An Easter egg hunt turned ugly in Orange, Connecticut when some of the parents ignored the instructions about participating in the hunt in a safe manner. The annual event was held at the PEZ visitors center, where there were about 1,000 people who arrived to participate. The hunt was to take place over three fields with more than 9,000 eggs hidden, and participants organized into different age groups with staggered start times.
Witnesses say some parents stormed the first field before PEZ staff had a chance to officially begin the egg hunt. Others ignored staff instructions to wait their turn. According to People, witnesses also reported trampling, stolen eggs and broken Easter baskets as a result of the pandemonium.
— WAFF 48 (@waff48) March 27, 2016
PEZ General Manager Shawn Peterson told WFSB-TV, “Folks just rushed the field and took everything.”
The company said they weren’t prepared for the large number of families who came to participate in the egg hunt, which “far exceeded anything they could have possibly planned for.”
While many who commented on PEZ’s Facebook page were supportive of the company, blaming the parents who didn’t listen and stormed the field, others were angry with PEZ for holding a “disorganized” event.
PEZ released an official statement about the disastrous Easter egg hunt on their Facebook page, apologizing for the chaos and stating they tried to pass out candy and coupons to make sure everyone got some candy before they left.
“Unfortunately people chose to enter the first field prior to anyone from PEZ staff starting the activity. The crowd moved to the second field, waited for only a couple of minutes and proceeded to rush the field without being directed to do so and before the posted start time.
Due to the actions of a few, the good intent quickly turned into a mess. I would like to sincerely apologize to each of our guests, this was not something created to frustrate or make people angry.”
Some parents blamed other parents for not listening to the instructions, while other parents blamed PEZ for holding a “disorganized” event. Some of the comments on Facebook thanked the company for doing its best in a situation that quickly got out of control. There were parents whose children were crying after their eggs were either taken from them or they were left taking home broken Easter baskets.
“When my son left, he had a broken basket and was hysterically crying,” one mom said, according to WFSB-TV. She also said children were trampled.
Pez Candy forced to cancel Easter egg hunt due to unruly parents https://t.co/bVbG3NO89E
— Globalnews.ca (@globalnews) March 27, 2016
According to the Hartford Courant, John Walters wrote the Easter egg hunt is “an extremely nice thing to do however, it was completely unorganized, times posted were not kept, parents took from small children. I feel this needs to be addressed by management to the employees left in charge.”
Also according to the Hartford Courant, Susan Kristie Nandori DeRosa wrote on Facebook harshly about the event.
“This event was a joke to put it mildly. We have a 3- year-old. The parents first of all were letting their uncontrolled children pick up eggs prior to the start. Then when the event started all the parents rushed in and [were] picking up the eggs.”
PEZ General Manager Shawn Peterson said of the debacle, “I take this personally. I don’t want this to be a reflection of the brand. It was a fun thing up until this point.”
No injuries were reported, and no arrests were made.
What do you think of the Easter egg hunt turning ugly? Should the event continue next year?
[Image via Twitter]