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      Kids scramble to hunt thousands of Easter eggs

      Easter got an early start in Grand Traverse County Saturday while the beautiful Spring weather brought out thousands of youngsters for two very impressive Easter egg hunts.

      Folks from the West Side Community Church were out early this morning setting up for their 7th annual Easter egg hunt; a fun search for more than 33,000 Easter eggs.

      "They're all filled with pre wrapped candy," said Pastor John Clark. "Our congregation and community groups get involved and does that for us."

      The fun continued on the other side of town at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center where thousands of kids crowded a field speckled with nearly 20,000 Easter eggs, for the 28th annual community Easter egg hunt, hosted by the Sunny County Radio Station in Traverse City.

      "It's just a fun community event where people come from all over," said radio host, Ryan Dobry. "It doesn't cost them anything. All they have to do is bring a basket or a bag and fill it with eggs and it gives us a good feeling of community involvement."

      Kids ages 1-12 took over the candy filled fields, one age group at a time, putting their egg snatching skills to the test.

      "My strategy was just go straight for the middle," said 12-year-old Meriah Hickey. "Don't get caught up in the crowd. So me and my brother just went straight for the middle."

      After the hunt, kids waited around for some special door prizes. Kids could win bikes, donated from Meijer, or an early Easter basket to take home with extra goodies.

      Moomers was serving up free ice cream for the kids, and Biggby Coffee was around to provide some free caffeine for the adults. The Easter Bunny also made an appearance and posed for pictures.

      Regardless of how big any hunt was, coming together as a community was the biggest reward.

      "We like to give back to the community," said Gary Taylor, from Sunny Country 101.9. "The community listens to us and does everything that drives the radio station. This is our way of saying thanks."