The siren of a Smithsburg Police Department cruiser kicked off the sugar-filled hunt, sending children scurrying onto the park’s soccer and baseball fields and into a more challenging wooded area for the 9- to 12-year-old group of egg hunters.
Chessie Hartley, 3, of Smithsburg, won a stuffed bunny.
The event was a warm-up for a family egg hunt planned later Saturday afternoon, said Rustie Hartley, Chessie’s mother.
Saturday’s egg hunt, hosted by the Lions Club, stirred childhood memories of “big chocolate bunnies” for Renee Wright, Chessie’s grandmother.
“They were awesome,” Wright recalled.
Smithsburg resident Gloria Jackson’s 6-year-old son, Chase, also found a prize-winning egg. He had collected about eight eggs in a cloth Spider-Man basket.
Jackson said her two older sons also participated in the egg hunt in years past.
“They always seem to win something,” she said.
Lured by Saturday’s pleasant weather, Carmen Harbaugh of Smithsburg said she brought her 9-year-old son, Nicholas, to the hunt for the first time.
Harbaugh said she always had heard good things about the egg hunt, which was over in about two minutes.
The Lions Club egg hunt traces back 35 or 40 years, Lions Club secretary Barbara Weaver said.
When the egg hunt first was held, live bunnies were given out as prizes, Weaver said.
The annual hunt usually attracts 60 to 70 children each year, Weaver said.
The children who participated Saturday had a chance win a total of $48 by finding eggs that had a “Lions dollar” ticket inside as well as other prizes that included DVDs and stuffed bunnies, Weaver said. Bags of candy were given to children who were unable to retrieve many eggs.
Twelve of the $1 prize-winning eggs were hidden for each of the hunt’s four age groups.
Few eggs are left unfound, Weaver said.
“I think last year, we found maybe two (eggs),” Weaver said.
Weaver credited the support of the Smithsburg Community Activities Commission, Smithsburg Market and the town’s fire department.
“This is a real community effort,” Weaver said.