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Local Easter celebrations include egg hunt, parade and worship

PLANT CITY – One of the area’s premier Easter-related events is celebrating a major anniversary this year.

The 25th annual City Wide Easter Egg Hunt will be from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Otis M. Andrews Sports Complex, 2602 E. Cherry St. Hundreds of children ages 3 to 11 will try to find plastic eggs stuffed with candy, gift certificates and other prizes.

The hunt is the Plant City Recreation and Parks Department’s second largest annual event after the July 4 celebration.

A total of 10,000 eggs will be hidden, and the children will search in four age groups.

“We use hay to spread them out and hide the eggs,” department Special Events Coordinator Tim Hanlon said.

Children need their own baskets, and the only adults allowed in the hunt areas are city employees and event volunteers.

After the hunt, children ages 12 and under will be offered a free hot dog and drink for lunch courtesy of the Plant City Optimist Club.

“The Optimist Club has partnered with us every year,” Hanlon said. “Not only are they cooking the food but they’re also donating it.”

Also volunteering at the event will be the Plant City High School Key Club.

Using “Bunny Dollars” which will be sold for a dollar a piece at the event, kids can enjoy an inflatable bounce house, a trackless train, and photos with the Easter Bunny among other entertainment being offered after the hunt. Food and refreshments will also be available for sale with Bunny dollars.

Sponsors include Global Sports Alliance, Publix Supermarkets, Family Bowl, and Central Florida Dog and Disc Club, which will give a demonstration prior to the egg hunt.

For more information go to www.plantcitygov.com and follow the links to the recreation department’s site or call (813) 659-4255.

That is just one of many Easter activities in the Plant City area. Others include:

• Plant City’s First Baptist Church’s eighth annual Easter Egg Drop, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. A helicopter will be used to drop thousands of plastic eggs on property the church owns at 3309 James L. Redman Parkway.

A total of 50,000 eggs will be dropped from the helicopter or hidden by hand. Children will hunt in age groups. Other activities include children’s games.

There is no charge and participating children and their parents don’t have to be church members.

For information, call the church at (813) 752-4104 or go to www.fbcpc.com.

• The annual Plant City sunrise service will be 7 a.m. Sunday at Walden Lake’s community park. Robert P. Herrin, pastor of Plant City Church of God, is organizing the service for the second year.

The service will take about an hour and worshippers are welcome to dress casually; some drive golf carts to the service.

Organizers will bring about 200 chairs but worshippers may want to bring lawn chairs in case there isn’t enough seating to go around at the lakefront park, church spokeswoman Cheryl Johnston said.

“It’s beautiful to watch the sun come up over the lake a remember the Lord,” she said.

• Gospel Mets Ministries, 1102 E. Laura St., will have a special Easter service at 11 a.m. that includes singing, worship and preaching. The service will be followed by lunch.

For information, call pastor Edit Langston at (813) 754-1096.

• The oldest Easter celebration in Plant City, the 74nd annual Marie B. Ellis Community Easter Egg Hunt and Parade, is 2 p.m. Sunday at Marie B. Ellis Park, 601 E. Laura St.

Activities include refreshments and children’s games and an Easter parade and fashion show for children up to age 12. Prizes will be awarded in age groups in such categories as best-dressed girl and best-dressed boy.

There is no charge, celebration organizer Linda Light said.

The celebration was founded by Light’s grandmother, Marie B. Ellis, a pastor’s wife who died in 1962.

Light said she considers the event an enduring legacy to her grandmother.

Light said she hopes to particularly help families headed by single mothers to celebrate Easter. Light said her own father and other male relatives were overseas helping fight World War II during part of her childhood, so she has a heart for children without a parent around.

“Whatever I can do to bring a smile in the community, I want to do,” she said.

She is soliciting help to stage the annual event, including donations of Easter baskets, plastic eggs, wrapped candy and more.

Any business or individual who wants to help can contact Light at (813) 650-4254 or [email protected]

• Hope Lutheran Church, 2001 N. Park Road, will have the following Holy Week services:

Maundy Thursday, 6:30 p.m. led by senior pastor, the Rev. Dean Pfeffer; a service in Spanish will take place at 5 p.m. led by the Rev. Miguel Sanabria.

Good Friday, 6:30 p.m.

Easter, 7 a.m. sunrise service, 8:15 a.m. Easter breakfast hosted by Elders Ministry Team, 9:15 a.m. Children’s Easter Egg-Stravaganza with fun, crafts and Easter egg Hunt; 10:30 a.m. worship; and 5:30 p.m., Spanish Easter celebration with Holy Communion followed by a children’s Egg-Stravaganza.

For information, call (813) 752-4622.

Special Correspondent Kayla Lewis contributed to this article.

Twitter: @dnicholsonTBO

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