TENNERTON- More than 3,500 people attended what is likely the ultimate Easter Egg experience Saturday at Freal "Red" Crites Memorial Stadium.
It was all part of New Community Church's one-of-a-kind Easter Egg Drop, where approximately 20,000 eggs rained down onto the football field to be scooped up by scores of eager children. Many of the plastic eggs were filled with goodies for all to enjoy.
The children were excited to start, including Brody McManus, 5, and Claudia McManus, 6, who made the bold claims that they would be carrying home 1,000 eggs by the end of the event.
Olivia Hite, 10, Dalton Wilson, 8, Layla Hite, 11, Willow Radabaugh, 8, and Abby Colthart, 11, proudly showing off their hard-earned collection of eggs at the Helicopter Egg Drop in Buckhannon Saturday. (The Inter-Mountain photo by Chad Clem)
The Egg Drop was free and open to the public and featured a carnival-style atmosphere with live music, games, face-painting, cotton candy and more. There also was a refreshment stand operated by the Buckhannon-Upshur High School class of 2015 to raise money for prom.
With more than 70 volunteers and community sponsors like the Upshur County Future Farmers of America, the Upshur County Family Resource Network, Union Elementary School, Buckhannon-Upshur High School, Chick-Fil-A and Buffalo Wild Wings, Justin Bowers, Lead Pastor of the New Community Church called the event and its massive turnout a success.
"This is a day where we as a church, along with all of our sponsors and volunteers, come together to create a wild and fun environment for kids and families," Bowers said. "No matter how old you are, this has been a tremendously fun day."
"This is our chance to serve and show our love for the community," said Brittany Barlow, an Upshur County native and volunteer for the Egg Drop. "This is our first official helicopter egg drop event, and its been a huge success. Last year, we had a flashlight egg hunt and had a turnout of 1,400 people. This year, we more than doubled that, and we look to grow even more with whatever we have planned for next year."
Bowers said the main purpose of the event is to bring members of the community out for family friendly fun.
"We aren't pushing a religious agenda," he said. "We just want families to come out and enjoy the day.
"Easter is the biggest part of our year as Christians. The church has been known for what it's against instead of what it stands for, and we want this community to know that we stand for it and its members. Events like today help us illustrate our efforts and allow the members of the community that we are here for them."
New Community Church is the first church of the Evangelical Covenant denomination in West Virginia. The ECC's headquarters are located in Chicago, with more than 800 churches in 44 states. New Community is located at 13 S. Florida St. in Buckhannon and has been meeting for more than a year.
For more information, visit newcommunitywv.com.