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WOOSTER — Already at Grace Church in Wooster, it appears that the eggs have taken over.

In the hallways, in boxes, in plastic trash bins.

Thousands and thousands of eggs — 100,000, if you’re keeping count.

And on Saturday, April 8, all of those eggs, each filled with candy, will be scooped from the ground in a matter of minutes by one of a thousand or so children 10 and younger who will take to the fields and lots around the church in Grace’s third Helicopter Egg Drop.

The event is back after taking 2016 off. Communications Director Rachel Snyder recalled that Easter was early last year and there was a fear the late-winter weather would not cooperate. The year prior, Snyder said, poor weather conditions forced a one-week postponement. “We said, ‘Easter’s in April this year, so let’s go for it’,” said Grace Kids Director Tim Boucher.

In 2015, Snyder said, 75,000 eggs were filled by volunteers and getting to 100,000 this year has thus far seemed to not be a problem. There are more than 2,000 people who participate in Grace groups and “just about every group is involved in some way,” Snyder said.

Grace provides the eggs and volunteers fill them, with some buying their own candy to do so. Others contribute candy or donate money to buy it.

Once the eggs are filled, Boucher said, 100 volunteers will move quickly to get them placed across the church property. Only a few hundred are actually dropped from the helicopter, which makes its way from the Wayne County Airport in a beeline for Grace, which is located at the intersection of Burbank and Smithville Western roads at the very north end of Wooster.

The hunt begins at 11 a.m., but for 45 minutes prior, Grace will offer music, a magician and a photo booth, as well as refreshments for everyone, including a free Lerch’s donut for each child. “Anything,” Snyder said, “to engage the kids while we wait and have fun.” Proceeds from the sale of Lerch’s donuts will be returned to the event to cover future costs.

New at this year’s hunt will be a sensory sensitive area for children with special needs. The fenced area provides a safe place for those children to enjoy themselves. “It’s cool because ever year, we get better and safer and have more fun,” Snyder said. Children 4 and younger can hunt with an adult.

The Grace campus has 850 parking spaces and volunteers to keep traffic moving smoothly, but Snyder said it’s not a bad idea to arrive early. Volunteers will all park off-site that day and be shuttled in so that all spaces will be available for the participants.

The inaugural year of the hunt saw more than 4,000 come and participate and this year, Snyder said the number could be anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000, depending on the weather.

The Helicopter Egg Drop is just another way for Grace to reach out. “We just want to love on families and make it a fun time for families,” said Boucher. Snyder added, “We want to be a part of the community, regardless of their relationship with us.”

Reporter Tami Mosser can be reached at tmosser@the-daily-record.com or 330-287-1655. She is @tamimosser on Twitter.

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