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East County Friday, Mar. 25, 2022 4 months ago

Lakewood Ranch's annual EGGstravaganza egg hunt returns

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Resident Crystal Rothhaar looks forward to EGGstravaganza after hosting her own egg hunt last year.
by: Liz Ramos Staff Writer

Greenbrook’s Crystal Rothhaar had a taste of what it takes to host an egg hunt last year when she decided to rent a park and have an egg hunt after the annual EGGstravaganza was canceled. 

Her family has been participating in Lakewood Ranch Community Activities’ EGGstravaganza since her 10-year-old son, Ryan, was 3 months old.  

“It’s such a great opportunity for kids to see all their friends,” Rothhaar said. “It’s the biggest part of Easter. Events like (EGGstravaganza) are what makes Lakewood Ranch feel like a community.”

Her children, Ryan and Allison, were crushed when they found out EGGstravaganza was canceled for the second year in 2021 due to the pandemic.

“It’s hard for us as adults to understand how the pandemic affected children, and the losses they experienced were so much bigger in their minds,” Crystal Rothhaar said. “To a child, losing a year of the Easter bunny and an Easter egg hunt in their community is heartbreaking. It’s a big part of their childhood. Kids only get a few years to celebrate these holidays where they believe in the Easter bunny and they’re at the right age to have an Easter egg hunt.”  

So Rothhaar hosted her own egg hunt and invited Ryan's and Allison’s friends to join the fun. 

To determine the number of eggs she would need for the hunt, Rothhaar simply filled a basket and counted how many it would take. She realized it would take about 700 eggs for a successful hunt. Overwhelmed, Rothhaar decided to only fill about a third of them for her egg hunt.

EGGstravaganza has become a tradition for Greenbrook's Allison Rothhaar and her brother, Ryan Rothhaar. File photo.

“I never realized how hard it is to put eggs back together,” Rothhaar said. “First of all, I bought inexpensive eggs because I was purchasing so many of them, and they did not fit together well. There were a lot of eggs we couldn’t use. Fortunately, my kids were excited about helping fill them. It gave them something extra to do for an Easter event.”

Unable to fill all the eggs with goodies at her own event, she saved 12 eggs to be used as “golden eggs.” The golden eggs had numbers inside to determine the order in which the children were able to choose a toy from the prize table.

“I made the golden eggs harder to find,” Rothhaar said.

Rothhaar said her children’s strategy to successful egg hunts is to run farther into the field to find eggs rather than scooping up the ones close to the starting point of the hunt.

Besides the egg hunt at her own event, the children also played games, dyed eggs and decorated cookies.

This year, Lakewood Ranch Community Activities plans to have about 10,000 eggs at the EGGstravaganza April 9. The organization recruits volunteers to help fill all the eggs two days before the event. 

Aliye Presley, the communications coordinator and executive assistant for Lakewood Ranch Community Activities, said many of the eggs are recycled from past EGGstravaganzas, but there aren’t as many eggs as past egg hunts due to supply chain issues. 

EGGstravaganza will be held at a new venue, Waterside Park, this year and will include an egg hunt, the Easter bunny, entertainment, kids activities and refreshments. 

“It’s such a beautiful park,” Presley said. “It’s the perfect size to keep everyone contained in one area. We thought it would be good for the egg hunt with the backdrop of Waterside, and it’s just something to refresh an event that everybody’s already familiar with.”

Only 500 children will be able to participate in EGGstravaganza. People can register online at MyLWR.com. 

Rothhaar couldn’t wait to find out if Lakewood Ranch Community Activities was hosting EGGstravaganza again this year. She’s already purchased the tickets for her family.

“I was excited to see the Lakewood Ranch Community Activities egg hunt come back because as much work as I put into it, there is no way for me to duplicate how amazing the Easter egg hunt is at EGGstravaganza,” Rothhaar said.

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