Author: Elizabeth Figueroa, Project Coordinator for Spartan Keyes Festival
Thirty two years ago, the town of Homer, Georgia, won the Guinness Book of World Records for hiding 80,000 eggs for a town of 900 people to hunt. Since then, that record has been broken many times over.
The first annual Spartan Keyes Egg Hunt & Pet Parade has a long way to go to beat that record, but it was quite a successful first attempt. Here’s the story:
Funded with an SAP Grant from Councilmember Peralez’s office, Spartan Keyes Neighborhood Leaders Rita Torres and Carol Valentine propelled the efforts of this community engagement event by hosting planning meetings in their homes (cookies included)!
Soon after, CommUniverCity Intern and SJSU Communications student, Stephanie Suess, hopped on board and applied for a grant from the Awesome Foundation. This awarded the Spartan Keyes Neighborhood Action Coalition with funds necessary to make this event a success.
After weeks of brainstorming, the team collectively agreed upon ‘the big picture:’ The event would be intimate and community oriented – just for Spartan Keyes Neighbors. This included an egg hunt for kids (separated by age group), a pet parade for our pet-loving neighbors, and “special” bubbles, courtesy of Happy Hollow Zoo Puppeteer and Spartan Keyes resident Judy Roberto. Spring-inspired crafts and free raffles also made the list. See slideshow below to see it all in action!
While all of these sounded like great attractions, this wouldn’t be a show without a star to help make this community building event impossible to resist. Enter the Jose’s. Jose Posadas is a resident in Downtown San Jose’s Northside Neighborhood who connected with Rita over the “Bunny”. Jose Roque is an Aerospace Engineering student at SJSU and became the star of the show with a slight nudge from Sarah Rodriguez, another superstar volunteer who is a Child Development Major at SJSU. He became the Bunny. The Bunny that all the kids rushed to once he caught their eyes. The Bunny that posed for endless photos with all the hopeful kids. The Bunny who created a memory for families to ‘show and tell’. See gallery below of some of the memories created with the Bunny.
In total, estimated attendance reached over 100 community members for the first annual Spartan Keyes Egg Hunt & Pet Parade – just enough for our small brigade of 10 volunteers to handle and even join in the fun.
“[The students’] hard work and talents really made the event a success.” -Carol, lead planner from SK Neighborhood
While it is tempting, the Spartan Keyes Neighborhood won’t be angling to beat the Guinness Book of World Records for Largest Egg Hunt anytime soon. However, it also won’t be taking a hiatus since, “It was a joy to see the many children that came enjoying all the activities and all of the parents I spoke to wanted to know if we did it every year.” As with the placemaking efforts of the City of San Jose’s Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services Department, this event is envisioned to be largely community focused where neighbors can meet each other to discuss immediate neighborhood issues and to engage with each other while the kids are in a stampede to snatch the most eggs.