MISSOULA – Area egg hunters will hop to a new location this year, as Missoula’s 17th annual Easter Eggstravaganza will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 15, at Loyola Sacred Heart’s Rollin Field.
Formerly held at the University of Montana, the community event will continue with major support from Garden of Read’n and Loyola Sacred Heart High School. The egg hunt is free and open to the public.
“This is really all about the kids,” Garden of Read’n owner Michael Burks said. “We wanted to contribute to ensure the community would not miss out on this treasured event.”
Loyola’s Rollin Field will be transformed into a sea of colorful eggs and mouthwatering treats. Loyola Sacred Heart High School students and St. Joseph Elementary and Middle School students will help stuff Easter eggs as part of their commitment to community service.
“When the Garden of Read’n, once again, presented the opportunity to be involved in this event, we were very excited,” said Jeremy Beck, president of Missoula Catholic Schools. “Not only will the event take place on Rollin Field, but our students will be involved behind the scenes preparing for the event and volunteering at the event when the egg hunters arrive.”
Garden of Read’n will donate 30,000 eggs filled with candy and prizes. Organizers also aim to engage additional local businesses and organizations to donate thousands of coupons for free items or admission. Children ages 9 and under are invited to bring their baskets and search for the thousands of eggs during the hunt.
There still will be separate age-group sections for 0-2, 3, 4-5, 6-7 and 8-9. The Easter Bunny and other well-known mascots will be on hand for the fun.
The egg hunt had been organized by University Relations at UM. Campus officials made the decision to discontinue hosting the annual Easter Eggstravaganza on campus to help refocus efforts on college-student marketing, recruitment and retention.
“We did not make this decision lightly,” said Cary Shimek, communication manager with University Relations. “We were thrilled that Garden of Read’n spearheaded efforts to provide this fun, family-oriented event for the community. My own children grew up with these egg hunts, and at one point USA Today rated our hunt the third best in the nation, so we are happy the event will continue to exist off campus.”
Shimek said UM launched the first Easter Eggstravaganza in 2000, and each event has featured thousands of eggs, prizes and candies cleaned up by hundreds of happy kids within 5 minutes.
“We want to thank all the community members and businesses who have supported the Eggstravaganza over the years,” Shimek said. “And we especially want to thank Michael and Kiomi Burks of the Garden of Read’n, who stepped up two years ago to make sure this event goes on.”