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Jaemor Farms first hunt rivals Homer, with family in mind
Youngsters race through the fields at Jaemor Farms last Sunday as the popular farm held its first-ever Easter egg hunt.

 In the bright spring sunshine, resting on a bed of green grass, the shiny yellow, orange and red orbs stood out like fragments of a fallen rainbow.

 All magnificent, but none caught the eye of Megan Faulkner like the lone pink one. "I want that one," said 5-year-old Megan before the festivities began.

 "My favorite colors are pink, purple, blue and sparkles. My baby brother loves blue. That’s the only-est color that he loves.

 "I hope nobody gets that pink one because I love it."

 About 15 seconds into the inaugural Jaemor Farm Community Easter Egg Hunt, Megan had securely tucked the prized, pink egg into her little basket.

 And about three minutes after that, all of the eggs — all 12,000 of them — had been scooped up out of the field.

 "My family always had their own Easter egg hunt in the backyard. We had an Echols family Easter egg hunt a couple of times, but even that was nothing like this," said Stephen Jackson, egg hunt co-organizer and Jaemor employee.

 "We purchased 10,000 eggs and had about another 2,000 donated by local churches.

 "We were thinking that maybe 500 people would come, but there was an almost overwhelming response. It was amazing."

 The Echols family members weren’t the only ones in awe of the crowd’s largesse.

 "I’ve never seen anything like it," said Erin Langley, who drove from Flowery Branch with her two daughters.

 "There were so many people. The girls were a little nervous at first with the crowd, but then the hunt started and they were so excited to find eggs to put in their baskets."

 Based on attendance — Jaemor farm manager Drew Echols estimates there were at least 1,500 folks — super-sized Easter egg hunts have been sorely missed.

 The Garrison family event in Homer was something that generations of Northeast Georgians looked forward to each Easter Sunday for 50 years. Once billed as the world’s largest hunt, the family was forced to pull the plug after the 2009 celebration.

 Mack Garrison Jr. told The Times in 2010 that the economic climate at the time wouldn’t allow the family to continue on with the endeavor. The eggs alone cost $10,000.

 "I knew a lot of people who used to always go to the Garrison’s," Jackson said

 "We wanted to give that tradition back to the community. The Jaemor farm has been running for more than 100 years. The only reason we’ve been able to be so successful is because of the good people in this community supporting us.

 "We have been blessed by this community over the years, so we wanted to be a blessing to others."

 Although the thousands of eggs didn’t stretch as far as they’d hoped, all in all, folks seemed to agree that it was a good day.

 "I only got one egg," said James Jordan, an 8-year-old from Oakwood, "but I did get to ride the pony, so that’s OK. Plus, my nana has my real Easter basket waiting for me at her house."

 Gainesville twins Carson and Cara Green didn’t find many eggs in the field for their age group either, but their day seemed to be made by the volunteers handing out brightly colored Peeps.

 "Daddy look," exclaimed 6-year-old Carson about the marshmallow treat, "we got a chicky."

 "Can we eat them now, please," Cara asked.

 In the spirit of fun, daddy Carl Green said, "Yes. Even though your mama is gonna kill me for ruining your dinner."

 Everything may not have gone as planned, but the Jaemor folks are pleased with how the free Easter egg hunt turned out. They’re already brainstorming ways to improve it.

 "This year was a learning curve. It takes a little while to get a handle on things," Echols said.

 "We tossed around the idea of having an Easter egg hunt for two or three years. We thought it would be good for us to start our own family tradition. We wanted this to be a positive memory for everyone and I think we accomplished that goal.

 "As people were leaving, at least 50 people stopped by and said, ‘Thanks. Our kids had a ball.’

 "At the end of the day, that’s what it was all about. Kids having fun."


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