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Flint, MI — In an attempt to preserve some sort of normalcy for children during what has now turned into a year-long quarantine, two Flint natives came together on Saturday, April 3, 2021 to host an Easter egg hunt in downtown Flint’s Riverbank park.
Aiesha Lewis, outreach coordinator and educator at Longway Planetarium had spent a long time thinking about how she could help families celebrate easter in a COVID-friendly way. With events like indoor-church services and large family gatherings still posing a substantial risk of infection, Lewis decided an egg hunt would be ideal.
Initially, Lewis considered a door-to-door style approach where she would set up an egg hunt for individual families. With the help of Kady Yellow, the Downtown Development Authority’s Director of Placemaking, that idea blossomed into an event in Riverfront Park featuring live music, bowling, an egg-and-spoon race and of course, an egg hunt with nearly 2000 eggs to be found.
“There were more events for kids to do when I was growing up than there are now. Things have sort of just been deplenished in Flint and I want to bring that excitement back, especially to downtown,” Lewis said.
For her part, Yellow, who is always looking for opportunities to have citizens engage with Flint’s communal spaces through the What’s Up Downtown project, said she was happy to be approached by Lewis. “Riverbank Park is our focus this summer. In terms of size, access, infrastructure, it’s the perfect venue to come together in during this difficult time … Naturally it’s an amphitheater, it can be used for concerts, any type of live entertainment but I also see a number of picnic style events happening here.”
Lewis’ partner in planning the event, Alvin Brown, a local photographer and owner of Eye Snap Studios spent the duration of the event taking portraits and making prints for families who attended the event free of charge.
Similarly to Lewis, Brown wanted to give families in the community an opportunity to safely celebrate Easter, a holiday whose proximity to the start of quarantine last year meant it was all but celebrated in 2020.
“We wanted to make sure it was a full family function type of event, we wanted to be sure everyone could have a good time and bring out their children. You find a lot of events that are going on for adults but not too many that are focused on family. We wanted to provide a safe way for families to get outside and make good memories,” Brown said.
Local rap artist Sway Montoya attended the egg hunt with his fiancee Taleah and two sons Kamden and Kayden. As a parent, he said having access to events like these is important for his children. “There are a lot of positive things happening in the city and this being something for the kids, it has a powerful impact on them. This is something good to get the kids out, to get the family out, especially during the pandemic. We actually got up early for this, we’re usually not an early type of family,” Montoya said.