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Hundreds brave rain for Million Egg Hunt

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OH HAPPY DAY: A girl collects Easter eggs in the rain in thespecial needs section during New Life Community Church's Million Egg Hunt on Saturday morning. The church has hosted the event at Marion High School, sponsored by Mike Anderson Dodge and the City of Marion,in allweather for 13 years. Hundredsof people attend every year. Over 40,000 eggs are spread across Dick Lootens Stadium, with one egg in each age section containing the "million dollar bill" that signifies a grand prize bicycle winner.
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GETTING CREATIVE: Several parents at the Million Egg Hunt on Saturday morning flipped their umbrellas upside down to use as makeshift egg baskets for their children. Over 40,000 eggs were collectedby hundreds of children in the rain.
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THE FUN CONTINUES: A child in the 2- to 4-year-old section scoops Easter eggs off the Dick Lootens Stadium field at the 13th annual Million Egg Hunt.
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RACE TO THE FINISH: A young girl runs to collect Easter eggs at the Million Egg Hunt on Saturday morning. Hundreds of children braved the cold rain to gather candy and have a chance at winning a bike.

BY Emily Rachelle Russell - erussell@chronicle-tribune.com

When it comes to kids with candy, neither snow nor rain can stop them.

Hundreds of children and their parents gathered in pouring rain Saturday morning to take part in the 13th annual Million Egg Hunt, hosted at Marion High School by New Life Community Church.

The Dick Lootens Stadium field was separated into three age sections and one special needs section, with one “million dollar bill” egg hidden in each. The children who found the million dollar eggs in their age categories each won a bicycle.

Other prizes like Easter baskets were also given away at the start of the event. All prizes and giveaways were donated by community members, most of them New Life church members.

“We’ve had people coming for years and years,” said Shami Grieve, wife of New Life’s Senior Pastor David Grieve. “They can win baskets and bikes, and it’s just a good family event.”

Marion’s Million Egg Hunt began when the Grieves moved to town from Las Vegas. They had attended a similar event in Las Vegas and decided it would be fun to start one in the Grant County community. The first Marion Million Egg Hunt drew over 1,000 people.

In years past, the event has always been chilly, with the stadium bleachers blocking the rising sun from warming the field. Egg hunt volunteers and attendees have braved snow and wind before, but Shami Grieve called this year’s pouring rain the worst weather day in the event's 13 years.

Usually, the children sort through their eggs at the end of the hunt, hoping to find the million dollar bill. This year, event volunteers were stationed at each section to watch the winning egg and notify the child, so families wouldn’t be stuck sorting eggs in the cold rain.

Despite the weather, church volunteers arrived at 8 a.m. to set up over 40,000 eggs, and hundreds of community members came to participate in the Easter fun.

“We want to love on our community with great value, and so why not do something around the time that we were loved with great value by Jesus, who died on the cross and rose from the grave?” said David Grieve. “The symbolic nature and the tie-in is so beautiful, to say, ‘he did this for us, what can we do for our community?’ Even with this crazy weather, Jesus did something crazier.”

The Grieves and New Life Community Church look forward to hosting the Million Egg Hunt for many years to come, though they plan to make adjustments for any future bad weather forecasts.

For more information on the church, visit their website at www.newlifecc.us.