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Once billed as ‘world’s largest,’ Garrison egg hunt is no more

POSTED: April 1, 2010 11:09 p.m.
TOM REED/The Times

Thousands of egg hunters filed in front of the Garrison home for last year's egg hunt.

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Mack Garrison Jr. had hoped somebody or some group would pick up his family’s 50-year tradition of putting on a community Easter egg hunt in Homer, once billed as the “world’s largest.”

But that hasn’t happened.

So, for the first time in more than a half-century, children in their Easter best won’t be lugging baskets across the green, open fields of the Garrison home off Ga. 51.

“I would love to see somebody pick it up, and I was hoping someone would step up to the plate,” Garrison said Thursday.

The Garrison family’s annual hunt drew thousands of people from throughout the area, growing to such a size as to earn a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records.

For many families, the event had become a multigenerational tradition.

Nothing stopped the event from happening — not bad weather or Harrison’s health issues in recent years.

But with the economy’s collapse, Garrison cited finances — including spending $10,000 alone for the eggs — as the why the family had to bow out as the event’s sole organizers.

He did leave open, however, allowing his property to be used for an egg hunt, if others were willing to run the rest of the show.

“It’s kind of sad,” Garrison said of the lack of response, “but I’m going to leave that (offer) open. I would love to participate in it again next year — pick this back thing up and keep the ball rolling.”

The first hunt grew out of the desire of O.S. Garrison, Mack’s grandfather, to give back to his employees and fellow church members. He held an egg hunt in the front yard of the home of his son, Herbert, Mack’s uncle.

“The second year, he opened the door and told all the churches in the community to come up and have a good time with us,” Garrison said in an interview last year. “The next year, he opened it to the school system. And after the school system, it went on the radio and went public.”

Karen Wenner of Charleston, S.C., had planned to attend this year’s event, hearing about it from her brother Mark, who lives in Augusta.

“I looked it up and was hoping to go with him this year,” she said.

“Mark thought I would get a kick out of since it was close to his and my home, and to know I just missed it is disappointing. The look of kids being kids is renewing and refreshing.”

Garrison said he expects the event’s widespread popularity will trump news of the event’s cancellation and folks will show up Sunday in cars expecting a hunt to take place.

“It was just so large and running so long,” he said. “... We have had as many as 100 people on any given Saturday prior to (past hunts) thinking it was going to be put on (that day).”

For those showing up Sunday, Garrison plans on having someone out front prepared to “answer any questions or any concerns anyone might have ... and maybe help promote it (for future years).”



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