Bikes raise the stakes in church Easter egg hunt

Public Easter egg hunts are known to get a bit competitive, but when 80 new bicycles are at stake, the intensity goes to a whole new level.

At New Hope International Church in Warner Robins, hundreds of children battled Saturday to find the plastic eggs that held a coupon for a new bicycle.

It was one of many Easter egg hunts taking place in Middle Georgia, including one at the new park on Oakhaven Avenue in Macon. About 200 children came to that one, which was put on by the Vineville Neighborhood Association.

The park, once an overgrown vacant lot, has been open less than a year. The hunt was intended partly to invite people to come and use it.

“People just don’t know yet that this is a park,” said Dina Deason, the association’s social director.

They have more events coming up, including an outdoor movie next month.

Cherria Rouse, of Macon, brought her seven children, but they were a little late getting there and missed the hunt. They didn’t mind too much though, because the Easter bunny was there.

“They loved it,” she said. “They just enjoyed the Easter bunny and enjoyed the weather.”

Jordan Poole, pastor of New Hope International, was expecting about 2,000 children at the church’s annual hunt. They did it in waves, with two separate fields fenced off and different age groups going at a time.

With bicycles as prizes, the children were especially motivated.

“The eggs don’t stay on the ground too long,” Poole said. “It seems like it only takes a matter of seconds.”

Kalai’s Prosser’s 6-year-old son, Adrian, was especially lucky. He found two eggs that contained a bicycle coupon, so he gave one to his cousin.

“I told him the more eggs he found, the better chance he would have,” Prosser said.

Adrian, already an avid baseball player, credited his speed.

“I’m like a flash,” he said. “I got a lot of eggs.”

The event included much more than an egg hunt. There were bounce houses, rides, a rock climbing wall and food. Everything was free except the food, which was provided by vendors.

New Hope International started 27 years ago in a double-wide trailer in Perry, and now has a large building on Russell Parkway and 1,200 members in a multiracial congregation, Poole said. The Easter egg hunt has been done for several years and all of the bikes are donated, some by members, and some by others, including some dropped off anonymously.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.