Last Saturday’s chaotic Easter egg hunt on Capitol Mall has left its organizer, Blue Heart International, with more than egg on its face. It was a vivid and emphatic demonstration of why large events have to be properly managed.
This one wasn’t.
Blue Heart International is a year-old charity devoted to ending human trafficking. The event was intended to break the world’s Easter egg hunt record set in 2007 in Florida, when 501,000 plastic eggs were put out. This event featured a reported 517,000 eggs, but the only record it broke was for incompetence and bad parental behavior.
First, it was thrown together at the last minute, with only two months of planning, which left Guinness World Records officials insufficient time to certify it. Then Blue Heart International failed to produce the 300 volunteers and security apparatus it had promised to help manage the crowd of 20,000.
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Instead, Blue Heart provided exactly one dozen egg organizers, which isn’t even enough to manage some family Easter dinners. Predictably, as the first egg dropped, the crowd surged out of control, with children crying and parents lunging, pushing and shoving.
What should have been a placid event was transformed into a WWE pay-per-view melee – and widely and exponentially broadcast on social media worldwide, mortifying the rest of Sacramento.
Blue Heart International’s Aaron Hutchinson, the event director, said he “envisioned a lot of parents being kind and courteous, which is probably too much to ask, in retrospect.”
No, it isn’t.
An adult ought to know the difference between a kids’ egg hunt and a bar fight. Especially on an Easter and Passover weekend.
Blue Heart International’s two main goals – raising money and setting a world record – blinded the organizers to the realities of handling an event like this. They say they want to do it again next year.
Wow. We don’t – not like this, anyway.
The group shouldn’t get a second chance unless its leaders can prove they have the necessary security to augment the presence of local and state law enforcement. Meanwhile, the parents in attendance should take a moment to contemplate the example they set.
This event was the culmination of a weekend filled with religious observance. Nothing about it justified throwing kids around for the sake of some candy.
“If they would have stood back and let the kiddos do their thing, there wouldn’t have been so much unrest,” Blue Heart’s Hutchinson noted.
Maybe next year’s participants should all be required to attend the sunrise Easter service at McKinley Park first, and contemplate that.