Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

March 24, 2013

Easter eggs fall from the sky in Graham

By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD, Va. — Three-year-old Emily Grace Broyles, of Princeton, held her bucket as high as she could to show the plastic eggs that almost filled it to the rim.

“See,” she said as she smiled with excitement.

“This is our first time here,” Sara Broyles, Emily’s mother said. “It’s fun.”

Although the calendar says spring, the temperature felt more like winter Saturday morning and afternoon as hundreds of children and parents came out to Graham Recreational Park for the Third Annual Easter Eggstravaganza hosted by Crosspointe Community Fellowship.

“I have no idea how many volunteers we have here,” Lisa Marrs said as she registered children for the event. “The first year, we didn’t know whether to expect 50 or 500 people and between 2,000 and 3,000 came out. It rained last year, and we didn’t have as many as we did the first year. It’s hard to tell how many we will have this year. They’re still coming in.”

In order to alleviate some of the parking challenges that occurred in the first two years, the Boiling Springs Baptist Church in Boiling Springs, S.C., brought some church buses to the event and shuttled visitors from Graham Middle School and Graham High School parking lots to the Rec Park.

The Reverend Paul McKee, pastor of Boiling Springs Baptist said that about 100 volunteers from Boiling Springs came to help with the event. “This park is so beautiful,” McKee said. “It’s a wonderful place to hold an event like this.”

Pastor Roger Cook, of Crosspointe Community Fellowship, said that volunteers from his church and from Boiling Springs and other churches helped coordinate the event. He said that local businesses including Bob Evans, Dairy Queen, Chick-fil-A and many more businesses pitched in to make the event a success.

“It has been awesome — all of the community support for this event,” Cook said.

Members of the Graham High School football team came out to assist with the games that were taking place at various locations throughout the park.

“We all like coming out to help the community in any way we can,” Dequan Booker, a GHS freshman said. “The people come out and support us through the season, and it’s only right for us to come out and support community activities during the rest of the year.”

Jacob Cruise, also a GHS freshman, said that G-Men coach Mike Williams stresses the importance of community service for the team. “It gives us something positive to do and keeps us out of trouble,” Cruise said.

Several puppeteers with Roman Road Puppets from Southside Baptist Church in Suffolk, Va., staged performances throughout the event.

“All of our shows are handwritten,” Lorrie Davis said. “Every show includes a message of salvation.”

Ron Ward, director of the puppet ministry, said that there are 14 members in the puppet troupe and more than half came to participate in the Eggstravaganza. “This is our second year at this event,” he said.

Kevin Goodson of Bluefield, Va., brought his son Bailey, 4, and Palyn, 3, to the event. “I think it’s a great thing for the community,” he said. We got here at 11 a.m. and we have had a lot of fun.”

The young people gathered around the fences of the upper and lower ball fields in the park complex as a helicopter made passes above and dropped prize-filled plastic eggs on both fields. Crosspointe volunteers placed 50,000 plastic eggs in the fields before the start of the event, and the helicopter dropped another 10,000 eggs into the fields. The prizes included Wii, flat screen TV, bicycles, gas cards and much more. Volunteers served free hot dogs during the event while children played games, enjoyed inflatables, had their faces painted, and listened to a free concert by the Crosspointe praise team.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com