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15th annual Nevis Easter Egg Hunt March 31

Spring is coming! The 15th annual Nevis Easter egg hunt is Saturday, March 31. This photo of Lauren Hirt of Park Rapids was from last year's hunt in April. Enterprise file photo.

An annual Easter tradition in Nevis, this year's 15th annual Easter Egg Hunt in Muskie Park will be held Saturday, March 31 beginning at 1 p.m. sharp. The egg hunt will be held rain, snow or shine.

Sara Halik remembers the first egg hunt well. It was started the year she and her husband, Brian, moved to Nevis from Florida and opened Northwind Grocery.

"Our kids had always taken part in an egg hunt the Saturday before Easter," she said. "That's where I got the idea. Matt was in third grade, Aaron in second and Kaylee in preschool. It was the weekend before Easter and Brian and I went out and bought and filled 1,000 eggs and laid them out so our children and others in the community could have a fun activity to kickoff the Easter holiday. We had about 200 people show up and it's been growing ever since."

This year, there will be more than 10,000 eggs filled with candy or prizes, plus drawings for 40 new bikes sponsored by area businesses and individuals. The Halik children are grown now, but still come home to help with the egg hunt.

Halik said if the weather is "super nice" they may get 2,000 to 3,000 people coming to the hunt. "That's grandparents and other family members plus the kids," she said. "That's crazy for a little town. We have people who come from all over to spend Easter with their family who have made the egg hunt a tradition and also have a lot of people who come from surrounding towns."

The Nevis Civic and Commerce Association and the fire department have joined the Haliks in sponsoring the egg hunt.

Participants should plan to come early to get a good parking spot. Area church parking lots are open for parking as well.

The Easter bunny will be at the Muskie Park picnic shelter from noon to 1 p.m. for visits and photo opportunities with children. Registration for the bike give-away also starts at noon.

When the fire sirens sound at 1 p.m. sharp, children will race with bags and baskets to collect the colorful plastic eggs filled with candy or prizes.

"I hope we have a nice day for it, but it is what it is," Halik said. "One year, we had a snowmobile go through the middle of the trail where we had started putting eggs, even going under the caution tape," she said. "We put roadblocks up after that."

Halik said the hunt started early one year when an ambulance went by about 10 minutes before the hunt. Children thought it was the signal for the hunt to begin.

"The kids all took off and picked up all the eggs and we asked them to put them back because children were still arriving," she said. "They put all the eggs they had collected back and we started the hunt at the right time so everyone could be a part of it."

Fire department members and volunteers from the community hide the eggs the morning of the hunt. Anyone interested in volunteering or donating prizes may contact Halik at 252-8210.

Five new boy's and girl's bikes will be given away in each age category (age 0-3, 4-6, 7-9 and age 10 and above). Children must be present to win the bike drawings. The Easter bunny himself will draw the winning numbers.

While they no longer own Northwind Grocery, Halik said about the egg hunt, "We'll keep it going as long as we're in the community."