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‘It was like locusts’: Parents turn Connecticut Easter egg hunt into a ‘mess’

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Posted at 2:46 PM, Mar 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-27 16:48:12-04

CONNECTICUT — An Easter egg hunt in Connecticut turned into a shoving match Saturday and ended with broken baskets and children in tears.

And, as WFSB’s Marc Robbins reports, it’s the adults who could use a “time out.”

The field adjacent to the Pez Visitor Center was the site of the holiday Easter egg hunt, which was free to the public.

Throughout the week leading up to it, it was attracting a lot of attention on the Pez Facebook page. Photos from the event show a massive crowd building.

The event was supposed to unfold in three stages, each belonging to a different age group with the youngest group going first and the oldest group, 12 year olds, slated to go last.

But parents didn’t pay much attention to procedure. In fact, reports say a lot of adults didn’t stand still.

“When it came time for like 10:30, like the parents just bum-rushed that area,” Parent Nicole Welch said.

Shawn Peterson, Pez General Manager, said they tried to stop that rush.

“So we started talking to folks and, ‘Hey, you know this is supposed to start at a directed time that we’ve posted. Let’s wait, we’ll give a whistle, we’ll give the signal to start this.’ And that lasted about a minute. And then folks just rushed the field and took everything.”

Welch said it was an upsetting experience for her child.

“When my son left he had a broken basket and was hysterically crying,” she said.

Peterson and his staff tried to regain order, but things quickly spiraled out of control.

“It was like locusts,” he said. “Everybody just descended and then left.”

It left Pez with a lot of disappointed children. The company then put a back-up plan into motion, giving out free stuff.

But for many, the lines were too long and the mood wasn’t right.

“It’s unfortunate people left disappointed,” Peterson said. “And that’s certainly never the goal that that is. Just, you know, it’s supposed to be a fun, free activity and we did our best and unfortunately fell a little short.”

There were no reports of any injuries. Police did not respond to the event, but they did speak with Pez company officials afterward.