Easter Bunny hops through Westlake Saturday

Photo courtesy of Al Psota

Al Psota and his 10-year-old granddaughter, Maizie Campbell, organize stuffed toys that will be given to children at Westlake's Annual Easter Egg Hunt Saturday at the Rec Center.

WESTLAKE - The Town Criers are getting ready for Saturday’s Easter Egg Hunt at the Recreation Center on HIlliard Boulevard.

The group, which has sponsored the annual spring event since 1955, picked up 700 pounds of wrapped candy last week from Giant Eagle and began sorting it during its weekly meeting.

The Town Criers will be among dozens of volunteers and city employees who will be working early Saturday morning to prepare for the event, which draws 1,000 children from toddlers to age 10 along with their family members.

Children ages 4 to 6 scramble for candy and eggs at 1 p.m. while those ages 7 to 10 follow at 1:30 p.m. In a nearby area, children under age 3 hunt for eggs that can be exchanged for candy and prizes.

Besides the Easter egg hunt, visitors can get their picture with Easter bunnies or enjoy refreshments or have their face painted by the Westlake High School National Honor Society.

Town Criers member Al Psota has been in charge of the event for 35 years, but emphasized he has plenty of help.

"It's not a one-man show by any means,” he said. “It's a total group effort."

Fortunately, it is never about having enough candy and stuffed animals, thanks, in large part, to Giant Eagle, he said.

The one thing that has been a challenge from time to time is the weather. His prediction for this year: "It will be 70 and sunny. We do it whatever the weather."

In the past that has include pelting rain and snow, which the children don’t ever seem to notice.

"This is a late Easter,” he said. “I think we’re gonna be OK."

Psota described the event this way: "Kids run out like a big vaccum cleaner and suck up everything off the lawn. It's just fun seeing the kids have a good time."

He said little children always appear fascinated by the big talking bunnies, who are high school honor students. "They get so excited," Psota said.

When it's all over, he walks the area. He laughed while saying the only things he ever finds are a few empty candy wrappers.

"It comes fast and is done fast," he said.

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