|Turning the big 5-0: Merchant association celebrates 50th annual Easter Egg Hunt|
|Written by Diego Abeloos - Staff Writerfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Wednesday, 06 March 2013|
A longtime downtown Los Altos tradition is turning the big 5-0 this year.
The Los Altos Village Association (LAVA) has scheduled its 50th annual Easter Egg Hunt 10 a.m. to noon March 23 in downtown Los Altos. According to LAVA Executive Director Nancy Dunaway, the event’s founding in the early 1960s led to the formation of the downtown merchants association.
A handful of downtown merchants, including longtime Los Altos children’s clothing store proprietor Marion Jackston, organized the first Easter Egg Hunt in response to increased competition from nearby shopping centers.
“It was the very first event that was done by the merchants to bring people downtown,” Dunaway said. “The formation of LAVA came from that event.”
The Easter Egg Hunt now draws an average of 800 children and their families downtown every year.
Dunaway credited the work of LAVA members and its volunteers for the event’s prolonged success. She added that this year’s 50th annual event would strike a familiar tone and feel from those in years past, featuring the customary Easter Egg Hunt for children ages 1-10 along Main and State streets. Another more recent custom will return, when Los Altos Police Chief Tuck Younis directs a police cruiser – siren blaring – through downtown to signal the start of the hunt.
Volunteers at the Los Altos Senior Center stuff the 4,000 eggs distributed during the hunt with candy and redeemable gift vouchers donated by downtown merchants.
A family entertainment area at State and Second streets, temporarily blocked to traffic, will feature games, face painting, balloon and craft booths staffed by volunteers from the Los Altos High School Interact Club. The Easter Bunny makes an annual appearance during the events, according to Dunaway.
The event’s success can be traced to the community itself as well as volunteers and LAVA members, she said.
“The reason we continue doing these events is because the community embraces them,” Dunaway said. “We see people (participating) with children now who used to come to the event themselves as kids. … It speaks to how the community embraces Los Altos. It’s a special place to raise a family.”
For more information, visit www.downtownlosaltos.org/events/easter.
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