Jennifer Lee's three children had been waiting all week for the Town of Huntington's egg hunt at Heckscher Park Friday.

But by the time they got out of their car at 11 a.m., the park looked like someone had just yelled "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater, Lee said.

Children were scaling fences and running wildly through the lawn. Frantic mothers were cursing and screaming for their offspring. And there was not a plastic egg in sight, she said.

The problem, according to parents and town leaders, was that while the town had expected about 300 children to show up, about 1,000 materialized.

"I have three kids under 6," said Lee, 37, of Huntington Station. "What was I supposed to say? The Easter Bunny didn't show up? He didn't hide enough eggs?"

Huntington Town Councilman Mark Cuthbertson, who sponsored the event, acknowledged he had drastically underestimated turnout. It has been about 30 years since the town sponsored an egg hunt.

"We had 1,500 eggs, but we probably could have used 5,000," he said.

Amid the chaos, Cuthbertson said he pulled a $100 bill from his pocket, handed it to a staff member and begged for more candy. But it did not arrive soon enough, he said. "We had the best of intentions," he said. "Our execution was very poor."

Mary Beth Kraese, 40, of South Huntington, brought her three children, ages 3, 6 and 11, to the hunt, and lost her older two within minutes. "They were just running toward the eggs," she said.

Lee too lost her children for a couple of minutes. When she found them, she immediately dragged them back to the car.

"I ran to Kmart, bought a bunch of eggs, and hid them in the back yard," she said.

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