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No yolk, annual egg hunt is lots of fun

Cloquet's Max Jazdzewski, 8, climbs up in a tree to try to get a better vantage point during Saturday's Easter Egg hunt at Pine Valley in Cloquet. Jana Peterson/jpeterson@pinejournal.com1 / 3
Kelly Zink is wearing her Easter Bunny helper hat Saturday as the Cloquet Chamber director recycles plastic eggs so the children can continue their hunt. Zink said she loves the annual Easter Egg hunt because it involves families and kids. Jana Peterson/ FIND MORE PHOTOS ONLINE AT WWW.PINEJOURNAL.COM AND EVEN MORE ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE.2 / 3
Cayden Purcell, almost 9, points out a spot on the egg-covered ground of Pine Valley to his brother, Colton Purcell, age 7. The pair were among hundreds of kids who turned out for the egg hunt. Jana Peterson/jpeterson@pinejournal.com3 / 3

Hunting for Easter Eggs is all about strategy ... or at least it was for Cayden and Colton Purcell, ages 8 and 9, as they peered through the gate at Pine Valley Saturday waiting for the start of the annual Easter Egg hunt.

Their appetites whetted by success two years ago, the brothers were trying to spy one of 14 golden eggs hidden in their section of the Cloquet park, which was blanketed in brightly colored plastic eggs left by the Easter Bunny and volunteer helpers.

"I think it's great that the community puts on this free event for the children," said mom Amber Purcell, who also brought the boys' little sister Adley, 4, and cousin Isabelle, 2, for the annual event. "They really look forward to coming out here and looking for the golden egg."

Nearby, 6-year-old Jackson Beck was also making plans to find a shiny golden egg, his ticket to one of the prizes donated by six different businesses in the community.

When the whistle blew, a mad scramble ensued, with children racing through an opening in the fence to collect the plastic Easter eggs and search for a golden one. They vacuumed up the eggs in no time, filling up plastic bags, brightly colored plastic buckets and even one sock monkey fabric bucket.

It was the sixth annual Easter Egg hunt, coordinated by the city of Cloquet, the Cloquet Area Chamber of Commerce and Cloquet Community Education. The weather was cloudy, but on the warm side and there was no snow or massive puddles, so organizers were thrilled.

Community Ed Director Ruth Reeves said they hid 12 laundry baskets full of eggs. After the children (ages 1 through fifth grade) find them, they turn in their plastic eggs for a bag of candy and another bag of "bunny food" (cereal, etc.) for the Easter Bunny. A volunteer estimated they gave out close to 450 bags of candy.

They continue to recycle and hide/throw out more eggs as long as the kids want to keep hunting them, Chamber Director Kelly Zink said.

"It's fun for us because it's the entire community and kids," said Zink. "We love seeing this."

For those who got a late start, even finding the colored eggs was a challenge. Max Jazdzewski, 8, climbed up into a tree to survey the scene. Pretty quickly, his friend Davis Snesrud, 8, noticed Max didn't have any eggs in his basket and set about dividing his own eggs equally with his classmate without being asked.

Although most of the golden eggs were found in the first few minutes, two were still missing 20 minutes later in the part of the park where the oldest children hunted.

"Someone was pretty serious about hiding those eggs," said Zink with a chuckle.