At the Bucs Easter Egg Hunt, sponsored by University Community Health, (from left) Jerry Wunsch, Shelton Quarles and Todd Yoder met a lot of young fans
Easter Sunday came early for the more than 2,500 boys and girls that participated in the "Bucs Easter Egg Hunt" on Sunday, March 24.
The Egg Hunt, which was sponsored by University Community Health, featured activities and events for children of all ages, plus a chance to meet the Easter Bunny and Buccaneers players.
At the University Community Health Eggstravaganza Tent, kids had the opportunity to get their fingers casted, create a picture frame out of tongue depressors, have their blood pressure checked, play Operation and get their picture taken with LB Shelton Quarles, T Jerry Wunsch and TE Todd Yoder.
Other events included the three-legged race, scrubs race, egg-in-spoon race and potato sack race. The kids weren't the only ones who enjoyed the round of races, as Wunsch admitted to getting caught up in the festivities.
"I had a great time, it was a lot of fun," said Wunsch, who brought his wife and kids, as well as some other friends and family members. "My favorite was watching the kids get their legs tied together for the three-legged race. They were falling all over the place and it was hilarious."
In addition to the races, kids had the chance to decorate their Easter baskets and create their own bunny masks out of paper plates. S Dexter Jackson and RB Aaron Stecker were the assistants at the bunny mask booth.
"I had a lot of fun," said Stecker. "Any time I get the chance to work with the kids in the community, I do. It was a good opportunity to mingle with the fans and talk to the kids. I also made four bunny masks today and I ended up giving all of them away."
On the upper concourse of the stadium, the Buccaneers and University Community Health provided face painters, balloon twisters, mimes and caricaturists.
"I like the guys who don't talk," said 5 year-old mime fan Ashley Mason, who had an Easter Bunny painted on her left cheek.
While the races, face painting and arts and crafts were a big draw for the Buccaneers, the event also featured the Buccaneers Gatorade Junior Training Camp, a hula hoop contest and a live petting zoo including goats and rabbits.
Even with all these events, the big draws of the day were the free pictures with the Easter Bunny, the Egg Hunt and the Q&A session with the Buccaneers players.
From the beginning the Easter Bunny was popular with the families.
"Our kids were really excited to get photos with the Easter Bunny," said James Emerson, as his daughter, Shelly, 6, and son, Mark, 4, nodded their heads in agreement. "They had a great time with the other events, but the Easter Bunny was the main attraction for us."
The Egg Hunts, which were hosted at 2:00 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., were also a favorite for a lot of the kids.
"The egg hunt was cool," said 10-year-old Jessica Olms. "I got a bunch of cool prizes and candy."
After the final Egg Hunt of the day the Buccaneers players moved to their pirate ship float in the end zone to answer some questions from the fans. The questions covered a wide variety of topics, from tips to making it in the NFL to whether any of the Bucs also played soccer.
"We got some really good questions during the Q&A," said Yoder. "It was a good opportunity for us to get out and meet some of our younger fans and talk with the kids."
As the event wound down and the families headed home with eggs in their baskets and smiles on the faces, Jackson captured the essence of the event for all of those who participated.
"It was great to come out here and interact with the kids," said Jackson. "It's a way for us to show that we try and support our fans as much as they support us. We thank everybody for coming out and making this event a great success and hopefully next year we can make it even an bigger success."