By Donald Wittkowski
Peyton Bacastow looked on with wide-eyed wonder at the scores of multicolored plastic eggs that covered the Ocean City beaches Saturday like so many seashells.
Asked to guess at just how many eggs there were, the 5-year-old girl paused for a moment before blurting out “a million.”
Not a bad guess. Actually, there were 110,000 eggs. But who’s counting?
Peyton was among more than 2,000 children who descended on the beachfront for Ocean City’s annual Great Egg Hunt, one of the centerpieces of the Easter weekend festivities.
Parts of the Boardwalk bustled Saturday with large crowds resembling those during the peak summer tourist season, suggesting this could be a blockbuster weekend for local businesses.
The holiday events continue Easter Sunday with a nondenominational sunrise service 6:30 a.m. at the Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and the Boardwalk.
Nattily attired Boardwalk strollers will be able to strut their stuff in the Easter Fashion Promenade starting 1 p.m Sunday in front of the Music Pier.
On Saturday morning, dogs, cats and even some rabbits got to prance around in their Easter outfits during the Woofin’ Paws Pet Fashion Show.
The Great Egg Hunt followed Saturday afternoon, drawing an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 people overall, including 2,000 to 2,500 children, said Brian Hartley, the event organizer.
“It was definitely very successful,” he said.
Hartley noted that 4,000 of the 110,000 hollow plastic eggs contained prizes donated by 40 local businesses.
Under sun-splashed skies and temperatures in the 50s, the children fanned out over the beachfront in five egg-laden areas that were designated for different age groups.
Children used plastic buckets, wicker baskets, shopping bags and even towels to frantically scoop up and haul away their bounty.
Peyton Bacastow and her 8-year-old brother Bryant were eager to fill their buckets with the yellow, orange, pink, green and blue eggs scattered across the beach, just steps from the ocean.
“It’s fun for the kids. Everyone is guaranteed at least one egg, so no one will go home empty-handed,” said Kristy Bacastow, Peyton and Bryant’s mother.
The egg hunt has become an annual family tradition for the Bacastows, of Upper Darby, Pa. Peyton and Bryant’s grandmother lives in Ocean City on Fifth Street.
Jen Rafferty and her 5-year-old daughter Emma and 7-year-old son Michael also come to the egg hunt every year. The Raffertys live in Mickleton, Gloucester County, and have a summer home in Ocean City on 55th Street.
Michael Rafferty said he had never seen so many eggs. Before running out to grab some, he shared his strategy for egg hunting.
“I’m going to go right in the middle,” Michael said of the egg area he surveyed. “I’m going to get 50 eggs.”
Minutes later, both Michael and his sister Emma proudly returned with plastic pails brimming with eggs.
So did hundreds of other children.