Arlington’s Easter egg hunt draws enthusiastic crowd

SMOKEY POINT — Ethan Dexter has prepared for this day for half of his life.

The 8-year-old Arlington native started attending the city of Arlington’s Easter egg hunts four years ago, and as hundreds of kids crowded around the taped-off area for egg hunters aged 7-12 on April 23, Dexter was doing leg stretches just under the tape before the Arlington Fire Department blew their engines’ horns to signal the shotgun start of the hunt.

“He’s a trained professional,” laughed Tari Dexter, Ethan’s mom. “Within three minutes, all these kids will have this field picked completely clean of Easter eggs. I’ve joked with some of the other moms that we should hide Easter eggs in our kids’ bedrooms to get them to clean their rooms as fast.”

While Ethan enjoyed snatching “tons of Easter eggs” up off the grounds of the forested field next to Weston High School, behind the Stillaguamish Athletic Club, Tari complimented the great organization of the event, which was sponsored by the city of Arlington and Cascade Valley Hospital, with Youth Dynamics volunteering and the Arlington United Church serving hot chocolate and cookies.

“I love the free cocoa and cookies, and Ethan loved the Easter Bunny when he was younger,” Tari Dexter said. “I’m a preschool teacher and I’ve seen a bunch of my students here.”

Heather Logan of Cascade Valley Hospital, who was handing out special prizes to kids whose plastic eggs contained gold-colored coins or award certificates, estimated that the day drew between 1,000 and 1,500 egg hunters to its three grassy fields of 10,000 Easter eggs, divvied up between ages 0-3, 4-6 and 7-12. This attendance is either twice or triple the number of kids who showed up last year.

“A lot of people were surprised that we didn’t require them to register,” Logan said, in between handing out candy and other goodies to those with gold-colored coins, and gift cards and chocolate Easter bunnies to those with award certificates. “As far as we’re concerned, everyone is welcome as soon as they show up. We had kids come from not only Arlington and Marysville, but also Lake Stevens and Ocean Shores.”

Mark Francis brought his daughter Grace all the way from Sedro-Woolley to take part in the Arlington Easter egg hunt for the second time this year.

“Our parents live in Marysville, which is why we came down the first time,” Mark Francis said. “We were so impressed that we had to come back. I just love the setup they’ve got here.”

Marysville’s Peyton Anderson tends to prefer caramel candies in his Easter basket, but when he won a chocolate Easter bunny this year, he certainly wasn’t going to turn it away.

“I think this is becoming a family tradition for us,” said Peyton’s dad, Jason Anderson, after their third Easter egg hunt in Arlington. “They put on a great event.”

Cher Riedel just moved to Arlington in December of last year, and as her son Theo climbed onto Arlington fire engines and petted a hearing assistance dog after his first Easter egg hunt in Arlington, she praised the experience.

“I love the idea of the fields being laid out by age,” Cher Riedel said. “I’ve never been to a place where they’ve done it like this before. We very much enjoyed it.”

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