NORWAY – Despite a nippy breeze, Main Street was a surreal and happenin’ place on Saturday morning during the second annual Norway Easter Fest.
On the Norway Memorial Library side stood a tall white Easter Bunny, sporting paint-splattered cap and overalls. It waved gleefully beside a garish, magenta-colored Healthy Oxford Hills skunk named Samantha.
Standing silently opposite them and the car-lined street, was a trio of war protesters bearing signs.
Parked adjacent to these black-clad adults, two Norway police officers sat in cruisers soon after the 10 a.m. Easter festivities began. A third policeman walked the sidewalk.
But, it was the furry duo who garnered all the honks, waves, smiles, laughter, and loads of excited children and adults of all ages.
“Hi, Easter Bunny! Hi, Easter Bunny!” yelled sweater-clad Kieran Luff, 3, of Norway, as he excitedly tugged on the hand of dad, Tim Luff, whose other hand pushed a stroller containing Shayne Luff, Kieran’s 9-month-old brother.
Kieran “high-fived” the rabbit, then headed into the library with dad and brother to begin the Main Street Egg Hunt.
That journey was launched to get people into businesses, so they could realize what Main Street has to offer, Norway Recreation Department Director and event co-organizer Deb Partridge said on Saturday.
Participants walk a mile up and down Main Street, stopping at 20 businesses to search for hidden, foot-tall, colorfully painted flat wooden eggs.
Those finding the eggs and returning to the library to turn in their search sheets, were each given a dozen white eggs.
About 300 children and adults from 87 families participated in the two-hour hunt and event, which also included a business-window decorating contest, crafts, stories, games, and healthy snacks.
“This is awesome!” Partridge said of the turnout. Last year’s event drew 54 participants. That’s why they only had 75 dozen cartons of eggs to give out.
“It’s so great! The kids were so excited! Fantastic! Fantastic!” she added.
At the gift shop Maine Made and Moore, manager Melinda Edwards and clerk Amber Wakeman greeted children while wearing pink-and-white bunny ear headbands.
“We’ve been getting a lot of oohs and ahhs. Young children look at us like we’re something out of a fairy tale,” Edwards said.
Several other businesses were packed with people, as was the Second Congregational Church, which held its own plastic-egg hunt for children and hosted the festival’s games, offering face-painting, food, candy and toys as prizes.
Watching her 8-year-old daughter, Ashley, get an Easter egg and bunny painted on her face, Donna Wentworth of Oxford said they both enjoyed the event. The family, who move to Oxford in 1991 from Saco, just bought a house in Norway.
“This was a great thing for the kids to do, and something great for the town to do for children,” Donna Wentworth said.