Easter activities are beginning to show up on area calendars as the snow in the higher elevations melts and the spring clothes come out of the attic. Easter is a special time of year for Christians who honor the resurrection of Jesus as a signal of new life.
Americans of all religious leanings enjoy the holiday as a sign of new growth, budding opportunities and renewal. Children like Easter for the mythical bunny who brings them baskets of chocolate and painted Easter eggs. In the Easter tradition, adults hide colored eggs for children to hunt down.
Easter Bunny Lore
The Easter Bunny story seems to have started around 1500 in Germany as part of fertility lore — rabbits are, after all, one of the most fertile animals in the world. As fertility is aligned with new life, the hare made a perfect symbol of spring and the promise of new life. The Easter Bunny story was introduced in America by the Germans who settled in Pennsylvania in the 1700s. Many eventually moved on to the Southern Appalachian chain.
The first edible bunny appeared in Germany around 1800, and the Easter egg hunt followed shortly thereafter. Now a tradition in many communities, Easter egg hunts abound. So pack up your family and head to one of the many egg hunts nearby. This is just a sampling of what to expect:
Georgia: Mr. Bunny Easter Egg Adventures
In Athens, the Easter Egg Hunt and crafty program takes place on March 28, the Saturday before Easter Sunday. The free event at the Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Department is free and open to the public. Mr. Bunny will be there, so bring your cameras. Activities, including the hunt — complete with prizes for different age groups — Easter crafts, and time with Mr. Bunny, start at 10:00 AM.
South Carolina: Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt
Take your kids out for a unique experience in Travelers Rest on Friday, March 27. This free event, in partnership with the Three Rivers Baptist Association and Greenville County Recreation, runs from 6:30 to 9:00 PM. Eggs are covered with glow-in-the-dark paint, which the kids find using flashlights. Children aged 2 to 12 can participate. Other activities include clown bounces, face painting, carnival games and concessions.
Tennessee: U of T Easter Eggstravaganza
The March 28 Easter egg hunt at the University of Tennessee Gardens in Knoxville is so big that they prefer you register in advance. You can choose from four egg-hunting times: 10:30, 11:30, 12:30 and 1:30. Prize eggs are hidden for each time period. A professional photographer will be on hand to take photos of your family with the Easter Bunny. The cost for Eggstravaganza is $6 per child aged 12 and under.
North Carolina: Easter at Lake Junaluska
The family-friendly events run all day Saturday, April 4, at the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. After the Friends of the Lake 5K kicks off at 8:30 AM, the 5K family walk begins. At 9:30, children can participate in a fun run, followed by indoor activities: an egg decorating contest, face painting, games, yo-yo balloons and prizes. Three different Easter egg hunts are available for kids aged 1–12. Come back for a sunrise service at 7:00 AM on Sunday.
West Virginia: Cass Easter Egg Hunt
Come to the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park for a hoppin' good time on March 28. The annual Easter Egg Hunt starts at 1:00 PM, offering hunting grounds by age group ranging from 0 to 14. Two special prize eggs are awarded per age group. Hunters must bring their own baskets to the picnic area by the parking lot. While you’re there, visit the Cass Historical Museum, ride the Cass Scenic Railroad and dine at the Last Run Restaurant.
Virginia: Carter Mountain Orchard Annual Easter Egg Hunt
Only 200 tickets per hunt will be sold this year for Saturday, April 4, 2015, up on Carters Mountain Trail in Charlottesville. For $5, kids age 3 to 8 can join one of the age-appropriate hunts to find some of the 8,000 hidden eggs. Tickets go on sale on Friday, April 3. Tickets include a hayride and visits with the Easter Bunny and a Best Dressed Bunny Ears Contest.
Kentucky: Hippity Hoppity Hunt
Go camping over the Easter weekend at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. On Saturday, April 4, little campers and their parents can join in the Hippity Hoppity Hunt from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. In addition to the egg hunt, everyone can enjoy the Easter Bunny, a petting zoo, crafts, and a lunch sponsored by Northside RVs. The Hippity Hoppity Hunt is open only to campers.
Photo Credit: Fox Photos