Brian Roebke photo
Organizer Marjorie Fritsch hands prize bags to kids at Saturday’s Way-Morr Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt at Way-Morr County Park in Morrison. There was record attendance for the annual event.
By Brian Roebke
It was more than a year in the making, but the Way-Morr Lions Club held its annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 3, at Way-Morr County Park in Morrison.
Preparations were nearly complete when the coronavirus pandemic hit last March and canceled the annual event.
Organizer Marjorie Fritsch said it was extra special this year after Dan Natzke and Dan Vercauteren said they had to have the traditional hunt this year. “The kids want to run around. It’s time for the kids to have fun,” they thought.
The event started 14 years ago when a Lions member’s wife approached the club about doing an Easter Egg Hunt. Three women stuffed plastic eggs with candy and they had maybe 300 eggs, and spent about $500.
The turnout has increased for the past 14 years, and there were 363 kids registered for Saturday’s hunt that had 4,317 eggs laid around the grounds of Way-Morr County Park.
“This is the most we’ve ever had,” Fritsch said.
The reason for the big crowd had to be the decreasing number of positive COVID-19 tests and the fact that people are sick of the virus and ready to get out and about after a year of being cooped up at home with not much happening in the way of public events.
Fritsch took over early in the history of the event and loves doing it every year, seeing the kids scurrying around the grounds of the park and then coming up to the Lions Club pavilion to collect a grab bag to go along with the candy they found inside eggs on the ground.
After they are registered, kids divide up among age levels — 0-2, 3-4, 5-7, and 8-10 — in different areas of the park and wait to see how many eggs they can take based on the number of eggs dropped in that area and the number of kids in that age group. Each child got at least 10 eggs.
“We buy the bigger snacks at Costco and then we have now been buying local at The Village Pantry in Reedsville for the last three years,” Fritsch said.
Volunteers wash all of the eggs after the event so they’re clean for the next year. Because things weren’t looking good with virus numbers earlier in the year, Marjorie and Bob emptied the candy out of all the eggs, thinking the event would be cancelled again.
However, they decided at the March meeting to have it no matter what happened and they had to refill all the eggs that were stored in their fruit cellar.
The eggs were repacked by Lions member’s wives, and the husbands were in charge of grounds on the day of the hunt as well as cleaning up the park a week earlier.
“We had 16 women at my house like an assembly line filling up all these eggs,” she said.
Fritsch said her daughter, Sarah Vercauteren, was monitoring the group’s Facebook page about how many families planned to attend. They initially had 300 bags made up but added an extra 50 bags later on, and they were all gone at the end of the hunt.
This year they spent about $1,500 on the candy, which was actually spent last year. “Money’s nothing when you see all the kids are anxious to go,” Fritsch said.
She said the club loves to help people in the community and the Easter Egg Hunt is just one of many ways.
Their major fundraisers are the Branson North concert that was postponed to October last year and planned for sometime later this year, with the date still to be determined, and the fall fundraiser.
They host the summer Music in the Park events where sponsors cover the cost of ice cream sundaes and the baseball youth group sells food as a fundraiser.
They have a 50/50 drawing and accept donations during those events.
Donations are also made to the Lions Camp in Rosholt, eye care, ASPIRO, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and others as needed.
The club has a local teacher appreciation meal, builds wooden ramps, hosts blood drives, and assists with food pantry donations, deer hide collections, and poinsettia delivery, among others.
There’s a local person driving to Milwaukee for medical purposes, so they’re giving her gas cards.
They also have a medical equipment loan collection for people in the Wayside-Morrison area that includes walkers, wheelchairs, crutches, and lift chairs.
They even have an outside wheelchair lift that’s now being reused by the second person after initially being donated to the club.
The club meets on the second Monday of every month at 7 p.m. at the clubhouse at 3832 Park Road (at the intersection of Park and Dickinson roads).