It was only due to a twist of history that we are not about to celebrate the arrival of the Easter Chicken. Since the 1700’s, American children have awakened on Easter morning to discover the colorful eggs and other treats left by a mysterious rabbit that comes in the night. It’s kind of a long story, but coloring eggs in celebration of Easter has a history going back for centuries (to the time when the European Church forbade their consumption during Lent), and rabbits (or more properly, hares) have always a reputation for fertility. So, hello, Easter Bunny!
The bunny is going to be very busy on Friday, laying eggs on the grounds of Swan Lake Iris Gardens in preparation for the annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 7, sponsored by the Sumter County Recreation Department and the Salvation Army Boys’ & Girls’ Club. The fun starts promptly at 12 noon, with an egg hunt and contests for participants ages 2-12.
Groups will be divided according to age, with each having its own section of the gardens to seek out treasures. The age groups are:
- 2 and under (with a prize for the best decorated Easter bonnet)
- 3 years old (with a prize for the best decorated Easter tricycle)
- 4-6 years old (with a prize for the best decorated Easter bicyle)
- 7-9 years old (with a prize for the best decorated Easter egg—limit five entries per participant, please)
- 10-12 years old (with a prize for best decorated Easter hat or cap)
Kids, don’t forget your Easter baskets, and parents, you’re welcome to bring a camera to capture some cherished memories. And of course, the Easter Bunny will be there!
On Easter Sunday, the Sumter Ministerial Association will host the annual Sunrise Service at the gardens, as well. It will begin at 7 a.m., and all are welcome!
Swan Lake Iris Gardens is located at 822 West Liberty Street, with the egg hunt in the Heath Gardens (located on the same side as the Visitors Center and the playground). For more information, please call the Sumter County Recreation Department at (803) 436-2248.