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Reworked Easter picnic gives everyone reason to celebrate

A few new adjustments here and there made Pahrump’s Easter Picnic much different from last year’s celebration.

NyE Communities Coalition’s Tim Wigchers was enjoying a grilled burger as he watched kids and parents, by the hundreds celebrate at Ian Deutch Memorial Park.

He stressed that organizers wanted to retool the event, having vendors pass out Easter eggs and treats to the children to avoid what Wigchers called a free-for-all during the egg hunting portion of the picnic.

“The new format for the Easter egg collection is going great,” he said. “It’s almost like Halloween trick or treating and it’s worked out really well. “As expected, just like any Easter egg hunt, you tend to run out early, but people seem to be enjoying themselves.”

Organizers decided to alter the way kids gathered their Easter eggs this year due to what Wigchers termed a few bad parents during last year’s event. Some parents allowed their older kids to compete with 4-and-5 year olds during the hunt, where many of the younger kids ended up with an empty Easter basket and broken hearts.

Exhibitor John Pawlak said he’s glad organizers decided to slightly tweak the event this year for the benefit of all.

“It’s more orderly than last year,” he said. “We learned our lesson from last year. We took what we saw that didn’t work and we acted accordingly. The kids had to wait in line to get their eggs and of course there’s always going to be the lines for the hamburgers and hot dogs.”

Anthony Bachiller and his family, including seven children, were munching on ice cream sandwiches underneath a shade tree, said his children liked the mad dash format, calling it the “highlight of the whole event.”

But the children still enjoyed the event.

“We’ve been here for an hour and this is fantastic,” Bachiller said. “The kids really like the ice cream. Next we’re going to stand in line for the face painting.”

More than two dozen local businesses helped sponsor the picnic, led by Corrections Corporation of America, who provided the burgers and dogs.

The company’s Paul Miller and a few detention employees volunteered their time by flipping the burgers and turning the dogs for the crowds.

“We have a lot of people eating a lot of hot dogs,” Miller said. “We really didn’t expect that many hot dogs. Hamburgers are also on the run and so far, about 2,000 and 1,000 hot dogs have been served. It’s what we planned for.”

Miller said their impact would not have been felt without Corrections Corporation of America’s warden, who wanted to contribute again this year.

“It’s all thanks to our Warden Charlotte Collins and she’s the one who supports our initiatives in Pahrump,” he said. “If it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t be able to do half of what we’re doing right now.”

This year’s event was a first for AmeriCorps volunteer Mary Duff who said she was surprised everything fell into place so nicely.

“This is a lot of fun and it brought out a lot of families and kids,” Duff said. “The kids have the donkey train and all kinds of other activities. It’s very nice.”

Duff also said an additional event coincided with the picnic this year.

“This year, we did a food drive to get donations for the local food pantries in town,” she said. “We received a lot of donations so far and we’re looking for food items in pop-top cans for those who don’t have a fully equipped kitchen.”

There were at least two brand new attractions this year for kids to enjoy.

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