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Posted on: March 15, 2016

Burns Harbor's first-ever Spectacular Egg Hunt for children with special needs offers fun for all

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Spring arrived early for the Town of Burns Harbor as the Park Department hosted another successful Easter Egg Hunt and first-ever Spectacular Egg Hunt for children with special needs.

More than 400 children and their families attended the event this past Saturday, March 12, morning at Lakeland Park for an Easter celebration for all.

The Spectacular Egg Hunt offered a quiet egg hunt for children with Autism spectrum disorders or children with sensory processing issues and a hunt for children who are visually impaired. In addition, a magnetic egg hunt for children using wheelchairs or children with mobility issues took place.

Event organizer and Park Director, Kim Burton, said months before the event she received a call from a parent inquiring if her child with special needs could attend. Burton encouraged their attendance and then began researching to add to the event, specifically for children with special needs.

Burton said, “The town wanted to do something extra to serve all children in our community, but we’ve found the desire for an event designed specifically for children with special needs is far-reaching as 48 children signed up to attend, mostly from throughout Porter and Lake counties.”

Several children, some for the first time ever, participated in an egg hunt on the park’s basketball court, locating their magnetic eggs from a wheelchair with a pole provided by the Park Department.

Valparaiso resident, Reuben Martinez, 6, could barely contain his excitement as he squealed with delight each time he located an egg.

“This is the best thing in the world,” said Reuben’s mother, Kelly Martinez. “He liked it and his sisters liked helping him too. I hope other towns start looking to Burns Harbor and what the town did and follow suit.”

Nearby, the Liberty Sunsetters of the Porter County 4-H brought their Dutch bunnies, Striper and Ray, for children who are visually impaired and others to pet.

Before the Easter Egg Hunt, 5-year-old Sam Day had his eye on the main prize. “My game plan is to find the golden egg. I like egg hunts ‘cause I re-hide the eggs at home and then I can go find them again,” he said.

Among the 2,000 colorful eggs scattered throughout Lakeland Park were some golden eggs, offering children special age-appropriate prizes of bunny stuffed animals, coloring books with crayons, bubbles, chalk and kites.

Sam’s father, Rodney Day, a lifelong Burns Harbor resident, said, “This is a great event to get the kids out of the house to play with other kids and enjoy the weather.”

Fellow egg hunt participant, Ashley Christenson, 8, of Burns Harbor, had more extravagant egg hunt goals in mind. “I’m excited because I want to collect the most eggs, like 20 million. I’m having fun,” she said, swinging her pink Easter basket.

Soon after, the Easter Bunny arrived, escorted by the Burns Harbor Fire Department. The buzz picked up quickly as the crowds of children took off to collect eggs. Within minutes, the majority had been found as many smiling children counted their assortment and collected their prizes.

The Burns Harbor Park Department thanks the numerous volunteers, Burns Harbor Fire Department and Kidworks Developmental Intervention Center who helped make the event a success.

Those interested are encouraged to save the date for the Park Department’s next big event — the Footloose 5K run/walk and Kids Fun Run Saturday, June 25 from 5 to 10 p.m. at Lakeland Park, 1200 Lakeland Park Drive in Burns Harbor. This 1980s-inspired family-friendly event also features festive music, fireworks, prizes, food and refreshments. For more information or to sponsor, call 219.787.8126.

Pictured above: Hundreds of children and their families participates in the Burns Harbor Park Department’s Easter Egg Hunt and Spectacular Egg Hunt for children with special needs Saturday at Lakeland Park.

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