By Joshua Blake and Nikolas Donadic
“Why are we waiting so long?” a girl in a blue jacket asked her mother, holding her hands together and writhing in place. A group of at least twenty children waited with her, outside the Heritage Center, all with their parents, shivering and complaining. It’s late March, but there’s still snow on the ground. Just a few days ago this Easter celebration was still uncertain. But during the week, the center’s Facebook page announced that the egg hunt would happen despite the unseasonable weather.
“I was a little concerned about the snow,” Carolyn Cifuni, a local resident who brought her two children and a nephew to the event, said. Actually, the weather did little more than add a wintery backdrop to this spring holiday-themed gathering, which had been in the works for the past three months.
Mount Sinai’s Easter Egg Hoppening took place on a snow-covered Long Island this past Saturday, just days after Winter Storm Toby battered the North East, forcing some local schools to close.
The Hoppening is an annual event in Mount Sinai and began in 2010. Heritage Trust, the nonprofit organization that hosts it, uses ticket sales, along with contributions from local businesses, to help throw the event.
“Most of the merchants in the local area do help,” Victoria Hazan, the Vice President and Event Coordinator of Heritage Trust said.
This year, the local Dunkin Donuts contributed with snacks, and several volunteers brought baked goods of their own, as the trust almost came up short on funding for the event.
However, to her, today was not the day for worrying about funding, it was a day for Mount Sinai to join together and celebrate the coming holiday.
“We sell out in five minutes,” Hazan added with a smile. The Easter Egg Hoppening offers a chance for local kids to celebrate Easter together, albeit a week early, while also helping to foster a bond in the community.
Easter egg hunts and parades are abundant on Long Island this time of the year. Multiple town chambers of commerce and local businesses hold their own events on Easter weekend for their respective communities.
“This is an important event that brings people into the village during the off season,” Lisa Field, President of the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce said of Sag Harbor’s upcoming Easter Bonnet Parade.
“Our local businesses count on the support from the Chamber of Commerce in running these events which hopefully translate into increased business,” she continued.
Sag Harbor’s parade, which also features a petting zoo for local children, has been held annually for over 20 years. Local and small businesses regularly contribute goods and services to it, which feeds into the sense of community Field aims to encourage.
“We do prioritize these events because it adds to the community where we live and work,” she continued. “This is what makes Sag Harbor unique.”
Montauk is holding their 4th annual Eggstravaganza Easter egg hunt this upcoming weekend as well. It’s driven and primarily hosted by local candy store the Candied Anchor.
The Eggstravaganza, like the other events, will feature a heavy volunteer effort by the local community.
“It’s a tremendous community effort because, as you could see today, tons of kids came and helped. There’s nothing that isn’t volunteer here,” Hazan said. “They are just absolutely awesome.”