Easter Egg hunt causes mixed emotions

Mar. 30—ASHLAND — The annual Easter egg hunt in Ashland is receiving backlash after what some are calling a "disorganized" event turned chaotic.

Hundreds of families and more than 1,000 people filled Central Park for an egg hunt, but when it was time to begin, most of the eggs were already gone, leaving children empty-handed and crying. Matt Perkins, Ashland's mayor, said he is sorry to all the families who left upset.

"While we are thankful for all the participation we had, some folks didn't stay out of the areas that we had cordoned off for the hunt and they grabbed eggs early. As a result we had some who didn't get any eggs. We are sincerely sorry and we will learn from this," Perkins said.

As the hunt began, laundry baskets, garbage bags, easter baskets, wagons and strollers filled the lawn as youngsters raced for eggs. In a matter of about five minutes, 78,000 eggs were wiped out, just like that.

Some children smiled as others sat in disappointment. Some left with heaping bags of colorful eggs as others left with not one egg.

Kimberly Paige Brown brought her son, Blake, to the park for the event, where she saw families with containers the size of laundry baskets.

"It's so sad that parents cannot teach their children to follow rules and allow them to do whatever they want and encourage them to do it," Brown said in a Facebook post. "... We waited two and half hours to hunt eggs, for the 1- through 4-year-olds to get to their sections, only to find the eggs gone and see bigger kids and parents in the little kids' section with baskets full of eggs before the hunt even started."

Throughout the day, inflatables, sweet treats, games and music occupied the crowd until it was time for the hunt. At approximately 3:20 p.m., Perkins announced to the massive crowd to get to the designated age group for the hunt. From there, the race to pick up eggs began.

"This is the biggest egg hunt in Ashland's history," Perkins said to the crowd.

"We do this every year, but it's just getting bigger. People are understanding that this is a place they want to be. I had somebody tell me they came all the way from Morehead to be in our Easter egg hunt," he said to The Daily Independent.

When parents and organizers arrived at the toddlers and special needs section of the hunt, they were met with broken, empty eggs.

In a time of "greed" from adults, children stepped up, showing kindness and giving away the eggs they had collected.

Parents stood with their jaws dropped, appalled and speechless as they attempted to explain to their toddlers what had happened. One of the organizers apologized repeatedly, expressing to parents how it shouldn't have happened.

(606) 326-2657 — ajohnson@dailyindependent.com