Nassau's yearly Egg Hunt draws thousands

Children and their families dash for eggs during

Children and their families dash for eggs during Nassau County's 2014 Egg Hunt at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow on Saturday, April 19, 2014. (Credit: Steve Pfost)

Clutching empty baskets, Samantha and Paige Stewart stood at the edge of the grass, anxiously awaiting the signal.

Before the 7-year-old twins from Mineola loomed the mother lode of treats: brightly colored, candy-filled eggs by the thousands, just waiting to be grabbed.

"I'm excited to get Easter eggs!" Samantha squealed, her sister nodding in agreement.

The girls joined throngs of kids on Saturday for the annual Egg Hunt at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, hosted by Nassau County and radio station K-JOY 98.3. An estimated 4,000 children registered for the free event, organizers said.

Families also enjoyed amusements ranging from bounce houses and slides to face painting and live music.

Legis. CarriƩ Solages (D-Elmont) attended with his girlfriend's children, Divine, 11, and Destin, 8, also from Elmont.

"It's so great to see all these families here," Solages said.

Said Divine Vincent: "I wasn't really expecting all of this. It looks cool so far."

The main event featured three fields dotted with 20,000 plastic eggs. Children -- divided into three age groups -- were supposed to hunt at different times, starting at 11:15 a.m.

But when the announcer kicked off the first hunt for preschoolers, older kids rushed onto the fields, creating a chocolate and candy free-for-all.

When it was over, the basket carried by 2-year-old Wynter Joyner was still empty.

She was consoled by her mother, Tamika Joyner, 37, of Uniondale, who criticized the hunt as "unorganized."

Jon Daniels, who coordinated the event for K-JOY, was apologetic. He said extra eggs were set aside so no children would leave empty-handed.

"The structure was right, the staff was right, the sponsors were right. It was just unfortunate," he said.

Seven-year-old Khalil Hoist of South Hempstead, however, couldn't be happier.

"I got six," he said, proudly displaying his basket. It was filled with empty wrappers.

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