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Easter egg hunt draws 1,000 kids to Northgate
Jorden Hill checks out the new bicycle that she won during the raffle portion of the festivities. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
Raymond Deaver was all smiles as he pressed his face against the chain link fence of the Northgate Softball Complex with his Easter basket in tow.

Off in the distance, the bright colors of the Easter eggs – scattered earlier in the morning by members of the Manteca Noon Kiwanis – were all young Raymond could focus on while he waited patiently with his parents for their first chance to take part in an annual event that has been drawing Manteca families together for more than a decade.

The sheer magnitude of the event was enough to impress even Raymond’s parents – first-time participants that had been recruited by a family member that has brought along relatives for years and relishes the look on the faces of the young children as they scurry about the outfield of the respective softball diamonds.

“It’s nice to have the community get together for something like this, and on such a beautiful day we’re just glad to all be out here as a family,” said father Brian Deaver. “This is one of those events that helps make Manteca special.”

Organized every year by the Noon Kiwanis – this time with partnership from Food-4-Less, Costco, Casino Real, Manteca Bowl and Family Fun Center and Raley’s – the event draws over 1,000 children ranging from those barely old enough to walk to those smart enough to devise an attack plan on how to get the most eggs in such a short amount of time.

According to Ben Cantu of the Noon Kiwanis, it takes several hours to place all of the eggs on the fields, and several more hours to stuff each and every one of the plastic eggs – a far cry from the multiple days that the hardboiled variety used to take.

In a nutshell, it’s a lot of work so that families like the Chacons can have a day where they can take their son for first ever Easter egg hunt with both kids his age and members of the community he will grow up in.

“It’s his first Easter, and we thought that it would be a good chance to come out here and take advantage of this nice day and meet some people along the way,” Juan Chacon said. “It’s the perfect chance to get the family together and get outside of the house.”