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Elmira Optimists hop to it, continuing their Easter tradition

There’ll still be candy up for grabs, but the Optimist Club of Elmira’s annual Easter egg event will look decidedly different this weekend.

Still, for the club that lives by the motto of being a “Friend of Youth,” there’s a real sense of anticipation after so much has been on hold for the past year.

“Obviously, we can’t do the same thing this year because of COVID. And last year, we actually cancelled our Easter egg hunt because COVID was here – we couldn’t do that sort of thing safely,” explained Wilfred Doll, current president of the group and member for the past 20 years.

“This year, we thought that we’d like to do something for the kids. And we thought, ‘well, maybe we’ll do like a drive-thru type of thing.’”

After the idea came to Doll, the Optimists were happy to push ahead with a modified version of the event.

“We’re going to set up in the old Elmira Bowl parking lot, and we’ll have a drive thru. We’ll have a procession of cars come through or drive past our booth,  and we will put the candy in a basket on the end of a stick and hand them over to the car. That way we’re keeping our safe distance and still being able to hand out candy,” he explained. “This is really not a hunt. It’s more like ‘drive to get the candies.’”

Doll notes that there will be goodies for every child. “If there are three kids in the car, they’ll get three bags of candy.”

The Easter event marks the club’s return to activities since the pandemic began more than a year ago.

“This is the first time we’ve been able to put on an event because everything has been up in the air and cancelled,” said Doll, anticipating the lineup of cars packed with kids, though it may be the last the club holds for a while, however, due to the ongoing uncertainty about the pandemic.

“We’re not sure what’s going to happen in the future, so we don’t know what to plan.”

The Easter event is free and will start 11 a.m. on Saturday (April 3) at 15 First St. E. The club is asking for attendees to mask up and remain in their vehicles at all times for the safety of everyone.

The Elmira Optimists are also currently seeking donations to replace a trailer that was stolen earlier this year.

“We discovered that our trailer was missing from a spot that we had it stored, and that trailer contains pretty much all of our equipment for fundraising – we had a barbecue in there, we had our tent, table, cooking equipment all sorts of stuff. That’s all gone.” 

Currently, the GoFundMe is at $2,200 of its $5,000 total. Donations can be made online.

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