One-year-old Gavin Vorhies Flores sat in the grass staring at his parents, who encouraged the boy to crawl and grab a multicolored plastic egg.
“Come on, reach for it,” said Kendra Vorhies Flores to her son.
The boy gave them a smile, then crawled forward, grasping the egg and tossing it into a blue wicker basket.
The family had practiced at home using blocks and a basket so Gavin would be prepared for his debut Saturday at the Tumwater Easter Egg Dash.
The free, city-sponsored event took place on the fields behind Tumwater District Stadium, where 20,000 multicolored eggs packed with candy were placed by more than 60 volunteers over the past week.
Hundreds of parents and their children stood behind red tape — the only thing separating the children from eggs and their prizes.
Most eggs were filled with candy or stickers. There were also three golden eggs representing a new bike for one child from each of the three age groupings.
Gavin was part of the first wave, infants to 3-year-olds, and chose to stick to a small group of eggs instead of pushing ahead like the other children.
The final two waves were split with 4- to 6-year-olds and then 7- to 10-year-olds.
Before anyone could hit the field, event coordinators got the children and parents loosened up by dancing to the song “Cotton-Eyed Joe.”
Parents bounced toddlers on their hips, while older children shook to the beat.
Kids 3 and younger started off after a 10-second countdown. The children and their parents rushed to the field, each carrying their own personalized basket ranging from traditional wicker to sports- and princess-themed baskets.
Gavin’s wicker basket soon was filled with several dozen candy-filled eggs.
“He’s having a great time,” said Vorhies Flores, 23, who came to the same egg hunt when she was a child. “We are passing on the tradition to the kids.”
Leslie Huff of Olympia and her 3-year-old daughter, Maya, had a different approach to egg collecting.
“We decided not to get the ones close to us — those are for the little babies,” Huff said. “We went a ways out to break up the crowd, but they all look like ants just devouring everything.
“From above, it probably looked like an infestation.”
Wearing a multicolored dress and bright pink polka-dot rain boots, Maya had a wide-eyed look as she held a hat filled with candy and stickers.
“I picked the eggs and then got candy,” she said, smiling.Chelsea Krotzer: 360-754-5476 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/thisjustin @chelseakrotzer