Pelham celebrates holiday with 4th annual Very Special Easter Egg Hunt

Published 4:32 pm Monday, March 25, 2024

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

PELHAM – On Tuesday, March 19, special needs students and their families were able to enjoy an evening of Easter festivities specifically catered to them thanks to the fourth annual Very Special Easter Egg Hunt organized by Pelham Parks and Recreation.

The event, which tailors traditional community Easter events to Pelham’s special needs students, sought to provide the students and their families with an evening that focused on fun and togetherness.

“This is our fourth year to do the Very Special Easter Egg Hunt,” said Alicia Walters, assistant director of Pelham Parks & Recreation. “We keep the event small and a little more intimate so that we can really cater to our families.”

As part of the event, students were able to participate in an Easter egg hunt containing more than 700 individual eggs which carried small gifts and prizes.

Forethought was even given to students who attended the event that might have limited mobility due to wheelchairs or who might have certain issues in bending over. To ensure that they were also able to enjoy the egg hunt, a certain number of the eggs were attached to balloons that could be easily retrieved.

Mixed in with the normal eggs and prizes, 23 specific golden eggs were further included and awarded their finders with prepared prize baskets.

“The prize baskets consisted of stuffed animals, squeeze toys, wind-up toys, games and more,” Walters said. “We don’t do candy in the eggs because of dye issues and swallowing issues.”

Those at the event also had the opportunity to meet the Easter Bunny and have their photos taken with the famous holiday hare, who took great care in ensuring that all students remained comfortable and received specific attention.

“We make sure that when our Easter Bunny is here that she really caters to working with our kiddos if they are a little nervous or a little scared,” Walters said. “She will even sit on the grass with them and spends time with each child and moves at whatever pace makes the child feels most comfortable.”

In addition to the egg hunt, the evening also featured a number of additional games and activities for those that took part, including a balloon artist, arts and crafts, face painting and a temporary tattoo center.

“We’re just here to have a great time,” Walters said. “We do have a couple of extra vendors that are (with us). Goldfish Swim School is here, the ARC of Shelby County and the SEEC Beta Club—they are a homeschool group that have helped us every year.”

The Church of the Highlands was also present at the event and helped to feed those in attendance by preparing and serving hamburgers and hotdogs to all of the families and volunteers.

While one of the city’s newer events, the Easter egg hunt has proven to be one of the favorites for its organizers and for many members of the community who have special needs children in their families.

“Not a lot of communities offer events like this, so Pelham saw the need and we will continue to make this an annual event,” Walters said. “We love holding this event and I love seeing our families come back year after year and I love to see the new kids come in (too). The biggest thing is just seeing the smiles and the happiness.”