The Easter Bunny is traveling to the Monadnock area to meet children and distribute eggs this year. In most cities, tours will be different from previous years, with most traditional egg hunts being replaced by events such as drive-through encounters.
The Rindge Recreation Department is going ahead with a traditional egg hunt, after the event was canceled last year following the COVID-19 lockdown.
Rindge recreation director Dan Bemis said the event, scheduled for March 27, will have the same basic form as in previous years, with an egg hunt and pictures with the Easter Bunny, but several concessions have been made to try to scale down the event and keep it outdoors as much as possible, due to COVID-19. This year, the event is for Rindge residents only, and indoor events like coloring and meeting the Easter Bunny have been canceled or moved outdoors.
“I think it’s important to hold community events in a safe and responsible way, whenever we can,” Bemis said. “I think everyone knows the challenges that COVID has posed so far, and it’s been difficult. So anytime you can have an event that provides that social learning and an environment where kids can do something with their friends, in person and not virtually, and that brings that sense of normalcy.
Heather Schoff, who coordinated Greenville’s Easter events, said last year that the city had to cancel its event, like most cities, but is restarting it this year with a new idea. She said she wanted to avoid an egg hunt, which results in a large group of children in close proximity, and instead implement something that allows children to space out – a scavenger hunt.
“Things have calmed down and we are doing very well with our numbers. The kids are in school full time and people are getting their shots, so it’s time to take a small step. We need these kids to celebrate Easter,” Schoff said.
Schoff held a scavenger hunt with stations downtown for children to collect puzzle pieces and present them to the Easter Bunny (a fully vaccinated Schoff) for a prize. Schoff said it’s a new idea for Greenville, but she sees the silver lining. Many Greenville children, she said, already attend the annual New Ipswich Egg Hunt, which is held at the towns Common Primary School. The scavenger hunt, she said, is something different and could become a city staple, if successful this year.
“We are slowly emerging from this darkness trying to figure out how to do these things,” Schoff said. “And if we do it the right way and successfully, it could pave the way for how we can keep doing things this summer.”
Nancy Feraco, owner of Nelson’s Candy in Wilton, is also bringing back a tradition that had to be canceled last year: photos with the Easter bunny. The event is taking place outdoors in Main Street Park next to Nelson’s Candy store, not indoors, but will continue this year, Feraco said.
“I think people really want reassurance that life is going to be back to being more normal,” Feraco said. “It’s a small step towards a return to normal. It wasn’t going to happen last year. But people are back. People are out shopping and they’re ready to take their kids to see the Easter Bunny, especially if they didn’t have a bunny last year.
Several towns are replacing the traditional egg hunt with a drive-in event, including Peterborough, New Ipswich and Jaffrey, both of which have scheduled events allowing parents to drive to stations to pick up Easter treats and say hello to the Easter Bunny .
John Kohlmorgen, program coordinator for the Peterborough Recreation Department, said drive-throughs have become a popular solution in the state, as a way to engage children with the least risk possible.
“We wanted to offer something, even though it wasn’t the traditional event,” Kohlmorgen said.
And pre-registrations are already filling up, with about 50 families registered to attend, and the event is still a week away, Kohlmorgen said.
“It’s different, but we’re still going to have a great turnout and a great event,” Kohlmorgen said.
A list of public Easter events follows.
March 26 – April 4: