If there’s one piece of advice organizers are offering for Saturday’s Easter egg hunt, it’s not to be late.
The 4,000 eggs that will litter Chautauqua Park on Saturday seem like a lot. But when hundreds of eager children are on the hunt the activity is over in a matter of minutes.
“They yell ‘go!’ to start it and drop the rope,” said Marian Melcher, children and youth chairperson with the Beatrice American Legion Auxiliary. “You better be there at 11 o’clock sharp. In five minutes, those kinds have covered that whole area.”
One week before the event, volunteers with the Legion Auxiliary in Beatrice met to fill the eggs for the event. The group is supplying 3,600 eggs, while another 400 are being donated by First State Bank.
Each plastic Easter egg holds a treasure that could include Tootsie Rolls, Reese’s, Kit Kat bars and Hershey’s bars, while a select few have money instead of candy.
Melcher said that volunteers spent around two hours Saturday preparing the eggs.
“I never have trouble getting volunteers,” Melcher said. “They all enjoy doing this. They visit, chit chat and get to know each other better. Everyone really likes it, and it’s fun to see the kids gather the eggs.”
The event is a group effort by the American Legion Family, which includes the American Legion, American Legion Riders, Sons of the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary.
Auxiliary members fill the eggs with candy and surprises the week before the event, while the other groups spread the eggs in the park.
Melcher, who has been organizing the event for more than 20 years, said the Legion has put on an Easter egg hunt for more than 50 years. It used to be held at the Legion Club in Beatrice before relocating to the park several years ago.
The annual Easter Egg hunt will be held Saturday, March 31, at Chautauqua Park in Beatrice. The event starts at 11 a.m. and is divided into four age groups.
Ages 2 and under, 3-4, 5-6 and 7-9 will each collect eggs in different areas of the park. Refreshments and cookies will be provided by the Auxiliary at the park shelter after the event.
There will also be two Easter bunnies at the park to interact with children and pose for photos.
It was a busy weekend for Gage County law enforcement after a tobacco store was broken into, a gun shop had its door smashed and a tow truck was stolen from the fairgrounds.
Beatrice Police officers responded to two separate crimes at R&B Arms on West Court Street and K&B Tobacco Outlet on North Eighth Street that happened sometime late Saturday night or early Saturday morning, chief of police Bruce Lang said.
“K&B was actually entered and the one at R&B Arms was not entered,” Lang said.
Beatrice Police didn’t give much information as the investigation is ongoing, but police logs indicated that whoever broke into K&B Tobacco through a front window. It is unknown if anything was taken during the burglary.
The Facebook page for R&B Arms posted a photo of the back door showing where someone had attempted to gain entry by smashing the door and also reported that their phone line had been cut but phone service had been restored around 10 a.m.
The Gage County Sheriff’s Office responded to reports that a tow truck belonging to the Gage County Fair Board had been stolen on Saturday afternoon.
The wrecker, which is used at Beatrice Speedway, was spotted by a resident who saw it driving at high speeds and contacted law enforcement, said Gage County Fair Board President Steve Whitwer.
“The wreckers don't leave the fairgrounds hardly ever at all,” Whitwer said. “I'm assuming they thought it was kind of fishy and they reported it.”
On Saturday afternoon at 3:41 p.m., Gage County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the area of Southwest 32nd and Locust Road where a caller had reported a tow truck driving through a field.
Deputies located the wrecker at SW 32nd and Maple Road and, after trying to pull the truck over, attempted a pursuit. The driver of the tow truck took several minimum maintenance roads and the pursuit was terminated after the truck left the road and entered a corn field, the sheriff’s office said in a report.
The truck was later reported stolen from a building at the Gage County Fairgrounds and the sheriff’s office found it unoccupied in a cornfield.
This is one of the first big thefts at the fairgrounds and came on the heels of a four-wheeler that was stolen a few weeks ago, Whitwer said.
The recent thefts mean the fairgrounds will likely have to make security upgrades Whitwer said. He said that the board’s budget is fairly tight, but they will take more security precautions going forward, but they were glad for the public’s help.
“Fortunately, you've got a lot of people around Beatrice that get involved when they see something suspicious like that,” Whitwer said. “They'll make a phone call and that's a good thing, that's a positive thing, we hope that people continue to do that.”
It is currently unknown if any of the crimes that happened over the weekend are related.
Bond was set at $50,000 for a Beatrice man accused of threatening to kill an elderly woman.
Beatrice police contacted a victim on Sunday who claimed 25-year-old Zackary Bokelman threatened to kill her.
According to court documents, the two were at a fuel station in Beatrice at around 7 p.m. when he got upset when the victim asked him to clean the windshield of a vehicle.
A report states he cleaned the window, and threatened to kill the female victim when he returned to the vehicle.
The victim reported that she feared for her life and that Bokelman was coming down from a high. Bokelman was located at the victim's residence and placed under arrest for terroristic threats.
Bokelman is due back in Court April 17 in the case.
He also has pending cases for theft and drug possession.