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Easter events a return to ‘normal’

They are simple activities, but they bring a sense of joy to children and adults each year.

And while Easter egg hunts always serve as a marker for the season of renewal and as a way to welcome spring, they are taking on a different significance this year.

They are indicators that our lives are inching closer to being able to return to what we remember as normal. The annual opportunities for children to find the eggs that are filled with candy and other prizes are back this year. Most of the events were not held last year, additional casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic and the precautions and protocols that had to be put into place.

Hunts will look a little different. Some are requiring advance registration to participate, some will feature eggs handed out from cars and some will have set participation limits. But while there will be a different feel, each event will offer the chance to get outside and have a little fun.

Steubenville’s recreation department is joining with First Westminster Church to organize the return of the city’s annual hunt, which will be held Saturday at Belleview Park. While Lori Fetherolf, Steubenville’s recreation director, said she was disappointed last year’s event had to be canceled, she said the city is looking forward to this year’s hunt, which required early registration and will be limited to 100 children.

Weirton, meanwhile, has scheduled a drive-through hunt for April 3 in which the Easter Bunny will distribute pre-filled eggs to children who will remain in cars. Advance registration is required for the drive-through event, which will be held near the entrance of Edwin J. Bowman Field in Municipal Plaza.

Numerous other hunts and distributions are planned for April 3, including events at the Follansbee United Methodist Church, Bloomingdale Park, Central Park in Wellsburg, the Mingo Knights of Columbus and the East Springfield Community Center.

As with all other events, social distancing, hand-sanitizing and proper wearing of masks are among the protocols that will need to be followed. Participants and their parents are urged to remember that COVID-19 remains a serious health risk, even as greater numbers of vaccinations are given and fewer cases are reported.

In 2020, Easter egg hunts were among the first events that had to be canceled because of the coronavirus. In 2021, they are among the first large events to return to local schedules, and offer a chance to look forward to brighter times in the future.

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