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Children crowd Massena Community Center for visits with Easter bunny


MASSENA — A crowd of children, Easter baskets in hand, gathered around the doors of the Massena Community Center on Saturday morning. The line formed through the parking lot as families waited for the doors to open at 11 a.m. so they could get a chance to visit with the Easter Bunny.

“I gave him a big hug,” 5-year-old Lauren D. Oliver said.

Her mother, Jackie A., said even though the annual outdoor Easter egg hunt didn’t happen this year, it was still a great event for children.

“Everybody’s always looking for things to do, so whether it’s inside or out, they’re going to get people to show up,” she said.

Kathleen A. Kelly-Ori, director of the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce and event coordinator, said the yard at the center was too muddy to hold the traditional Easter egg hunt for the eighth year in a row.

“The backyard is a little muddy so we decided to bring it indoors this year, but the kids are still getting their eggs and goodie bags,” she said. “The weather isn’t going to dash our spirits.”

Six plastic bins filled with eggs went quickly as volunteers passed them out to children waiting in line to see the Easter Bunny.

The event was put on by the Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Massena Memorial Hospital, Kids Korner, Dr. David Zysik, Dr. Carl Scruggs, Zysik Dental, North Country Adult Medicine and Arby’s. Free hot dogs from Stewart’s Shops were provided and children also made Easter-related crafts.

The Easter Bunny was joined by Massena Memorial Hospital’s Care Bear and Flavor the Cow from Stewart’s.

“The weather didn’t pan out,” Chamber President Miriam S. Catapano said. “It is a shame because the kids love it, but it’ll still be fun inside.”

Despite not having the usual egg hunt, the center was crowded with children and families. Ms. Kelly-Ori said the event usually attracts about 300 children, and this year organizers were expecting the same number.

“Cabin fever has taken its toll, but now people are getting their kids out, and with the anticipation of Easter, it just makes the community feel good,” Mayor James F. Hidy said.

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