Nearly 800 adults, ages 18 and older, arrived at Jefferson Barracks Park to try their luck at finding the Easter Bunny’s golden eggs.
Starting at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 11 participants had two hours to comb through over 250 acres of the park, which was covered with 8,000 Easter eggs and six golden eggs.
Flashlights in hand, participants searched high and low to gather as many eggs as possible. First time hunters, mother and daughter Wendy and Danielle Boker said the egg hunt was harder than they expected.
“We had to go really far to find eggs, all the eggs were about gone by time we finally got some,” said daughter Danielle Boker.
The Boker family described the event as awesome and good fun but hope that next year’s hunt will come with clues. Participant Josh Palton said he started off feeling a little discouraged about the egg hunt.
“Me and some of my buds came out here to have some fun, and they started finding eggs as soon as we got out here,” Palton said. “I had been walking over 30 minutes before I found my first egg, and it didn’t even have a prize in it.”
Palton and his group of five ended up gathering 83 eggs total and were able to take home several prizes. Following Palton’s group up the hill to the end of the Easter egg hunt was Michael Joseph and his girlfriend Molly Schissel, first time hunters and golden egg finders.
“I think everything was just great, the weather is perfect, food is great and we both found golden eggs,” Joseph said.
Joseph, who is a student at St. Louis University said it took him less than 25 minutes to find his golden egg, which contained a cash prize of $100. After Joseph collected his crisp $100 bill, people crowded around him to congratulate him and his girlfriend on their winnings.
Park Facility Recreational Coordinator Susan Tornetto said she was happy to have so many first time winners. Tornetto, who is responsible for making sure all 8,000 eggs are properly scattered, said a total of 1,000 prizes are given out each night of the event.
“Some eggs are hidden very, very well. All the prizes together total up to $10K,” Tornetto said.
Tornetto said Jefferson Barracks was the first organization in St. Louis to host an adult Easter egg hunt. She took over as the facility recreational coordinator four years after the Easter egg hunt project had started.
“The event started off with a small group of participants, but it has grown quite a bit since I took over 12 years ago,” Tornetto said.
Planning for this event normally starts in January each year, to give Tornetto enough time to solicit sponsors.
“Many of our donations come from sponsors like Maaco, Y98 and the Senior Law Center,” Tornetto said. “We received 75 donations from local merchants such as restaurants, local bowling alleys, hotels and dry cleaners.”
All proceeds raised at the Easter egg hunt go towards the Friends of Jefferson Barracks, a nonprofit organization. She said proceeds are used to make improvements to the park grounds as well as to park upkeep.