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Easter Eggstravaganza cracks on

Event volunteers, clockwise from left, Cates Bayabay, Katie Bell, David Lowe, Austin Rogers and Maria Friesen, enjoy a little conversation around the bonfire during the Rankin Inlet Fire Rescue EMS Easter Eggstravaganza on Williamson Lake in Rankin on Saturday, April 15. - photo courtesy of Mark Wyatt

Hundreds of kids had a blast searching for hidden Easter eggs and enjoying hotdogs and other tasty treats on Williamson Lake during the Rankin Inlet Fire Rescue EMS Easter Eggstravaganza on Saturday, April 15, in Rankin Inlet.

The crowd of kids and parents, estimated at between 250 to 300 people, hunted down eggs while enjoying at least 500 cream eggs, 400 hotdogs and containers full of Easter-themed candies.

“The kids absolutely loved the Easter egg hunt and they had a great time,” said Rankin Fire Chief Mark Wyatt.

Department volunteers hid chocolate eggs and bunnies in snowbanks around Williamson Lake, with kids hunted in areas assigned specifically to their age group, ranging from one-to-13-year-olds.

Wyatt said the hunt was scheduled to start at 11 a.m. but, at 10:50, there still wasn't a soul there, so he began to get a little panicked, wondering if, maybe, they didn't do a good enough job making sure the community heard about the egg hunt.

Then, he said, almost like magic, everyone seemed to show up at once right at 11 o'clock, which, he added, was actually pretty cool.

“It was our first year doing this, so I expect there will be some improvements next year as we fine tune the equipment we have to do this sort of thing,” said Wyatt. “The egg hunt worked really, really well because the timing was so good for Easter this year with the warmer weather.”

The idea of hosting an 'Eggstravaganza' to help the community celebrate Easter came about after the department's involvement on Williamson Lake in 2016.

“We just went onto the ice in 2016, set things up, and served hotdogs and hot chocolate to the kids who were using the outdoor rink, which I thought was a pretty good idea that worked out well, but, when we were getting ready to do it again this year, we saw it was the Easter weekend and we felt we could do something a little bigger,” said Wyatt.“We're having a pretty good year fundraising, so far, so we decided to host a giant Easter egg hunt for the community.”

Many of the supplies to make the event possible were donated by the Kissarvik Co-op, Northern store and Red Top. “Pretty much all the hotdogs, hot chocolate and cookies came from those three local suppliers,” said Wyatt. “The donations helped make the day work-out well, and we really appreciate their help and support.”

The event ended up even bigger than planned, when a spur-of-the-moment decision meant the day included a bonfire and sticks for kids to roast their own hotdogs. “That went over really well, too,” said Wyatt.

He said that this is something the department hopes to repeat.

“Seeing all those kids so happy made everything more than worthwhile, and we'd like, very much, to do it again next year if we can,” he said. “In fact, it went so well, and the kids had so much fun, if the timing permits in future years we'd like to keep the Easter egg hunt going as a sort of community tradition.”