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ST. MARYS — Hundreds turned out for the annual Bunny Trail event winding through the city of St. Marys Saturday morning.
Friends Mindy Pond and Mindy Cable were some of the first to hit the registration table in Kmart to get a list of the more than 30 businesses that opened their doors to children.
“We mostly take them for the interaction with the public,” Pond said. “It’s a ritual to take the girls every year.”
Volunteer Jeremy Holtzapple said St. Marys Community Partnership took over the former Chamber of Commerce event two years ago as a way to promote local businesses while giving children something to enjoy. The free event asks for canned goods to donate to Agape Ministries, and, at 9:35 a.m. had already filled the first box.
“Last year, I would estimate we had 400 to 500, a huge box full,” Holtzapple said.
Macy McCormick said the rush at Kmart was actually her favorite part of the experience. Her friend Megan Alcorn disagreed.
“I liked the Living Center,” she said. “They had the Easter Bunny there.”
An egg hunt at Zion Lutheran Church was also a popular destination.
Grandmother Mary Holtzapple said she brings her grandchildren on the trail every year.
“I did it last year,” she said. “I always do. They like getting candy. By 10:30 or 11 (a.m.) they’ll be exhausted. Or grandma will be. One or the other.”
Mindy Thiebeau, coordinator for the Zion Lutheran egg hunt, said the church filled 4,000 eggs in preparation for the morning. Many had candy inside, but some had prize slips that gave away bigger prizes like stuffed bunnies or a Bible.
“It’s been weeks and weeks of work,” Thiebeau said. “People have been baking. And we don’t know how many people are coming.”
The effort is part of outreach, Thiebeau said, and a way to make parents aware of programs, like vacation Bible school.
At the post office, children saw live rabbits provided by Tommy McDonough, son of a postal employee.
Postmaster Pat Turman said a whole crew would be coming in that day. Clerks made a rabbit out of mailing packages and provided candy.
“We do it to be part of the community,” Turman said. “It’s our first year.”
The program ended with a free skate at Woodland Roller Dome, where four lucky children won bikes donated by sponsors for the event.