Easter offers basket of good times

Egg hunts, brunch, church services abound for holiday

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There’s a common theme on listings for Easter egg hunts in the Denver Metro area.

Don’t be late. The events begin precisely on time — and they’re over in a flash.

Cynthia Bauman knows exactly why. When the Golden Kiwanis Club holds its annual Easter egg hunt at Parfet Park, it’s a sight to behold, she said. Volunteers disperse roughly 6,000 colored eggs “scattered like gum drops all over the park.” They divide kids into three age groups, and at 10 a.m. sharp, volunteers ring the bell.

Then chaos, albeit adorable chaos, unfolds.

“At 10:03 it’s over. The eggs are like vacuumed off the lawn. It’s amazing,” Bauman said.

From lightning-speed Easter egg hunts to church services to Sunday brunch, there are plenty of ways for Denver metro families to celebrate Palm Sunday and Easter this year. Local event organizers say they look to bring people together in a variety of ways on the holiday.

In Sedalia, Christ’s Episcopal Church from Castle Rock joins with St. Philip in the Field Episcopal Church to guide churchgoers through the “stations of the cross.” It’s a 14-step process that walks people through the end of Christ’s life.

That follows a week of activities beginning on Palm Sunday, aiming to prepare people to reflect on the biblical story of Easter, said the Rev. Brian Winter of Christ’s Episcopal Church.

On Easter Sunday, April 21, they hold two services, wrapping up the week of festivities with a brunch and Easter egg hunt.

“We have lots of visitors on Easter,” Winter said. “There is no judgment as you come in. Whether you’re here every Sunday or just Easter and Christmas, all are welcome.”

Also in Castle Rock is the annual “Special Egg Hunt” hosted by Front Range Church at Douglas County High School. Organizer Jenifer Prosser says the public event caters to children young and old but also to families with special needs. They hold it on April 13, starting at 11 a.m., so families aren’t overwhelmed with too many events on Easter weekend.

They have traditional egg hunts but also ones designed for mobility-impaired children, egg hunts that use beepers for visually impaired children, and a sensory-friendly hunt.

They expect about 2,000 people this year. Prosser said they get emails after each event from families whose child was able to attend an egg hunt for the first time because of the inclusive activities.

“We just want to bridge that gap and meet families where they are,” Prosser said.

There are also those who show up on Easter Sunday and show up hungry.

For those families, Donna Charbonnier of Ciancio’s Restaurant in Westminster is ready to take care of them. The eatery located at the Greg Mastriona Golf Courses at Hyland Hills is a family operation run by Charbonnier and her brother. For nearly 10 years they have offered a reservation-only Easter brunch that transforms their restaurant.

Staff break down walls, open up the space, decorate for Easter and put up a large screen to play the film “Easter Parade.” This year’s event runs from 10 a.m. to noon on April 21 and is capped at 150 guests. The menu boasts eggs Benedict, homemade green chili, scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon, meatballs, biscuits and gravy and more.

Charbonnier said the brunch is a tradition for many families, and one in high demand.

“We had them calling in February,” she said. “There’s a lot of big families that will come back year after year.”

Bauman said they are looking forward to this year’s egg hunt, which takes place on April 20, and are welcoming volunteers. Those who want to help set up can arrive at 8:30 that morning before watching little egg hunters descend on the park.

“Kids are just scooping them into their baskets. They’re so joyful,” she said. “It’s so cute.”

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