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Capitola Easter event draws hundreds for egg hunt

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Young children scramble through the sand at Capitola beach on Saturday during the annual Easter egg hunt hosted by the Capitola Chamber of Commerce. (Kevin Johnson — Santa Cruz Sentinel)

By Calvin Men, Santa Cruz Sentinel

CAPITOLA >> Eggs were abound in the sands of Capitola for the annual Easter egg hunt.

Hosted by the Capitola Soquel Chamber of Commerce, the event drew more than 500 children, parents and other relatives to the beach for the prospect of grabbing a plastic egg filled with a treat.

Divided into divisions based on age, most of the children eagerly sat on the edge of the two fields while they waited for the signal to start.

Mel Reandelar, of Capitola, came with his 3-year-old son, Koa. The two have been coming to the event for two years and the young boy got an egg each year. Reandelar joked his son had to crawl to the eggs in the first year.

“It’s just great to do this with the kids for Easter,” he said.

For Margie Riopel, she came to see her granddaughter partake in the excitement. Sitting a safe distance away from the egg field, Riopel said she had to prevent the girl from collecting eggs early.

“It’s pretty hard to stop her from crossing the line but her mom came to help,” Riopel said.

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Young children scramble through the sand at Capitola beach on Saturday during the annual Easter egg hunt hosted by the Capitola Chamber of Commerce. (Kevin Johnson — Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Most of the children were perched at the edge of the field for a better chance at snagging an egg, which was limited to three per child. Parents often warned their children to move back when they moved too close.

Carrie Arnone, director of communication for the Capitol Soquel Chamber of Commerce, said there were roughly 4,000 eggs prepared for the hunt. Many parents attended the event themselves decades before, Arnone said.

“It’s funny because people that came down as kids are now coming down with their children. So it’s been going on for generations,” she said.

Siblings Jenny and Bart Vivenzi were one example. The two came with Bart’s 11-month-old daughter, Mila, in part because their mother brought them to the Capitola egg hunt as kids. Because it was Mila’s first Easter, Jenny Vivenzi wanted to make sure her niece got at least one egg.

She had a strategy: “Go for the middle ones. No kids will get in the way and that way she can get an egg,” she said. “As long as we get one egg, we’ll be happy.”

Though organizers planned a countdown, kids in the younger division jumped the gun and rushed through to collect eggs seconds before the start. Dust kicked up during the frenzy between the children and parents.

Within minutes, plastic eggs went from being buried in the sand to sitting in bags and baskets.

Aimee Leva and her daughter, 2-year-old Xiomara, walked away with a few eggs in their basket. Xiomara couldn’t snag an egg during the melee but received eggs from the older kids who came away with more than the three-egg limit, Leva said.

“It was a lot for her,” Leva said. “She was happy but she was a little scared.”

Link to original article: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/lifestyle/20150404/capitola-easter-event-draws-hundreds-for-egg-hunt

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