EGGstravaganza: Easter Bunny brings smiles to Upper Arlington residents

Nate Ellis
ThisWeek group

A new twist on an annual tradition saw the Easter Bunny make back in Upper Arlington, as the community celebrated ahead of the holiday weekend.

Flanked by about 40 current, alumni and junior Upper Arlington Civic Association directors, the Easter Bunny hit the streets the morning of March 27 with candy-filled eggs and warm greetings.

It was a new way to ring in the holiday locally, as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic scuttled the UACA’s 2020 installment of the annual Easter egg hunt and public health and safety concerns linger a year later.

Kristin McChesney and her daughter Marlo, 4, greet the Easter Bunny as he visited their house March 27. After the traditional egg hunt was canceled last year, the Upper Arlington Civic Association decided to send the Easter Bunny to houses in the community for this year's celebration.

As a pivot, the UACA set out at 7:45 a.m. to visit 200 registered families and hide eggs outside their houses.

In many cases, wide-eyed youngsters, some braver than others, scurried outside to get a closer look, share in high-fives and take photos with the famed and furry, yet typically elusive bunny.

“I was a little shy, but I was excited because I like candy,” exclaimed 4-year-old Marlo McChesney, as her parents Kristin and James, as well as little brother Archie, 1, looked on.

Lucia Tufano, 4, and her sister Giovanna watch as the Easter Bunny leaves after his visit.

Reactions like that were just what UACA members hoped for when they converted this year’s event into an “EGGstravaganza.”

Since 1933 the UACA, bolstered by memberships and other donations from Upper Arlington residents, has brought the community a series of annual events, including an egg hunt, the Golden Bear Scare at Halloween, Christmas in the Park and the July 4 parade and Party in the Park.

The Easter Bunny poses for a photo with Adan Watson, 5, during a stop March 27.

Because of the pandemic, the UACA substantially has scaled back festivities. But it's continued with a mobile parade during Independence Day and a roving Santa Claus who also visited neighborhoods.

“Since the Easter Egg Hunt & Bunny Trail was cancelled in 2020, it was important for the Civic Association to find a safe and fun way to celebrate this year,” said Amy Reitz, first-year chair in behind the UACA Easter event. “Due to COVID restrictions, we knew we needed to get creative.

“We received such positive feedback from the Fourth of July and Christmas parades, we thought bringing the Easter Bunny to you would be an excellent idea for this year's event."

On March 27, UACA distributed approximately 10,000 pieces of candy.

The Easter Bunny makes his way through Upper Arlington on March 27 in the back of a truck.

The gifts, as well as the visit from the Easter Bunny, were a highlight of the year, according to some.

“We thought it would be fun since we couldn’t do the Easter egg hunt this year,” Kristin McChesney said. “We thought this was a great opportunity to get some eggs and have a little egg hunt at our house.

“We really appreciated how UA did the drive-by Santa this year. This, we really appreciate it. It brings in some fun to kind of a weird year.”

Molly Gdovin, 6, said although it wasn’t a traditional celebration, she was grateful the Easter Bunny stopped by to she her and her sister Lucy, 9.

“It is smaller, but at least it’s still an Easter egg hunt,” Molly said.

Their parents, Michelle and Steve Gdovin, are part of the UACA’s July Fourth planning committee. They were happy their children could take part in a fun event, even with alterations.

“The Easter Bunny was here, so that’s really fun,” Michelle Gdovin said. “We can keep these traditions going even if they look a little different.”

The Easter Bunny, who on this day was transported in the bed of a Dodge Ram pickup, was as excited as the kids.

“The Easter Bunny is hot, but this is one of the best days ever. It’s more fun than I’ve had in a year.”  

That was a sentiment shared by many who received the visit, saying that visitors have few the past year.

UACA members said the opportunity to spread joy to the community is something they cherish, particularly with the pandemic-induced restrictions and worry of the past year.

“We had a blast,” said Samuel Porter III, one of the UACA’s directors. “I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.

“It was fun to get back into the community.”

nellis@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNate