Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Oakleaf Egg Drop 'Pandemonium'; Even with 20,000 Eggs, There Were So Many Kids That Some Didn't Get Any

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Oakleaf Egg Drop 'Pandemonium'; Even with 20,000 Eggs, There Were So Many Kids That Some Didn't Get Any

Article excerpt

Byline: Heather Lovejoy

Twenty-thousand sounds like a big number when you're counting plastic Easter eggs. It sounds even bigger when a church decides to dramatically drop them from an airborne helicopter, outdoing every community egg hunt in town.

But when thousands of eager kids show up with baskets and bags, screaming, "We want eggs!" 20,000 plastic eggs falling from a helicopter is a bit like one M&M being tossed to a starving man. It's just not enough.

That's what happened Sunday on the Oakleaf Plantation soccer fields, where chaos ensued at Elevate Life Church's first community event in Orange Park.

After the egg drop, Pastor Tim Staier of the newly formed church said he underestimated the crowd size significantly, expecting only a few thousand people to come.

At one point, he tweeted: "Pandemonium."

When asked about whether he'd hold the event again next year, he said, laughing, "Ask me in two weeks."

"Right now, I don't even want to think about another egg."

Before the big drop, a smaller rush-to-get-eggs event was held for toddlers, which led Gretchen Spencer and her two daughters, ages 4 and 10, to leave the crowd and sit in the shade. She said people were almost trampling each other, so her family wouldn't participate in the second rush, but would stay to watch the helicopter.

Spencer lives in the Oakleaf neighborhood, and said every person she knows with kids planned to be there.

Families from all over the area were there, too.

For at least 45 minutes, volunteers in bright orange shirts cleared the field, urging people back behind broken caution tape. People were told not to move forward until the helicopter finished its third trip.

Here's a random fact: 20,000 plastic eggs don't fit at once in a helicopter cabin with a pilot and two passengers.

When the eggs finally fell, they looked like giant Tropical Skittles drifting in the breeze.

Despite being taped, many of the eggs broke open, but the kids didn't seem to care. …

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