Helicopter egg drop draws 6,000

Published 6:31 pm Monday, April 9, 2012

Thousands line the sidelines of Alabaster's Larry Simmons Stadium on April 7 as a helicopter drops about 8,000 eggs onto the field. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The more than 6,000 people gathered in the stands and on the sidelines of Alabaster’s Larry Simmons Stadium on April 7 immediately began cheering and waving as soon as the black and white helicopter flew into view.

About 12,000 plastic Easter eggs were already spread out across two sections of the stadium’s field, but about 8,000 more were about to fall from the sky.

Kids continued to cheer and wave as a volunteer sitting in the helicopter’s doorway dumped several waves of multi-colored plastic eggs onto the field below.

The event, which was sponsored by Alabaster’s Cultivate Church, drew nearly a fifth of the city’s population.

“Maybe 2,000 was what we were hoping for,” Cultivate Church Lead Team Pastor Brandon Matthews said. “Everything went great.

Cultivate Church volunteers gave away more than 2,000 hot dogs and more than 2,000 gallons of water during the event, and offered an inflatable game area for kids to use before the helicopter arrived. The Easter bunny also greeted children and took photos.

The event also drove up attendance at the church’s Easter Sunday service on April 8, Matthews said. The service, which was held at Thompson High School, drew about 40 new guests.

“Some people said ‘We never knew you were here until yesterday,’” Matthews said. “We had a lot of people tell us they came to the service because of the egg drop.

“We even had 11 people say yes to Jesus on Sunday,” Matthews said.

Matthews said he and fellow church members already are thinking of a way to celebrate Easter with the city next year.

“We know we want to keep doing something, but we don’t want to do anything just for the sake of tradition,” he said. “We want to make it bigger and better every year.”