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Egg hunt not for chickens.

Byline: Jim Feehan The Register-Guard

Unlike baseball games, some Easter egg hunts are not called on account of rain.

About 200 children braved pelting rain and gusty wind Saturday for the chance to find eggs, candy and Easter trinkets on a baseball field behind Fairfield Baptist Church in northwest Eugene.

"Kids are pretty resilient - they won't let a little rain stop them," said Rebekah West of Eugene, who accompanied her 4-year-old son, Matthew. After Matthew filled his wicker basket with colored eggs and an assortment of candies and toys, mom and son scurried back to their Dodge Grand Caravan for a closer look, out of the wet.

Umbrellas, rain slickers and boots were everywhere as toddlers and their parents slogged through the soggy outfield grass.

DeeDee Smith and her 3-year-old granddaughter, Alexis Whittaker, had enough of the rain and took cover in the church's vestibule.

"My hands were cold," Alexis said while sifting through a pillowcase filled with neon green bunny ears, candy and a toy saw.

Weather aside, Smith was impressed with the festivities.

"Everything was for the kids," she said.

Organizer Anita DeVaney has been putting on Easter egg hunts for the past 35 years. She began holding them at the Bethel area church for children 12 or younger, hoping especially to benefit homeless, disabled and low-income youths of all faiths.

DeVaney says her annual Easter egg hunts would not be possible without the help of volunteers who boil and paint eggs. The 57-year-old woman also relies on area businesses to donate money, toys and other items.

"It's wonderful how everyone was so gracious in seeing this event come together," she said.

The inclement weather had DeVaney concerned before the event, but she said the egg hunt must proceed. Afterward, she and a half-dozen volunteers filled large plastic sacks with unclaimed prizes and tidied up the field.

A woman and two small children approached DeVaney in the parking lot and asked if the egg hunt was over. It was, DeVaney said, but the kids didn't leave empty-handed. She reached into her truck and pulled out candy, toys and an assortment of colored eggs.

Seeing the smiles on children's faces is reward enough for spending the better part of the morning and early afternoon drenched, DeVaney said.

"We have more fun than the kids," she said. "Now we can pray that the Lord doesn't give us all pneumonia."

CAPTION(S):

Looking none too certain, children line up in the rain for Saturday's Easter egg hunt behind Fairfield Baptist Church in northwest Eugene. Boldwordsgohere captiongoeshere Rebekah West tends to the chilly hands of her 4-year-old, Matthew. "We have more fun than the kids." - ANITA DeVANEY, EASTER EGG HUNT ORGANIZER
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Title Annotation:Holidays; Braving the chilly spring rain, about 200 youngsters don boots and slickers for organizer Anita DeVaney's annual Easter event
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Apr 16, 2006
Words:449
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