By SAM HOUSEHOLDER
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Thousands of children giggled and laughed and screamed with delight when candy fell from the sky Sunday. They also scrambled to catch as many goodies as they could.
The children were camped beneath Goshen Fire Department aerial ladder trucks, which were used by members of Grace Community church, with the help of firefighters, to drop candy as part of an annual Easter egg hunt and celebration.
Church officials said the event has been held for more than 10 years and seems to be growing every year.
Rich Yauger, a youth pastor at the church said he estimated there would be 3,000 to 4,000 people turn out for the egg hunt and prize raffles.
“I think people know that they’re going to come and hopefully experience something really fun,” he said.
According to Yauger, church members filled 30,000 plastic eggs this year for the hunt, which was held on the church’s property on C.R. 36 near C.R. 21.
“That’s a lot of chocolate,” he said.
In addition to the candy-filled eggs, the church raffled off 10 bicycles, two wagons and a tricycle for younger children. For middle and high school students, the church members attached cash and iPods to the goodies they drop from Goshen Fire Department ladder trucks.
Pastor Jeremiah Olson said that the church’s congregation steps up to donate the merchandise and fill the thousands of eggs.
Olson said they ask for volunteers to take home bags of empty eggs and that they return them filled with candy.
Yauger said the community turn-out and atmosphere is what makes the event so great.
“All different cultures, all different walks of life, they’re all on the property at the same time,” he said. “This is a good glimpse of what our community is.”
Families lined up for over an hour before the egg hunt started to get their tickets for the bicycle raffles.
While the candy and prizes are great for the children, Yauger said there is a bigger message the church members would like to send to guests at the hunt.
“We just want people to know that Jesus loves them,” he said. “And if picking up eggs helps them experience that, then we’re happy to do that.”