Inaugural Pima Easter Extravaganza a hit

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Aryanna Quezada, 1 month, meets the Easter Bunny for the first time during Pima’s inaugural Easter Extravaganza.

By Jon Johnson

PIMA – With a free pancake breakfast, a variety of games and crafts, 4,000 Easter eggs, the Easter bunny and a rodeo, the town of Pima’s inaugural Easter Extravaganza on Saturday was a stunning success.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Karlee Kempton, of Pima, makes her way to some eggs.

Held at the Vard Lines Memorial Roping Arena and ballfields, the town spread 2,000 Easter eggs on two different fields (one for newborns to 4-years old and one for children ages 5-12) and let them have at it. The younger children’s field took a little doing before all the eggs containing candy or prizes were claimed but the older children showed how it is done and had their field swept clean in about a minute after receiving the word to go.

The Easter Extravaganza is one of the quarterly events the town is promoting to encourage its residents and others to come together for family-friendly fun.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Jolene Hawkins, 3, shows off her haul.

“It’s just been a pleasure,” Pima Mayor C.B. Fletcher said. “(There has been) a lot of good family conversation. We want to bring our town together. We want to be unified and be one, and, by golly, we’re going to be a family.”

While most of the attendees were from Pima, residents from Safford and Thatcher also were on hand to take part in the revelry.

Tyrone Burwell, of Safford, attended the event with his family and said he was impressed with the organization.

“It was awesome,” Burwell said. “I couldn’t ask for a better event from the town of Pima.”

Aspen Hawkins, of Pima, brought her children to the event and said they had a great time.

“I loved it,” Hawkins said. “I can’t wait to see what they come up with next year.”

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Roughly 4,000 eggs dotted the landscape.

For most, the event started at 7 a.m. with a pancake breakfast cooked by Curt Palmer’s group, aided by the Pima Town Council. After breakfast, children mulled about and were entertained by the Easter Bunny (Tori Beus), who braved what had to be a warm costume to bring joy to the children.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Curt Palmer flips some pancakes.

Following the Easter egg hunt, the various games and arts and crafts were opened for those left to participate and win prizes until the rodeo, which included a stick-horse race and greased pig catch for the children as well as roping events for the adults and advanced riders. Pima Town Councilor Sherrill Teeter led the organization of the hunt and gameplay.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Austin Burwell, 1, of Safford, dunks home his ball.

Pima Town Manager Sean Lewis was pleased with how the event played out and is eager to start on the next event in town, which will be the Jim Brinkerhoff Varsity Boy Scout Triathlon. That event is the largest of its kind in the nation and brings roughly 2,000 people to the area over the weekend.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Evalyn Johnson, of Thatcher, does her best to knock the cats off the fence.

“We had a huge turnout (for breakfast), probably twice as many as I expected,” Lewis said. “The Easter egg hunt went great. We had 4,000 Easter eggs and it looked like they got mowed out pretty quick . . .”

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Sean Lewis, left, and Dennis Lines, prepare themselves for the rodeo.