By Lindsay Starr Platt, Correspondent
Over 3,000 people, young and old, descended upon the campus of Belton Church of Nazarene Saturday afternoon for an Easter egg hunt. Instead of children looking on the ground for carefully hidden eggs, all eyes were in the sky. 7,000 eggs were dropped from a hovering helicopter, as eager children made a dash to scoop up the eggs into their baskets.
“This event exceeded our expectations,” said Tommy Shaw, church member. “We are here, trying to be the hands and feet of Jesus for Bell County.”
Before the children could participate in the Easter egg hunt, they were invited to the sanctuary to watch a video and have a discussion on the meaning of Easter. After the presentation, each child received a “Green Egg,” which was their token to participate in the egg hunt. The “Green Egg” could also be brought into church the next morning to participate in breaking pinatas.
“Overall, people thought the event was amazing. We loved to be there for the outreach. This was like a modern day Billy Graham crusade,” said Andrea Shaw, church member. Over six families returned Sunday for the pinata party. Our prayer tent and the Gideons handed out 80 bibles. And two people gave their heart to the Lord right there at our event in that prayer tent.”
“Our church was able to do this because of our sponsors,” said Mark Tipton, Pastor, Belton Church of Nazarene. “And God blessed this event.”
The parking lot of the church was set up like a carnival, complete with games, cotton candy, popcorn and a clown. Children had the chance to play “Ring Toss” and “Redneck Putt-Putt”. Children waited in line, as the clown made animals from balloons.
“This is a lot of fun,” commented Belton resident Mary Heaton.
Attendees also had the chance to enjoy sandwiches provided by Jimmy Johns, a sponsor. Water bottles were handed out to help beat the heat of a March afternoon.
“This is really cool. And a great way for kids to get candy and get hyper,” said Kylah Burson, age 10, Temple resident.
Belton Fire and Police Department were also at the event and had vehicles on static display. Children and their parents enjoyed looking at the vehicles and talking to the public servants. Many children’s favorite part was getting behind the driver’s seat of the fire truck and waving to those below.
“It was pretty crazy,” said Christina Pickett, Temple resident. “They had a good presentation about what Easter really is.”
Everything at the event was free, unless you wanted a ride in the helicopter. Freedom Air of Copperas Cove provided five minute rides in the helicopter for $65. Riders had a chance to see Belton and the lake from a bird’s-eye view.
“I got to fly in the helicopter for the first time. We got to wear headphones and listen to the pilot,” said Marena Lesiak, age 7, Harker Heights resident. “Easter is about Jesus.”
One special tent had a special guest, the Easter Bunny. Children and some adults lined up for a photo opportunity with the Easter Bunny.
“We loved the fun part of it,” said Debbie Hitt, Belton resident. “It was a blessing for the kids, the community and this church to come together for this.”
“I liked the cotton candy,” said, Grant Cushman, age 8, Belton resident.