The Easter bunny made an extra special appearance for the children in the South Jersey area this holiday weekend by kicking off its annual egg hunt by skydiving out of a plane.
A video posted by NJ.com, the local news and tourist information channel for New Jersey, catalogs the bunny’s entire experience from take-off to drop. This isn’t the first time the Easter bunny has hopped out of a plane, either–Skydive Cross Keys holds the Easter egg hung hunt and skydiving Easter bunny every year at the Cross Keys Airport.
The bunny lands in a field in view of the children and kicks off the annual Easter egg hunt, where over 12,000 eggs are hidden across the landing area for children to hunt. In the video, you can see the moment the Easter bunny touches ground, the children start running.
The Easter bunny is, of course, available for photos after he lands safely back on earth.
— Bumper DeJesus (@bumperdejesus) April 15, 2017
It’s a new twist on the old Easter bunny and egg hunt tradition that most are familiar with, enhanced with the new tradition of skydiving. Skydive Cross Keys has been hosting the event for years, but they don’t have the only skydiving Easter bunny in America.
An Easter bunny in the Calallen neighborhood of Corpus Christi, Texas hopped out of a plane during the Church of Hope’s annual Easter egg hunt and celebration this year, too. Everything is bigger in Texas, so this event had a whopping 50,000 eggs hidden in the helicopter landing field for the children to hunt. Mysterious prized golden eggs were hidden among them, and Pastor Rod Young said that he loves to see the children’s palpable excitement and anticipation as they experience the Easter festivities.
The Texas celebration might be bigger, but Skydive Cross Keys has the honor of being the first to feature a skydiving Easter bunny as part of their town’s celebrations. According to their website, no one remembers when Easter bunnies first started skydiving out of planes at Cross Keys, but the tradition has now been going on for years.
The Easter bunny jumps in tandem, meaning with his harness attached to an experienced instructor, and once the plane climbs to 5,500 feet and the pair are in a good position to stick their landing, they parachute out of the plane.
This year, instructor Brian took the bunny (Sarah) on her jump while fellow skydiver Matt captured the photo and video. Over 1,000 people attended the Easter egg hunt and featured bunny skydive.
Like many larger Easter egg hunts, the field was divided into three zones to give kids a chance at a real competitive egg hunt against their peers. Toddlers and young ones could take their time exploring the field and stumbling across eggs, while older children had to run wild and search for elusive and well-hidden eggs.
Over 30 volunteers helped organize and host the event, from the skydiving Easter bunny, to egg-hiders, to staff on their day off. Skydive Cross Keys says that after another successful Easter bunny skydive, they have every intention of holding the event again next year.
Everyone left happy with a full basket and possibly a photo-op with the skydiving Easter bunny. Time says that Americans spend upwards of $17 billion on Easter related products, and about $2.5 of that is just on candy. Although chocolate sales were expected to fall due to concerns about childhood obesity, they have actually risen considerably in the past few years. In fact, dark chocolate is a healthy alternative with studied health benefits.
Of course, Easter has an origin as a religious holiday, but it goes without saying that plenty of secular people celebrate Easter as well. In Texas, Pastor Rob Young’s event is open to everyone. The skydiving Easter bunny doesn’t discriminate based on religious orientation and brings the joy of Easter to all children.
[Featured Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]