said. "People know what the holiday’s about — Jesus being resurrected on the cross — and that’s the message we try to portray too. Not force it down people’s throats, but being here just letting people know, ‘Hey, this is what we’re about.’ We have services at our Coeur d’Alene campus this weekend. It’s a cool bridge, especially for people who might be too intimidated to step into a church setting."
On the north side of town, 10,000 eggs were scattered across the lawns of the Coeur d'Alene Church of the Nazarene. Despite the drizzly morning, the "eggstravaganza" was an egg-cellent one.
"We actually live right down the street and this is the only one we come to," said Asarias Rodriguez, who attended the event with her husband and two young children. "The people are really nice, and it’s really well organized as far as age groups. It’s super calm."
Between 150 to 200 youngsters participated in this egg hunt, which featured separate spots for different ages and a designated special needs area.
“This is just to get the community together and let them know that we’re here and that we care about them," said a bunny-ears-wearing children's pastor, Tami Nederhoed.
She said the teens who "lay" the eggs for the younger kids enjoy distributing them as much as the little ones do finding them.
"They have as much fun as they do collecting them," she said. "Just watching them collect the eggs, especially the little ones, they're so cute."
Easter hoppenings in the community continue today.
At 10:30 a.m., Trinity Lutheran Church, 812 N. Fifth St., Coeur d’Alene, is inviting all children through fifth grade to join in an egg hunt.
Shenanigans, 312 E. Sherman Ave., Coeur d’Alene, will host its seventh annual Easter Eggstravaganza, with 5,000 eggs, at 1 p.m. Egg hunts: ages birth to 4 years at 1 p.m.; ages 5 to 8 at 2 p.m.; and ages 9 to 12 at 3 p.m.
Also at 1 p.m., the 15th annual North Idaho Osprey Men’s Rugby Easter Egg Hunt featuring more than 8,000 eggs will be held at Fort Sherman Playground in Coeur d’Alene City Park, 415 Fort Ground Drive. Golden eggs bring in additional prizes. This one will also be split up by age group, and Hoppy the Bunny will be on site for Easter photos.