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Cochran Easter egg hunt to start off from on high

All it takes to drop a few thousand Easter eggs from a helicopter is, well, gravity and a church field full of children waiting down below.

OK, not directly below.

Oh, and dropping plastic eggs helps, too.

This afternoon at the New Life Church of God in Cochran, they’re planning to load plastic bags full of eggs onto a chopper, take them 50 feet up and scatter them, over easy if you will, on the grass.

Then the kids, who’ll be kept out of egg-drop range, will be turned loose to scoop up the goodies. Most eggs will have candy in them, but some prize eggs will hold coupons for free video-game systems, MP3 players and even cash.

New Life children’s pastor Tara Wilmoth, one of the event’s organizers, heard about a church in Atlanta doing a drop last year and liked the novelty of it. They’ve dubbed it “the Cochran Egg Drop.”

“Everybody around here has been saying, ‘You’re doing what?’” Wilmoth said. “It’s just something different, not the normal Easter-egg hunt. It’s kind of for the ‘wow’ factor for the kids. But actually the grown-ups around here are talking about it more than anybody.”

In recent days, church members have filled 10,000 plastic eggs with treats, but it is likely that fewer than half that many will be sent aloft.

“We don’t know how many will fit in the helicopter,” Wilmoth said.

Chopper pilot Andrew Mallis of Alpharetta-based Peachtree Helicopter, who’ll be at the controls today, has been called on to airdrop other things before. The dropping service isn’t something his company advertises, but he said, “We’ll do them when people ask us.”

His most unusual cargo? Chick-fil-A stuffed-cow toys.

“We dropped hundreds of little stuffed cows on parachutes over Georgia State University,” Mallis said. “They landed on top of the buildings, in trees.”

The plastic eggs, though, should plummet.

“These work better because they’re weighted with candy or whatever inside so they’ll usually drop straight down,” the pilot said. “But if you’ve got something light that the wind can catch, it can go everywhere. That’s why I normally like a big field.”

Would he have considered the flight had it involved, say, hard-boiled eggs?

Said Mallis, “I wouldn’t want to be the one cleaning up after that.”

To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.

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