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The hunt is on: Egg hunt, Easter Bunny visit at Veterans Park Community

April 19, 2017
By GABRIELA HARDAN ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The tradition of the annual Colored Coconut Hunt took place on Saturday at Veterans Community Park, bringing together families in the Lehigh Acres community the day before Easter.

It was a beautiful day as children of all ages rummaged through bushes in search of the colored coconuts to collect in their basket. Prizes were given to those who found a colored coconut. Some eggs contained candy, while others had the word "prize" to let the child know he or she won something.

"It gives the kids something to do other than sitting in the house," Sandra Mahn, the grandmother of one of the egg hunt participants, said. "She can't do this anywhere else but here."

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Jasmyne Mahn goes through all the eggs in her basket to see what is in them.

There were 125 spots available for children to register for and all of them were filled.

A total of 3,000 eggs were hidden, with 16 Easter baskets awarded to those who found coconuts.

"We figured, 'If rabbits can lay eggs, then why not coconuts?'" Nancy Zukatis, event coordinator, said of adding colored coconut into the mix.

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"It gets everybody out together and gives people a chance to see the people they see every year here," she added. "It's just a fun event for everybody."

Among the prizes were candy such as jellybeans, as well as toys related to Easter. The ultimate prize was given out to the child who found of the golden coconut.

The hunt was broken down into four age groups, with coconuts and eggs hidden in each patch.

Volunteers from all over Lehigh came out to help with the event, making it possible. Along with the egg hunt, there was face painting, sidewalk chalk drawing and a surprise visit from the Easter Bunny.

The children were able to take pictures with the Easter Bunny.

"I love to see her having fun and being outside," Mahn said. "We're moving soon, so it's good to have her here doing something like this."

Parents brought cameras and watched the children search for eggs to collect in their baskets.

According to officials, the annual event has been going on for 16 years, always giving families something to look forward to right before Easter.

After the hunt, the youth enjoyed their baskets and played at the park. With their faces painted all kinds of designs, they ran through the park grounds, playing with one another and enjoying the outdoors.

"It gets us out and together as a family," Betsy Clayton, communications director for Lee County, said. "Children have fun, and it is an event that some families have been doing as a tradition for several years."

Organizers are considering increasing the number of spots for the egg hunt next year to 150.

"The event went very well," Zukatis said. "The volunteers and staff pulled together to set up and keep it all running smoothly. "

"Everyone seemed to have enjoyed it," she said.

Veterans Community Park is at 55 Homestead Road S.



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