“Ready… set… go!” That’s all the kids had to hear before Easter egg mayhem broke out last Saturday, April 8 at the 30th annual Easter Egg Hunt on Historic Huguenot Street. The event, put on by the New Paltz Youth Program (NPYP) each year, operates like a well-oiled machine. Huguenot Street is shut down to traffic for the duration of the event, which gives parents a safe environment to take their kids out in for a little egg-hunting fun, and Youth Program director Jim Tinger and his squadron of teen volunteers keep everything moving and everyone happy.
The event began at noon under bright sunny skies, and even the recent rains hadn’t made soggy the egg-hunting lawns. Activities included a bouncy castle set up on the lawn in between the DuBois Fort visitor’s center and a wigwam under construction on the street, which made for an interesting juxtaposition of architectural shapes that crossed many centuries.
There was a coloring table set up with crayons and coloring books and chalk for sidewalk sketching. Kids lined up for face painting with five options: a football or baseball, an Easter egg, flowers or a bunny nose and whiskers, which by informal survey seemed to have been the most popular option, at least for little girls. After all, when you’re already wearing a pair of fuzzy bunny ears on a hairband, what better accessory than a bunny face?
Five thousand eggs filled with candy and stickers were hidden in separate grassy areas roped off in four age categories for kids ages one through 12. The difficulty of finding the eggs was matched accordingly; for the one- to-three-year-olds, eggs were pretty much sitting on the grass ready for the taking, parents crouched down to child-view level, pointing out the eggs. The Easter Bunny, who arrived at Huguenot Street by firetruck at 1 p.m., stood amidst the eager egg-hunters watching them capture their goods.
The New Paltz Youth Program has offered year-round educational, recreational and social opportunities for local students in middle and high school since 1989. The youth center at 220 Main Street opens daily at 2 p.m. Activities include basketball, billiards, board games, foosball, ping-pong, skateboarding and video games and regularly scheduled Saturday night GAMES with music, crafts and sports activities. Individual counseling and peer education training is offered as well as tutoring, family mediation and crisis intervention. They do CPR and first aid training and have a library/computer lab resource center. All activities and services are free. More information can be obtained by calling (845) 255-5140 or visit www.newpaltzyouthprogram.org.