A popular family event during the Easter season in Columbia County that has drawn thousands over the years will be a bit different this year.
Organizers said they have altered the annual mEGGa Egg Hunt to closely follow COVID-19 pandemic health and safety requirements. The event won’t include the traditional hunt allowing children to quickly scamper across the grassy fairground’s fields collecting plastic eggs filled with candy.
Instead, this year’s mEgga Egg event is scheduled as a drive-thru from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 3, at the Columbia County Fairgrounds at 58892 Saulser Road in St. Helens.
In the following conversation, Heather Epperly, the president of the mEGGa Egg Hunt board of directors, gives us a look at the event.
The Chronicle: Give us the history of this event. Who started the original egg hunt, when, why and where?
Heather Epperly: Evelyn Hudson is the founder of the mEGGa Egg Hunt. The first hunt was held in 2000 making this our 20th event, since no event was held last year due to the pandemic. It has always been held at the Columbia County Fairgrounds.
The Chronicle: From your insight, why do you believe it has become a local popular family tradition?
Epperly: It’s a free family event that has grown with our community.
The Chronicle: Since this hunt will be conducted as a drive-thru due to the pandemic, specifically how will it work and what do drivers need to know?
Epperly: We have decorated the path the families will drive. Outside the gate we will form two lines. Our fair board members will be going down the lines to get required COVID tracing information from the drivers. The drivers will enter through the main gate, by the pavilion and stop at the table by the pavilion for their goodie bags. Families inside their vehicles will have the chance to wave at the costumed bunnies and our local fire department, and proceed out the gate.
The Chronicle: Briefly describe how the egg hunts have been held in the past. We understand the start and finish is pretty quick.
Epperly: The hunt has always started at 11 a.m. and ends very quickly but, most families come early and stay later to visit the petting zoo, face painting area, to enter the coloring contest, visit with robotics team and other fun activities.
The Chronicle: We understand that the children will receive treat bags. How will they get the bags, who will hand them out, and what will the bags contain?
Epperly: The bags will be handed out near the pavilion as families drive through. Each bag will be filled with Easter goodies.
The Chronicle: Certainly, this event must require volunteers to help. How many volunteers, who are they and what will they be doing at the event?
Epperly: This year we will have a lot less volunteers than normal due to COVID. The volunteers helping this year include our board members, committee, fair board and some of our sponsors.
The Chronicle: Who are the event sponsors?
Epperly: Columbia County Fair, State Sen. Betsy Johnson, Guild, American Family Insurance, InRoads, Remax Power Pros, Dr. Auto, Grange, Cornerstone Café, Dyno Nobel, Wauna, Clatskanie River Inn, Xfinity, and Scappoose Business and Tax.
The Chronicle: Feel free to add any other comments you might have.
Epperly: I would add that we are asking people to please be patient as this is a first-come first-serve event and we are trying to make this fun for all the kiddo’s. We also would like to thank everyone who made this event possible. All the hard work modifying our original event to figuring out a way to continue this wonderful family activity.
For more information, call the Columbia County Fairgrounds at 503-397-4231.