The following article appeared on The NewsLeader.com in northern Ohio. Jason Haymaker is lead pastor of the Western Reserve Grace Brethren Church.
Easter holiday drop to include 100,000 eggs
by Jeff Saunders
Macedonia — Last year was a drizzle of eggs compared to the torrent planned for April 3.
For the second year in a row, area children and their families are invited to Longwood Park to collect candy- and prize-filled Easter eggs dropped from a helicopter. But this year’s festivities will include more than 100,000 eggs, far more than last year’s 6,000.
The free event is again sponsored and paid for by Western Reserve Grace Brethren Church on Route 82 and Chick-fil-A in the Crossings at Golden Link shopping center.
“We’re willing to serve the community in the best way we can and that’s by having fun with the families of the Nordonia area,” said Todd Gorrell, executive director with the church.
Chick-fil-A owner Dan Stanko said the organizers decided to greatly increase the number of eggs after they were surprised by last year’s turnout of 8,000 people.
“It was a blast, but it was out of hand,” said Stanko. “We had so many people show up, it was a lot more than we thought.”
Drop zones will be on the ballfields southeast of the Macedonia Family Recreation Center, with drops planned for children in four age groups so that younger children will not have to compete with older ones.
Stanko said that because of limited parking, the organizers have once again arranged for additional parking, with a shuttle service, at the former Chrysler stamping plant at Route 82 and Chamberlin Road in Twinsburg.
Egg drops are scheduled as followed:
* For children 3 and younger, at noon.
* Ages 3 to 6, 12:20 p.m.
* Ages 7 to 9, 12:40 p.m.
* Ages 10 to 12, 1 p.m.
Signs will indicate the locations for each age group’s drop zone. Gorrell said the organizers are also paying to have city police officers provide security at the event.
Gorrell said several church volunteers spent an evening Feb. 19 filling most of the eggs with candy, as well as about 10,000 of them with coupons for free Chick-fil-A sandwiches.
“We had just about 200 people spending four hours filling the eggs,” said Gorrell.
“We’re also going to have hundreds of little [stuffed Chick-fil-A] cows come out of the helicopter,” said Stanko.
Stanko said the restaurant is providing free food and there will be other activities as well.
Stanko said Chick-fil-A and the church began forming a relationship soon after the restaurant opened in August 2008, with church members holding such events as breakfast meetings and Bible studies there.
“We’ve partnered with them on a number of things,” said Stanko. “They’ve been here quite a bit.”
Gorrell declined to disclose the cost of the event and Stanko said he could not provide a figure, but both said it does not matter.
“We really love the community. I know it sounds like a cliché, but they’ve embraced us,” said Stanko. “I know the costs are significant, but you’ve got to give back to the community.”