The annual New Rochelle Easter Egg-Stravaganza was held Saturday April 12, at Hugh A. Doyle Senior Center. The event for children and families in the community included arts and crafts, taking photos with the Easter bunny, and an egg hunt.
The first hour included an assortment of different craft projects at crafting stations with festive tablecloths. Colorful and unique paper bunnies, paper posies, and eggs were made with the help of Youth Bureau volunteers and parents. Staff chooses to use styrofoam eggs instead of real ones to avoid mess. The kids used stickers, paint, and a ton of other art supplies to decorate the eggs, allowing their creativity to flow freely.
Kids could take a break from paper and glue by visiting the face painting table. Brielle Bonetti, a member of the New Rochelle Youth Council, was there to volunteer and paint bunny noses and whiskers on all of the little faces. Brielle said she became part of the council after seeing flyers at her high school advertising the need for council members. She said she thoroughly enjoys participating in all of the events and that “working with the kids is the best part!”
After craft time children were encouraged to take part in the egg hunt. The kids were separated into two groups by age and sent scattering for the plastic prizes. Once the baskets were full the little ones went inside to show their loved ones what they had gotten. Most were filled with chocolates or plastic figurines, and there were plenty for everyone to go around.
Megan O’Rourke exclaimed, “Daddy, it’s a little soccer player!”
The event, filled to capacity in less than 10 days, has seen much success since its start in 2010.
Kelly Johnson is Deputy Commissioner for Parks and Recreation as well as the Executive Director of the Youth Bureau.
“The community really comes out and joins in. Older kids are volunteering for younger kids,” said Kelly. “We’ve got the Youth Bureau, Parks and Recreation, Shoprite, and The Office of Aging Senior Citizens at the Hugh A. Doyle Center all together to make this happen.”
The Parks and Recreation Department also team up with these organizations for other holidays events such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, all of which take place at the Senior Center.
Kelly gives much credit to the Shoprite on Joyce Road in New Rochelle.
“They’ve been a huge supporter ever since they’ve been in New Rochelle. They are the best partner we could have,” he said gratefully. “They donate so much to us and really ensure everything runs smoothly.”
Senior Recreation Leader of New Rochelle Parks and Recreation, Nina Shawn-Gainor, backed up Kelly’s praises about everyone in the community doing their part.
“It really is a collaborative effort. Everyone helps,” she said. “Even our Parks Foreman drives to Yorktown every year to get the bunny costume.”
Nina, who has played a major role in organizing the Egg-Stravaganza said, “Events like this are the best part of my job,” she continued, “That is easy to say because people come in happy, they’re happy while they’re here, and they leave happy too.”
Due to the continued success and support of the community, there will be a fifth Easter Egg-Stravaganza in 2015. Registration is first come first serve, so all are encouraged to sign up quickly.