Easter bunny abides by social distancing rules during China Grove ride-by event
By Liz Moomey
CHINA GROVE — Every year, China Grove hosts a community Easter egg hunt, but because of COVID-19 the town had to adapt to follow social distancing guidelines and the stay at home order.
On Saturday afternoon, when the hunt would have been, families went to their yards to wave to the Easter bunny riding on a fire truck. Mayor Charles Seaford drove the fire truck around neighborhoods in China Grove’s town limits. He had one goal: to bring a smile to people’s faces. And he said they accomplished that goal.
“It was well worth it just to see the kids standing on the corner, waiting for the fire truck and the Easter bunny to come by just waving,” Seaford said. “It was wonderful.”
Seaford said it is important for the town to do little things to help China Grove citizens get through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With the stay-at-home or the shelter-in-place order that we have right now, I have seen people get down. People are getting to feel real ‘blah’ about it,” Seaford said. “This is one way that we can lift the spirits of everyone, have a good time and, yet, still maintain our social distancing and put a smile on people’s faces.”
Heather Ramseur and her kids— Breanna, Makalyn Jaden, Ella and Dalyssa — said “hello” to the Easter bunny as it passed by. Ramseur said it was a great idea for the community to come together during a difficult time and spread some cheer.
She said it was the highlight of 6-year-old Dalyssa’s day and that she called her great-grandmother to tell her all about seeing the Easter Bunny.
The Ramseurs have attended the town’s Easter egg hunt previously. They’ve also had to adapt some of their family traditions to practice social distancing. On Easter, they generally go to church, visit family for a meal and partake in an egg hunt with friends and family. This year, they will stream their church service, have the kids do a hunt in the yard and cook as a family.
Abby Corriher, 4-year-old daughter Emma and Abby’s mother Valerie Freeze nearly missed the Easter bunny, but Emma “zoomed” on her scooter to see him. Corriher said China Grove is family-friendly and the ride-by allowed the community to come together in a scary time.
Emma drew Easter eggs on the sidewalk after seeing the Easter bunny.
In addition to Saturday’s ride-by, the town currently is hosting a Social Distancing Egg Hunt, which started Wednesday and will continue to next Sunday. To adapt the traditional egg hunt, the town has invited its residents to hang Easter eggs from a window or door or draw Easter eggs with chalk on the sidewalks.
Residents can hunt for the eggs, take a photo and post it to the town’s Facebook or Instagram or their personal page with the hashtag #EggsploreTheGrove. The town will give away an Easter basket to one of the participants.
Patti Price Love, the town’s event coordinator, said she saw many eggs pop up as they were riding along Saturday afternoon.
The egg hunt and the Easter bunny visit are small ways to make the citizens smile.
“We can’t control the virus. We can’t control the economy,” Love said. “There’s just so little things we can control, but we can control is things we can do in our town to try to lift the spirit of our community.”
She called the day magical.
“It was very heartwarming for me,” Love said. “It was a special day, magical actually. One thing in all of this doom and gloom it was our happy day, at least for a lot of the kids, parents and grandparents in China Grove.”
Love and Seaford said they are looking to do something similar to future events, even when things go back to normal. They may create a route map for citizens to know where the firetruck is heading. Love said they purposely didn’t create a route for Saturday because they didn’t want people to congregate.