Only the boiled eggs survived the initial wave.

The plastic ones, filled with candy, didn’t stand a chance against the tide of children at Challis city park for the 68th Easter egg hunt sponsored by Order of the Eastern Star members.

“It would have been 69th, except for COVID,” Star member Cary Tuggle said.

Started in 1952, the egg hunt was one of the first holiday events to be canceled last year in Challis amid the arrival of the coronavirus in Idaho.

Tuggle said since the event has been going on for so long, she has come to enjoy how parents who participated in the egg hunt now bring their kids.

Most of the crowd wasn’t out for long. As soon as Custer County Sheriff Stu Lumpkin sounded his siren at 11 a.m., children ages 1 to 9 descended on the eggs and picked their fill in less than five minutes. After even the hard-boiled eggs were collected, most people left. A few parents hung out in the park as their kids hunkered down and counted their loot. As his daughter Ella cracked open plastic eggs with her cousins, Challis resident Tyler Thayn said he was glad to see the egg hunt return.

“They really like it,” Thayn said. “Anything for candy.”

Ella’s candy supply was cut last year because of the pandemic. Thayn said his family still had their usual egg hunt at home, but it was disappointing when the Challis hunt was canceled.

Jacki and Casey Cooke from Victor agreed. “We love this,” Jacki said of the event. “We’ve been to this Easter egg hunt more than the one in our hometown.”

The Cookes and their son, Coy, have friends in Challis and said they visit whenever they can. Last year they decided to stay home more, and Jacki said they missed going to social events like the egg hunt.

Jason Butts from Boise explained part of the fun of going to events like the hunt is getting to catch up with friends and family. Originally from Challis, Butts brought his son Riggins to hang out with his extended family and have fun in Challis.

“The options were steelhead fishing or the egg hunt,” Butts said. “Guess which one they wanted to do.”

Although he couldn’t remember if he partook in the egg hunt as a little kid, Butts said he enjoyed this one as an adult. He got a chance to hang out with people he hadn’t seen in a long time and the kids got a sugar high, he said, so everybody wins.

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