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Claremont Eggstravaganza exceeds expectations

by Jessica Aitken

Everyone was thrilled to celebrate Easter at Claremont’s Drive-Thru Eggstravaganza on April 3. Mr. and Mrs. Bunny stood alongside Mayor Jennifer Stark, Mayor Pro Tem Jed Leano, and three city council members greeting each car with smiles and waves as they pulled up to the goodie bag station.

Just beyond them, staff and volunteers handed out the pink, yellow, and blue goodie bags filled with fifteen colorful eggs containing various candies and a small coloring booklet. The organizer of Eggstravaganza, Melissa Vollaro, relayed that they anticipated 500 to 600 people to attend.

“We did some math in advance with how long we thought it would take for each car to go through, and that’s how we determined how many eggs to put in each bag, so that our 9000 candy filled eggs stretched. We ended up making 600 bags, so we think we’ll, if all goes well, we should have 500 to 600 bags of eggs. So I think that’s 200 to 300 cars,” Vollaro said.

The line to get a goodie bags and be greeted by Mr. and Mrs. Bunny was about half a mile long.

“I’m told it wrapped all the way around to Scripps and Bridgeport. That’s a good sign, that means it’s successful,” Vollaro said. She went on to explain that the turnout exceeded their expectations.

The Eggstravaganza was intended for people of all ages, therefore there was no age restriction on the event. Vollaro just wanted “as many people to come out and enjoy it. It’s intended for kids, but all ages like this kinda thing.”

Due to the pandemic, last year's egg hunt was canceled, making this event that much more special.

Vollaro explains that, “We’re moving in a good direction and seeing more events starting to come back, even if they’re modified in different ways. Definitely just trying to bring some joy to the community.”

Mayor Jennifer Stark stood to the left of Mr. and Mrs. Bunny, excitedly greeting those in attendance. Ms. Stark exuded a joy that comes from being back in a little bit of normalcy, in the sense that she got to see the eyes of people in front of her and not over a computer screen.

“To actually see each person who’s coming through, to be able to look into their face and tell them that we’re glad we are here, conveying how important it is that everyone feels like they belong and that we’re happy to see everybody, I think it really feels like a tremendous opportunity,” Ms. Stark said.

Stark explained how this event is different from what the organizers typically put on and how they had to think outside of the box, but how that is not a bad thing.

“I am so proud of community services for their adaptive, creative solutions. This extravaganza is for the children about, typically, traditionally, about running around picking up candy, but this sort of drive-by-event provided an opportunity to really see these little children in a way that you really couldn’t when they are all scattered around.”

When asked if this event was a light during the darkness of the pandemic, the Mayor did not hesitate with her sincere response.

“We know more about how important we are to each other than we did before. And so, I think that this opportunity to be able to see each other and recognize each other, and it’s incredible how we can recognize each other despite covering part of our faces, and to look in each others’ eyes to just enjoy this celebration together I think is really, really special.”

I feel honored and privileged to be here and celebrate with everybody,” Stark said.

The event followed physical distancing protocol and all members of the staffing team wore two masks, the outer one decorated with brightly colored Easter eggs. The goodie bags were handed from a basket and into the hands of the mask-wearing passengers.

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