The annual Easter egg hunt in Schiller Park will celebrate its 70th anniversary this year.

The hunt, sponsored by the Columbus Southeast Lions Club, begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 31 -- and it is over in a jiffy, said Tom Grote, a German Village resident and member of the club.

Children 10 years old and younger are asked to show up by 9:30 a.m. so they can be assigned to their appropriate age group, Grote said.

A siren blast from a Columbus Division of Fire truck will signal the start of the hunt for 600 to 700 children, he said.

The hunt is free and open to the public. No signup is necessary, he said. As soon as the hunt starts, it seems, it is over, he said.

Little wooden eggs found in the park can exchanged for chocolate Easter bunnies in the Schiller Community Center.

Participants should not expect any major changes this year, Grote said.

"I think we're just going to do what we always do," he said. "It's pretty much tradition."

Once baskets are full, children and parents often mingle, Grote said.

Firefighters will be on hand to show participants heavy equipment parked at the rec center, he said.

Grote said he also wants the event to bring attention to the Southeast Lions Club, a social-service club that could use some new members.

"There's a real shot at resurgence," he said. "There's a chance of making these things cool again."

Shiloh Todorov, executive director of the German Village Society, said the park is such an important place for the community at large.

"The longevity and success of this Easter egg hunt in Schiller Park is just one example of how much beloved the park is by the entire South Side," Todorov said.

"We love that our shared 'front yard' is so versatile to the community's needs and ways to play."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary