There are dozens of egg hunts and spring happenings in the Greenville area this time of year, and including a couple of those in our schedule the past two weeks in addition to continuing our annual traditions has made for a busy month. We kicked off the Easter season with the company Easter egg hunt (and the giant bunny) and then followed that with dying eggs the traditional Latvian way – with onion skins. This year I varied my usual method in that after ‘gluing’ leaves and flowers to the eggs with water and wrapping in onion skins, I tied them off with thread without the cheesecloth or old nylons to hold everything together. A few came undone in the dye bath, but they came out even darker than usual after spending the night in the pot outdoors, to keep everything cool. A splash of vinegar probably also played a role.
We headed north to Travelers Rest for the Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt. Held in conjunction by Greenville County Rec and Three Rivers Baptist Association, the event was advertised as “You haven’t lived until you’ve hunted glowing eggs after dark.” Well then, we still haven’t lived. The ‘egg hunt’ was two areas enclosed with construction fencing littered with plastic eggs and eggshells which the kids were herded into and then timed to see how many they could pick up. There was something about trying to get one of every color, but in the end all the empty eggs were dumped into giant bins and the kids were handed 8 or 9 pieces of candy each after standing in line for about 15 minutes in exchange for their effort. We crossed the street to enjoy a free hot dog and play games, and Lauris did get his face painted (not sure what the church volunteers thought of his request for fire to be painted on his cheek), but the lines were growing longer, Vilis was growing heavier, and the boys were growing tired. When I inquired as to when the glow-in-the-dark/flashlight portion of the event would start I was told last year a bunch of little kids were trampled in the dark, and so “we’re not doing that any more.” The bit of false advertising had me disappointed, and the fact that it’s not so fun hunting eggs when there is no reward – I think both boys would have preferred to take home the empty eggs over the few pieces of candy that were tossed their way.
We headed to Swamp Rabbit Grocery and Cafe for their first annual egg dye party earlier this week. Using only natural dyes, the event was geared towards kids under 7 and quickly sold out. With our experience using natural dyes we were ahead of the game in knowing that these things take time, but the resulting hues ended up being in perfect contrast to the darker onion skin eggs from our home dyes.
A stop at the Greenville Zoo for their Get Out and Play Day proved to be slightly disappointing as well. There were booths set up throughout the zoo by organizations to educate and encourage families to get outdoors, and most of the tables were set up around some sort of passport that could get stamped and stickered – but they ran out of these kits early on and so my boys were completely confused by the education aspect of it. They had fun shooting a hockey puck with the Greenville Road Warriors and trying their hand at some archery and other games, but the high point of the visit was definitely running into their soccer coach and meeting the brand-new gibbon. The baby siamang was born March 14, and is the 1st endangered species born at the zoo in 21 years.
As we’ll be spending Easter with family there is more egg hunting yet to come, along with great food and good company. I’m looking forward to seeing how our red cabbage eggs turn out (they are currently in the dye bath and should be ready soon), and overconsumption of chocolate eggs and jelly beans has yet to reach its peak, but I’ll take this opportunity to wish you all Priecīgas Lieldienas and a Happy Easter – onion skins, bunnies, gibbons and all!