March 28, 2002 11:00 pm

By T.L. Petersen

Observer Staff Writer

Union and Wallowa counties are going egg-crazy as Easter approaches. All the work will result in a few frantic minutes Saturday for the young and young at heart.

Across both counties, adult and teen volunteers have been rounding up real eggs, plastic eggs, prizes and candy to re-create the excitement of the annual Easter egg hunt.

Eggs are beginning to haunt the dreams of some community volunteers and the week has seen eggs in incredible numbers wobble their way into Northeast Oregon.

North Powder

Joyce Lawyer of North Powder is one of many who has been busy preparing hard-boiled eggs for the hunts.

Lawyer, with North Powders United Methodist Church, is boiling 60 dozen eggs with help from her daughter. A 4-H club helps to dye the eggs in traditional hues, and more volunteers will arise early Saturday to hide the eggs on the Methodist Church grounds.

The Methodist Sunday school-sponsored hunt kicks off at 9:30 a.m., but Lawyer says North Powders hunt is a bit different than other communities.

We sing first, Here Comes Peter Cotton-Tail, and tell a story, Lawyer said. Then the young hunters, divided into age groups, line up along the sidewalks and wait for the starting bell.

The church Easter egg hunt has been occurring for nearly 18 years, Lawyer said, making it one of the longest same-sponsored egg hunts in the area.


Another of the more traditional hunts will be held Saturday morning near Elgins Stella Mayfield Elementary School.

Sharon Glasson of the Elgin Womens Service Club is one of those people dreaming about eggs.

This morning, Glasson and other service club and Chamber of Commerce members were gathered at the Stella Mayfield cafeteria to hard-boil and dye at least 120 dozen eggs under the direction of cook Stanna Rysdam.

Saturday morning, Elgin FFA members will hide the eggs around the school, and at 10 a.m. children ranging in age from 1 year old to sixth-graders will be turned loose to find them.

Dozens of special eggs will carry prize stickers. Children finding the stickered eggs can either take them to the business sponsoring the prize, or, if the business is closed Saturday, turn the egg in to the Womens Service Club table set up to distribute prizes.

As in every community putting on an Easter egg hunt, success involves volunteers and donations from businesses, Glasson said.


In Imbler, Cassandra Lund echoes the thanks to those who donate.

Lund is the volunteer who has been working for weeks to revitalize Imblers hometown egg hunt.

Imbler will use plastic eggs filled with candy for the hunters to find around the school grounds Saturday morning, Lund said.

With help from the Future Business Leaders of America Club, the eggs will be hidden before the children start hunting at 10 a.m.

The egg hunt lets those 1 and 2 years old hunt together, those 3 and 4 hunt in another area. Older youngsters hunt in a third area. The start times, Lund said, will be staggered so parents and siblings can cheer on the hunters.

Lund also is thankful to

La Grande, Island City and Imbler businesses that have donated eggs and candy even if it has made finding a tabletop in her home problematic this week.

La Grande

The largest egg hunt in Union County is the Saturday morning gathering at Riverside Park in La Grande.

The event, sponsored by the Sunrise Rotary Club for 11 years, features plastic eggs stuffed with candy and prizes.

Also providing co-sponsorship for the La Grande hunt is Pizza Hut; candy is donated by several area stores.

The arrival of the Easter bunny is always an exciting moment in La Grande.

This year the bunny will hop on board an antique fire truck, complete with fire bell, and arrive before the 10 a.m. start of the hunt. Groups will range

from toddlers through children age 10.

After the event, families are invited to bring their youngsters to an Easter party and egg hunt at noon at the American Legion, 301 Fir St.. Games, prizes and fire engine rides will be included.

La Grandes celebration of Easter continues Sunday with

the annual Community Easter Buffet.

Starting at noon and continuing until 1:30 p.m., the buffet is open to everyone at the Presbyterian Friendship Center, 2104 Spring Ave. Volunteers make the meal possible with smiles and friendly greetings.

A free-will donation helps support the buffet.


Union also has a long history of Easter egg hunts, but with a twist.

The Union egg hunt took place Thursday afternoon, its traditional time just before the Easter weekend.

The hunt takes the cooperation of the Union Lions and the school district, organizer Vern Valient said, along with help from some of the little egg-hunters themselves.

Lions Club members gather the eggs, cooks at the school hard-boil the eggs and the youngest school students help to decorate them.

This year, Valient said, the hunt included more than 140 dozen eggs, mostly donated by businesses and groups.

The eggs were hunted Thursday at City Park by children from toddlers to those in the third grade.

Wallowa County

The Easter bunny will also be busy cleverly hiding eggs in Wallowa County for little egg-hunters.

Enterprise Elks Lodge 1829 will host an egg hunt for children at 10 a.m. Saturday behind the Enterprise Safeway store, at Jensen Field.

Children from tiny toddlers to age 10 are welcome to join the fun.

One of the weekends last community egg hunts kicks off at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Liberty Grange near Joseph.

Children ages 5 to 14 can participate. Refreshments and games for them are being organized for the afternoon.

Reach T.L. Petersen at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it