COLUMBIA—The Easter Bunny made a rare nighttime appearance in Stephens Lake Park on Friday night.
Children bundled in coats and boots alongside their parents at the Riechmann Pavilion were in for a chilly flashlight egg hunt, which was sponsored by MU parks and recreation students and the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department.
Despite the less-than-ideal mid-40s weather, C.J. Strehlow, an MU student, said, "We have more kids than we expected show up for the hunt."
The first flashlight egg hunt, for children ages 4 to 10, drew a crowd of just more than 100 children.
"I think with any new event people get excited about it," said Erin Carrillo, a specialist with Columbia Parks and Recreation.
Carma Bushnell, a Columbia parent, said: "I think this hunt is better for the older kids."
More than 1,500 eggs are hidden in the park. While some eggs were filled with candy such as Now and Laters, Toostie Rolls and Peanut Butter cups, there are special "golden" or "shiny" eggs mixed in.
Each child is allowed to pick up eight regular eggs and one shiny egg. These special eggs were exchanged for prizes following the hunt. Prizes included MU footballs and baseballs signed by MU mascot Truman the Tiger and gift certificates.
Danny Nichols, 6, said he would be able to find more eggs than his 5-year-old sister because "I can run faster and I am older than her."
Spring fever caught the group of children by storm and the beams from their flashlights helped them collect eggs under the light of the full moon. Families chatted about hopes for its return for next year's Easter celebration.