Bainbridge’s biggest annual Easter egg hunt has been canceled.
The free event — which typically attracts a massive crowd of kids and families every April — won’t be held this year, said Terry Lande, executive director of the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park & Recreation District.
About 3,000 people attended last year’s mEGGa Hunt, Lande said.
Concerns about the outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Washington and the danger of further spreading the virus at a large public gathering made the cancelation an easy call.
“It’s 3,000 people and we don’t want to have a gathering of 3,000 people,” Lande said. “And with schools closed, it was like, ‘No, that’s not a good idea.”
Bainbridge school officials announced late Thursday that all district schools will be closed through April 24 at least. That move came following a proclamation from Gov. Jay Inslee that shut down schools in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, and Bainbridge Island, that ordered all public and private schools in those areas to close until April 24.
Inslee expanded the closure Friday to include all K-12 schools in the state.
The mEGGa Hunt is one of Bainbridge’s largest public events, and is held annually at Battle Point Park.
The final day for stuffing the thousands of plastic eggs needed for the event had been scheduled for Friday, March 13, but was called off.
Lande said that most of the plastic eggs that were going to be used during the hunt — about 15,000 in all — have already been stuffed with candy and prizes.
“Probably 99 percent. Almost all of them,” Lande said.
At some point, the park district will decide on how to empty the eggs.
Park facilities, including district offices, sports fields and the aquatic center, will be closed for the rest of the month.
Lande said that will give the district time to reassess as the COVID-19 outbreak continues.
A decision will be made as April approaches whether facilities will remain closed, or if portions of facilities, like parts of the aquatic center, can be reopened.
“We want to reassess. This will give us a chance to see if there anything new,” Lande explained.
In the meantime, the district is encouraging residents to use those facilities which will remain open, such as parks and trails.