Chances for a hopping good time in southwest Michigan

Published 9:07 am Friday, April 11, 2014

Leader photo/JILL McCAUGHAN

Leader photo/JILL McCAUGHAN

MICHIANA—Over the next two weekends, various communities around southwestern Michigan and northern Indiana will be celebrating the arrival of spring with their annual Easter egg hunts and other unique, family-centered activities.



In keeping with tradition, the Berrien County Civitan Club will be presenting an Easter egg hunt for children in Niles at Riverside Park on April 12.

“It starts at 12 noon with the siren blast, and it’s over in about 10 minutes,” said Annie Chapman, who is chairing the event. “It’s one of our favorite events to do every year, and we love to do it.”

The club plans to spread approximately 4,000 candy- and prize-filled eggs in the park for children ages 2 to 10 to collect.

Of those 4,000 eggs, 2,000 are filled by the Civitan Club, and the rest are donated by local merchants. Some eggs will have special prize slips for stuffed animals or gift certificates for treats from places like McDonald’s. A few will even have prize slips worth $25 in golden coins.

“The Niles DDA donates $100, and that is divided into four special prizes for kids in four different age categories,” Chapman said. “Those categories are 2-year-olds, 3- to 4-year-olds, 5- to 7-year-olds, and 8- to 10-year-olds.”



Dowagiac will hold their Easter egg hunt on April 12 at Beckwith Park. While the hunt begins at 12 noon, the festivities will actually begin at 9:30 a.m. with a visit from the Easter Bunny atop a fire truck. In case of bad weather, the event will be held on April 19.

“Kids can visit with the Easter bunny from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.,” said Bonnie Ferrier, who is co-chairing the event with fellow Honor Credit Union employee, Jessica Kehrer. “We also have an Easter costume contest.”

Contestants in the 11:30 a.m. contest can win one of three Easter gift baskets. Costumes will be judged for originality, cuteness and creativity by Miss Dowagiac, her court and the Easter Bunny. There will also be other fun activities, including sidewalk chalk, hula hoop contests and a bean bag toss.

The egg hunt will feature 4,000 eggs stuffed with candy and stickers by Bonnie and her fellow tellers at Honor Credit Union: Michelle Owens, Stacey Staley and Sara Mosier.

“This is our fifth year of involvement,” Bonnie said. “Deborah McDonald and some of the ladies from the Timbers stuffed some eggs for us, too.”

The Easter Eggstravaganza is truly a community event with donations coming in from merchants from around town and with fire department employees hiding the eggs.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun,” Ferrier said.


South Bend

Downtown South Bend (DTSB) has planned their own “Egg Stravaganza” for April 12. Downtown restaurants, attractions and shops have teamed up to offer specials, demonstrations, crafts and activities that celebrate eggs, bunnies and everything spring in the heart of downtown.

Starting at 9 a.m., the day will be filled with many fun activities for children of all ages. While many are free, some do have a small cost associated with participating in them.

For example, craft activities will be available at Healthworks! Kids’ Museum, The Center for History, Junk Evolution and The Pigeon and the Hen Pottery.

The former College Football Hall of Fame will be another location where children can enjoy special treats, like cookie decorating, egg races, sack races and a cash egg hunt, which starts at noon. In fact, DTSB is hiding $200 in prizes in some of those eggs.

There will be also be a breakfast with the Easter Bunny at the Tippecanoe Place Restaurant from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Reservations can be made by calling (574) 234-9077.

A complete list of the day’s activities and their locations is available by contacting Downtown South Bend, Inc. at (574) 282-1110 or by visiting



Buchanan will host its public Easter activities on April 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Buchanan Commons at 122 Days Ave. The children’s hunt will begin at 11 a.m., followed immediately by an egg hunt for dogs.

Alice Kring, owner of Redbud Insurance, is organizing the event for the fifth year, but she has been helping out with the event since 2007.

“I’m guessing there’s approximately 8,000 eggs,” Kring said. “Most of the eggs are filled with candy, but there are 30 prize eggs for each of the four age groups. Prize slips are for grab bags for older kids and smaller stuffed rabbits for the younger kids.”

There will also be prize slips for a large and a small gift basket for each group as well as very large stuffed animals. The Leo Club and the Boy Scouts will help spread the eggs.

“We’ve had a lot of individuals that have dropped off candy and money,” Kring said. “If people want to help, there is still time to drop off candy and dog treats at Redbud Insurance or at City Hall.”


St. Joseph

On April 19, St. Joseph will also present an Easter egg hunt and other fun activities for kids and their families from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on State St. in downtown.

It will follow the same format as last year’s hunt, with area merchants providing as many as 10,000 eggs that kids can search for. Golden eggs containing extra special prizes will also be hidden.

In addition, St. Joseph Today has teamed up with the Silver Beach Carousel to offer two locations for family fun. Magician John Dudley, face painter Kristen Zamora and the Easter Bunny will be downtown from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. They will then move to the carousel starting at 2 p.m.