Heavy rain brings this year’s Twin Cities Easter egg hunt indoors

Emeliana McClearn of Johnstown is delighted to meet the Easter bunny on Saturday at St. John's Episcopal Church in Johnstown during the annual Easter egg hunt sponsored by the Twin Cities Council of Churches. It was held indoors because of rain. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

JOHNSTOWN — It was an inside job at this year’s Easter egg hunt Saturday.

Heavy rain shunted the event that is normally in the grass and bushes of the downtown Sir William Johnson Park to downstairs in St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Still, Emeliana McClearn of Johnstown couldn’t be happier schmoozing with the Easter bunny, touching his fur with her face full of smiles.

“My daughter loves anyone who is dressed up as a character,” said her mother, Megan McClearn.

As children and parents lined up to visit with the bunny, parents took photos of kids with the white fuzzy one. Instead of a hunt, the bunny handed out eggs to the children, and many goodies filled the back table if chocolate-filled eggs weren’t enough.

Children line up to meet the Easter bunny on Saturday at St. John's Episcopal Church in Johnstown during the annual Easter egg hunt sponsored by the Twin Cities Council of Churches. It was held indoors because of rain. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

Donald VanEgten of Johnstown caught a photo of his daughter Elizabeth Thomlinson of Broadalbin with the bunny. Sarah Wilson of Johnstown drove them to the event. “It gives him an opportunity to do things with his daughter,” she said.

“This is our first year here,” said Nancy Ackerbauer of Johnstown, who took a photo of daughters Alice and Henry Tomchik with the bunny.

Despite the heavy rain, she said she wanted to bring the children to experience the Easter program now because “kids grow so fast.”

Heather Mello of Gloversville liked that her mom, Maggie, brought her “because you get candy.”

“I think it’s good when kidsn who aren’t together a lot [in school] get together with other kids,” said Maggie, a teacher in the Amsterdam schools, which her daughter attends.

She also said the event allows “people who are hesitant to come to church on Sunday to see that it’s [church is] a welcoming environment.”

The annual program is sponsored by the Twin Cities Council of Churches, so participants are given a flier with a schedule of Easter services. The Rev. David Almleaf, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, gave the invocation, which included the central role of Jesus in Easter.

The event has been held for more than 20 years and usually draws more than 500 people, said Council of Churches president Pamela Miller.

“Anything the churches can do to be part of the community is good,” said the Rev. Laurie Garramone, rector of St. John’s.

“We love community events to see all the kids come out and celebrate Easter together,” said Michelle Rhodes of Ephratah, whose son Aiden seemed to really enjoy the Oreos on the back table.

The Easter bunny had fun too for the second year in a row.

“It makes the kids happy,” the bunny said. “It’s fun when they high-five me and drag me around sometimes.”

“Last year when they went finding eggs, some kids would put them in their baskets and would give them back to me.”

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