Easter parade persists indoors at Mount Airy museum

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Ten-year-old Samantha King put her newly created Easter bonnet to good use at a Mount Airy Museum of Regional History event Saturday, donning it to parade through the museum before flipping it over to collect eggs during a hunt.  Regina King had brought her daughter to the same event years ago, when she still needed help gluing decorations to the hat. “I thought we’d come out for a little mommy-daughter time,” Regina King said. “It’s just a fun way to come out to the museum, especially since it’s dreary out.” The Easter bonnet/hat workshop, parade and hunt are an annual favorite, said Nancy Davis, guest services manager who led the workshop. “We try to do what New York City used to do,” she said.  For more than a 100 years in New York City, portions of Fifth Avenue are closed off for an informal, strolling parade filled with folks dressed fashionably — or outrageously — with elaborate Easter bonnets the featured accessory.  “Traditionally it’s the first sign of spring,” said Amy Snyder, curator.

Davis said the youngsters typically gather at the museum to craft their bonnets then parade up Main Street (Mount Airy’s Fitfth Avenue) to an Easter egg hunt at the Blue House.  “The Easter bunny sits in the gazebo and the children get their pictures made,” Davis said.  This year, the rain drove the parade indoors, where the museum made a cozy (warm, dry) venue.  “They have fun every year,” Davis said of the children. “It’s special for these kids because they wouldn’t typically have an Easter bonnet.”  The group assembled their Easter bonnets in the museum’s second-floor classroom. They could choose from an assortment of hats, from straw fedoras to plastic adventure helmets.  Decorations included flowers and ribbon that typify the New York-esque bonnet but also many kid-friendly options.  “We’ve got sea creatures, dinosaurs, bugs, airplanes,” Davis said. Adults help the children hot glue their chosen decorations to the hats.  “We decorate our hats and then the Easter bunny comes,” said Davis. “The rain said no so we paraded through the museum.”

After the parade the children hunted for eggs in the third floor youth area, finding the ovoid treasures amid the exhibits.  Volunteers from the Woman’s League of Mount Airy provides, fills and hides the eggs for the event.  Near the end of the hunt, museum staffer Crystal Bowman sang a lovely, impromptu rendition of “Eggbert the Easter Egg,” a children’s song she said she learned as a Mount Airy elementary school student.  The Easter bunny danced along with the music before hopping off to its next event.  

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