Rotary Park was hopping on Friday morning as Nicola Valley families gathered to kick off Easter weekend with the City of Merritt’s annual ‘Easter Eggstravaganza.’ Hundreds took part in the day’s festivities, which included and egg hunt, balloon creations, face painting, a petting zoo, a concession stand, and plenty of fun to be had for all.

On Good Friday (April 7) from 10 a.m. until noon, hundreds of youngsters and their families gathered to collect their chocolate bounty and connect with their fellow community members. People of all ages could be seen joining in on the activities at the free event, which was organized by the City of Merritt.

“This was amazing,” commented Sky McKeown, the city’s director of recreation and facilities. “We have a huge group of kids in every age group, and lots of parents out there holding hands and helping them collect the eggs, and lots of smiles for sure.” 

Hundreds gathered at Rotary Park for this year’s Easter Eggstravaganza. Marius Auer/Herald

McKeown added that people’s desire to get out into the community following years of pandemic restrictions is evident by the turnout and engagement seen at all city events, from the ‘Eggstravaganza,’ to ball tournaments and Canada Day celebrations. This is the city’s second Easter event at Rotary Park sine most pandemic restrictions ended. 

“People are itching to get out and participate, we’ve been missing out on it for a few years for sure,” added McKeown.

There was plenty of participation for this year’s Easter event, both from the public and from organizers. The Merritt Dance Society operated the concession stand, while the Special Days crew offered face painting and balloon art. Crazy Creek Farm from Lower Nicola operated the petting zoo, which was unsurprisingly a huge hit. 

Entrusted with perhaps the most important job of all, the Merritt Fire and Rescue Department safely delivered the Easter bunny to Rotary Park, offering tours of their fire engine and engaging with young Merrittonians. McKeown noted that without the cooperation of these different groups, the event could not have happened.

“It’s definitely hours and hours, getting here early in the morning, staking it out, and assisting the Easter bunny in laying out all the eggs,” said McKeown, adding, “it was a group effort for sure.”