Hunt is biggest ever

Thousands of dollars worth of candy littered Dodger Stadium Saturday for the Fort Dodge Moose Lodge’s annual Easter egg hunt.

This year’s event was the biggest yet for the Moose Lodge, according to Becky Grazier, event organizer.

“This year has actually been awesome. We had a lot more sponsors, with money and prizes and bikes,” she said. “And we have a lot more candy this year.”

At 12:10 p.m., more than 500 children lined up along the field’s white sideline, with the younger kids holding a parent’s hand.

“If you’re standing in front of the children, I advise you to get out of the way,” Bob Breffle, the event’s announcer, said.

The day was bright and warm, and dotted with strong gusts of wind.

“It’s not the nicest, but it’s not the worst either,” Grazier said. “As long as the sun’s shining, I can deal with a little wind. It’s not freezing and it’s not drizzling, so we don’t have to reschedule.”

The air horn sounded at 12:15, and what Breffle called “the human vacuum cleaners” took off.

According to Grazier, the field was cleared in 150 seconds.

The kids returned to the bleachers afterward with smiles and bags and buckets full of candy.

“It melts your heart,” Grazier said. “It makes you feel good. It feels like you’ve done something. With all the work that it takes to accomplish this, it just makes it all worthwhile.”

In addition to collecting candy, kids also had a chance to win prizes.

On display were 25 prizes for each of the day’s age groups, all activity items like outdoor bowling sets, hula hoops, bubble fluid and indoor board games.

Kids also had a chance to win one of 16 brand new bicycles.

“We had to go up on the bikes for each age group,” Grazier said. “We usually give away three bikes. We had to go up to four because we had so many people who wanted to give.”

Two hours before the event, candy was already spread over the field’s synthetic turf.

“We went to Sam’s Club and with cash we paid for $1,400 worth of candy,” Grazier said. “And then Friskies also donated probably close to that amount.”

The cost to participate in the hunt was 50 cents.

“If the kid doesn’t have 50 cents, we don’t turn them away. But we have to charge something to try to recoup for next year’s event,” Grazier said. “Everything goes back into it for next year.”

Grazier said it was wonderful to see the event grow each year.

“This year I feel overwhelmed. For some reason, this was a good year for donations,” she said. “It makes you feel good that people want to do this for the kids.”