Brightly-colored plastic eggs hidden and hunted, delighted youngsters romping through the park with candy rewards; the scene is the definitive sign of spring in communities everywhere. For the first time, an egg romp will be held in Geauga County’s tiny Munson Township this year.
The problem? Controversy over naming the event has gone national. When Township Trustees first called the event a “Spring Egg Hunt” there was backlash. Some citizens balked and national organizations like the Mississippi-based American Family Association alerted members and started petition drives urging the town to “reverse its decision to censor ‘Easter.’”
“The press has been overwhelming,” says Munson Township Trustee Chairman Irene McMullen. “We thought it would be more of a controversy on whether to give candy to young children.” Besides, there was nothing to reverse, considering there had never been a previous egg hunt there to name, she tells Scene.
Nonetheless, Tuesday night McMullen will make a motion to officially name the new children’s party the “Easter Egg Hunt.” Why? Because a resident offered to foot the bill—estimated at $500—if the Trustees call it that.
Now there is backlash from the other side. “I know there are some people who won’t be happy we are having an Easter Egg Hunt. This is a small town and I know people who may not want to come now and that’s unfortunate,” McMullen says. She adds that there was rigorous debate within the community on what to call it prior to all the non-local attention, and she believes that since taxpayer money is not being used, having an “Easter” Egg Hunt is kosher.
“With respect to the law we are on firm ground here,” according to McMullen. She emphasizes that most community events are supported by donations, not tax dollars.
The controversy has brought up another issue—that so many people wanting their tots to attend an “Easter” Egg Hunt will descend upon the township that they will run out of candy and disappoint the little ones.
“I’m perplexed by all of this,” McMullen says. Initially, the Trustees were really concerned that they wouldn’t get many people to attend.
Here's to hoping that the children attending don't really care what it's called.