April 5, 2023 at 7:21 p.m.
Eagle’s Healing Nest postpones 100,000-egg hunt until April 22
With winter storms closing out the month of March and more coming in the forecast, Eagle’s Healing Nest in Sauk Centre has postponed their annual Easter Egg Hunt by two weeks, planning it for 10 a.m.-noon, Saturday, April 22.
Cancellation was definitely not an option – not when the Nest has 100,000 eggs ready for the free event, making it once again the largest Easter egg hunt in Minnesota.
The postponement decision was made March 30 by Eagle’s Healing Nest, Faith Baptist Church in Sauk Centre, Sauk Centre Community Connection and American Legion Auxiliary 428.
“Hopefully, we will have a much happier spring,” said Eagle’s Healing Nest Director Melony Butler. “A lot of kids and families come to enjoy the day, and we want them to be able to enjoy it.”
The Nest ordered 75,000 plastic eggs for this year’s hunt. Some mothers from the Twin Cities metropolitan area stuffed more eggs, and the Elks Lodge in Alexandria and the American Legion ordered more shipments, bringing the total up to 100,000.
“This is a new high,” Butler said. “When we first started, the egg hunt was originally uptown. River of Life (Church) assisted Community Connection to do it, and as they were expanding, they didn’t have a place to do it. … We have 124 acres to do an event, and we wanted to make it a family event just like Halloween, and so we stuffed eggs.”
They originally started with a few thousand eggs, but the hunt brought in more children than expected.
“In the veterans’ world, it’s go big or go home, so we kept increasing the eggs,” Butler said. “We were at 35,000, so then they started searching to see what the largest egg hunt was. … The largest they found was 60,000 (eggs), so we did 70,000, and now we’re at 100,000 eggs.”
The Nest continued the egg hunt in 2020 during the pandemic, holding a drive-thru version. Then, in 2022, when Butler tried getting the Easter eggs online, someone else got the order before she could check out. She called the company, and it turned out to be Marine-owned, so the owner took it upon himself to get the Nest their order, also giving them a discount and providing a driver to get the eggs there on time.
“We again went with that veteran-owned company from down south to deliver our eggs,” Butler said. “They’ve been waiting in the auditorium for us to spread them around.”
This year, Butler does not anticipate much work will be needed to move the event date ahead; it mostly comes down to spreading the word.
“Other egg hunts had done the same, just because we had so much cold and snow and it’s not giving us a reprieve,” Butler said. “Logistically, we tried to think of a different way to do (the egg hunt), but with 100,000 eggs, it’s just not possible, and we want them to enjoy the day – not that they wouldn’t enjoy it, but fitting that many into the auditorium is just not feasible. So, we had to move it forward two weeks. Hopefully, the sun will shine, the snow will melt, and we can enjoy outside and inside activities.”
Along with the egg hunt there will be music, a spring crafts station, a snack bar and a variety of activities for all age groups. A veteran will be dressed as the Easter Bunny for photos, and there will be baby livestock to see.
A pair of golden eggs will also be hidden in the mix. Each age division – ages 3 and under, 4-6 years old, 7-9 years old and 10-12 years old – will have a chance to find the golden eggs, and the pair of lucky finders can each redeem them for a new bicycle.
For the veterans, the main reward of the event is to see families and the community coming together with them.
“Our veterans go out and work in the community all over, not just Sauk Centre, so a large number of them opt to stay in our community,” Butler said. “They love to see the kids smile, and their families love that their veterans have found a place to call home and the community loves them. They fight for God, for country and for family, so to have all that in one place in an Easter event is pretty amazing.”
The Nest is also looking forward to the rest of their events this year, such as their Nest Family Gatherings on the last Saturday of every month, the Nest Fest on Aug. 26, the Mid-Minnesota Car Show and the opening of the Nest’s Ranch building, built in honor of Mark Pavelich. They also have the Buffalo Rodeo Association planning to bring a sanctioned rodeo to Sauk Centre in 2024.
Then, of course, there will be next year’s Easter Egg Hunt.
“(The veterans) are not going to give up the largest egg hunt,” Butler said. “That would tell me we’re going to have 120,000 eggs next year to make sure no one beats them.”