A Quadra Island, B.C., woman has hopped to it and organized a new take on a traditional Easter parade, so local kids can have some fun this weekend, despite the COVID-19 clampdown.
“I was thinking it was so sad kids couldn’t do egg hunts at Easter with their friends,” Brenda Heppner Binnersley said.
“I just want some colour and enthusiasm for them. Social isolation has been torture for kids, and I want a day of distraction for them.”
But Binnersley knew she had to devise a safe activity that would lift children’s spirits on the holiday, while still respecting strict isolation rules.
So, she went online and organized a COVID-19 appropriate egg hunt, of sorts.
Quadra residents are planning to decorate their homes, hedges and driveways with brightly coloured Easter decorations, so families can tour the island by car and try to spot their friends’ and neighbours’ creations.
A total of 76 people have joined Binnersley’s Facebook page, so far.
They are showcasing their craft paper eggs and bunnies, and posting addresses, so kids’ chauffeurs know exactly where to go on Easter Sunday.
Grandmas are challenging other grandmas, and people are planning all sorts of things, said Binnersley of the group’s members.
“Who knows,” she said. “It could be somebody in a rabbit costume standing at the end of a driveway, though eight hours would be a long time to hang around in a bunny suit.”
The idea was inspired by the Hearts in the Window movement, that saw people posting heart-shaped images on homes to brighten neighbourhoods since the COVID-19 crisis began, Binnersley said.
Nine-year-old Lily Bulford is totally on board with the community project.
“I’m excited. It’s going to be really fun,” she said. “I can’t wait to get out of the house, and I might be able to see one of my friends and wave ‘hi.’”
Lily has been busy at work churning out paper eggs and bunny ears, but her pièce de résistance is a shockingly yellow spring chick busting out of an egg.
“It’s bright, like flowers,” she said. “I’m putting the bunny ears behind a pole so it looks like the Easter Bunny is hiding.”
Lily’s mom, Shelanne, the wife of a local RCMP officer, is helping organize the Easter egg hunt. She and the family will also decorate the RCMP detachment.
“We thought it was a great idea, because everything is so different this year,” Shelanne said. “The kids are hoping they might see their friends drive by.”
B.C. Premier John Horgan has also designated the Easter Bunny an essential worker, granting it an “egg-emption’’ to visit homes across the province, while all other residents have been urged not to travel during the holiday weekend.
“Dear Easter Bunny, I am pleased to welcome you to our province for your annual egg-delivery duties,” the premier’s statement reads.
“This year, we’re all looking out for our loved ones and festivities look quite different. I know that you’re also taking extra care, so even if you can’t make it to every home, I want to thank you for sharing your positive spirit and happiness with kids and families across the province.”
The Quadra event’s organizers are asking egg hunt participants to use caution while driving, as they normally would, Binnersley said.
Drivers should also avoid creating traffic bottlenecks or parking in people’s driveways for excessive amounts of time.
“We’re hoping people use common sense and not get out of their cars to socialize,” Binnersley said. “We’ll post some guidelines on the website on Saturday for people to follow.”
Folks are encouraged to put the decorations up Sunday in the morning and to be sure to take them down that same evening.
“We don’t want any littering,” Binnersley said.
She hopes participants will take lots of photos and share them on Facebook for others to enjoy.
“That way people who can’t leave home or who don’t have a car can see the artwork too.”
By Rochelle Baker, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, National Observer