Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

April 13, 2014

‘Egg’citement fills Graham Rec Park during Easter event

BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD, Va. — Graham Rec Park looked full Saturday afternoon, but the number of people in the park appeared to grow exponentially when Chandler Swope banked his helicopter over the two baseball fields, dropping teddy bears wearing little parachutes to the thousands of little hands waiting for them to reach earth.

For the fourth consecutive year, the congregation of Crosspointe Community Fellowship Church in Bluefield, Va., has organized the “Helicopter Easter Eggstravaganza” for children from throughout the community to enjoy. After a long, cold, snow-coated winter, the games for children of all ages, the excitement of waiting for a community Easter egg hunt and warm, summer-like weather combined to make a beautiful outing.

“We chartered three buses to transport children and families from Graham Middle School and Graham High School,” Charity Cook, egg drop coordinator said. “We should have chartered six.”

The event started at 10 a.m., and the egg drop was initially planned for noon, but more and more chartered bus loads of families kept coming from the high school and middle school pickup locations that organizers delayed the teddy bear drop until about 12:30 p.m., with the eggs to follow.

“We won’t know how many children we have today until we count all of the registrations,” Cook said. “Most are local children, but I know I talked to one family from Tennessee.” Cook said that some area businesses help, Chandler Swope flies the helicopter at his own expense and Bud Acken has given Crosspointe the green light to use his parking lot to reload the helicopter, but she added that the Crosspointe congregation raised the $10,000 needed to host the event.

“You just have to trust God and go on and do it,” Charity Cook said.

“They all work for the church,” Crosspointe Pastor Roger Cook said. “It’s pretty good for a congregation that numbers anywhere from 130 to 160 people.”

Larry and Beth Agnew from Glenwood brought their four daughters as well as an additional four friends to enjoy all the games and fun things for children of all ages to do.

“This is our first time here,” Beth Agnew said, as she held a carriage holding their 2-week-old daughter Mya. “There’s something for children of every age to enjoy.”

“It’s a good family event,” Larry Agnew said. Larry is a deacon at the Maple View Church of Christ. “Everyone can enjoy this.”

Twelve-year-old Jordan Webster appeared to really enjoy climbing to the top of a climbing wall and pushing the button.

“I started climbing these walls when I was 7, but I’ve never climbed one this tall before,” Webster said.

Bruce and Jana Remines brought their daughter, 16-month-old Isabella, all the way from Teays Valley to enjoy the egg drop.

“I like it,” Jana Remines said. “It’s amazing how many people are up here already and, they say there are more bus-loads coming in from the high school and middle school.”

Brad McMillion, one of the volunteer coordinators, explained the process of how the younger group of children would be able to get on the field and gather the plastic eggs containing gifts and prizes.

“There are 25,000 eggs on the upper field and 25,000 eggs on the lower field, and the helicopter is going to drop 10,000 more,” McMillion said, speaking into a bull horn. “A band will be playing later when we distribute the prizes. I hope you enjoy country music.”

“This is crazy,” Stephanie Cerny said with a smile as she watched her nephew prepare to make a mad dash out to gather Easter eggs in a basket.

Destiny Miles, a member of the Crosspointe Church congregation said that she started registering children at about 10:30 a.m., and an hour or so later, she had a box filled with about 200 registration forms.

“Some of them register over at the schools before they get on the buses,” Miles said. “We won’t know how many we have here until we count them all up.”

Charity Cook said the church is hoping to have an even bigger eggstravaganza next Easter season.

– Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com