County Parks taking notes after Egg Hunt Saturday, promise a better experience next year

April 2, 2024 | 12:14 am

Updated April 1, 2024 | 11:31 pm

Photo by Josh Kelly

An estimated 5,000 people attended the Yellow Creek Park Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, and many left with mixed reviews of the inaugural event. Director of County Parks Jordan Rowe said organizers have taken plenty of notes on how to improve the event when it returns next year.

After community members took to social media to share their thoughts following the event, Rowe said the Parks staff gathered apt critiques on where the event may have gone awry.

Rowe said they chose the Jim Lambert Pioneer Village based on crowd estimates and availability in the park when they first planned the event. He noted that approximately 1,000 people attended the Candy Cane Hunt during the winter — and the staff used that estimated attendance a measure for the Easter Egg Hunt.

“We kind of thought, ‘let’s plan for 500 kids or something like that,’ and we were far over that,” Rowe said.

Another unforeseen challenge came with the age division used for the hunt. The Parks Department quickly learned that the first age group of 0-5 years old was its largest, and even if they had split that in half it still would have been a large group to host.

The much-larger-than-expected crowd in turn led to another issue, Rowe said. There wasn’t enough room to properly host the hunt at the arboretum by the Jim Lambert Pioneer Village, and many guests had to park an uncomfortably long distance away from the Village.

Rowe said they are already working out solutions for the significant problems that arose Saturday.

“It’s a good problem to have [of drawing more people than expected], and I appreciate everyone who sent us messages and emails with feedback to help make the event better for next year,” Rowe said. “Anytime you hear a child only got one egg or struggled to have a good experience, it really breaks your heart, and we want to do everything we can to make it better next year.”

Rowe said the county is seriously considering holding next year’s event in the large field where ROMP Fest is typically held every summer. In addition, they plan to have more entry points than the arboretum.

Next year’s hunt will also have seasonal park staff to help control the traffic that followed the event.

Rowe said one of the biggest changes next year is having more of everything.

“We want to bring more of everything: more kids’ activities, more inflatables, and a larger petting zoo. Some people were in line for an hour to take a photo with the Easter Bunny,” Rowe said. “I’m thrilled that people came, and that means the most to me. I hope they will give us another chance next year to really prove that we heard your feedback and we have made adjustments. Please come back.”

Rowe said his main goal as the new Parks Director is to provide more opportunities for community members to enjoy the parks year-round. As they continue to push for more events, he hopes to adjust better for what’s to come.

“This is a learning experience for us, and we just want to start having more events for the community and more things that are low-cost or completely free to get people to come out and utilize your parks,” he said.

Rowe said the feedback will better allow the Parks staff to properly plan events such as the upcoming Touch a Truck event at Panther Creek, the Firework Show at Yellow Creek in July, and several others throughout the year.

April 2, 2024 | 12:14 am

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