Angel Peterchev and his family celebrate Orthodox Easter traditions every year. They dye and paint hardboiled eggs, then participate in “egg-cracking contests,” where one person slams their egg into the other person’s egg, in an attempt to split the shell. They eat challah bread with raisins and roasted lamb.
On Saturday, Peterchev and his family celebrated an early start to their Easter traditions in the grass at Duke’s East Campus, where Peterchev’s two children hunted for plastic eggs full of 3 Musketeers chocolate or little plastic parachute toys. Two-year-old Zara and 4-year-old Anya wore wide-brimmed Easter hats at the annual Duke East Campus Egg Hunt.
“We walked here with a lot of friends from the neighborhood,” Peterchev’s wife, Kate Layman, said. They live in Durham’s Trinity Park neighborhood, and Peterchev is an associate professor at the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences.
“That’s why we like living here, a sense of community and things to do with other people,” Peterchev added about the Egg Hunt.
Dozens of families headed out to the Duke East Campus Egg Hunt this year, where more than 2,500 eggs were hidden in the lawn. The community event is organized every year by the Trinity Park Neighborhood Association and the Duke Office of Durham and Regional Affairs, and neighbors who live near Duke East Campus and Duke employees and their families are invited to participate.
On Saturday morning, children grabbed markers and lined up to decorate big paper eggs with hand-drawn rainbows, bright-yellow suns and flowers. Duke students with Alpha Phi sorority volunteered to run the crafts table and a “Pin the Tail on the Bunny” game.
Carly Mirabile, a Duke religious studies junior and Alpha Phi sorority member, said while growing up in Oklahoma City, she and her family used to participate in an egg hunt in the park behind their church.
“I grew up celebrating Easter kind of hardcore,” Mirabile said. “My family always had the Easter Bunny come, and they hid eggs the night before (Easter).”
During the East Campus Egg Hunt, Mirabile jumped back and forth between high-fiving children playing the “Pin the Tail on the Bunny” game, and watching children decorate paper eggs with colorful markers.
“Honestly, I love it,” Mirabile added. “Everyone is being so creative.”
In the East Campus field, the Easter Bunny waved at children carrying their baskets. Matthew Yearout, a Trinity Park neighbor and member of the Durham County Beekeepers Association, brought an enclosed beehive to show to community members. At another nearby table, Alpha Phi members were selling raffle tickets for Easter basket and chocolate bunny giveaways. The raffle that morning raised a total of $261 for Duke Children’s Hospital.
This was the first year that April Henry, a resident of Durham’s Watts Hospital-Hillandale neighborhood and an instructor in the Duke Germanic Languages and Literature Department, attended the egg hunt with her two sons, 4-year-old Archer Henry-Gottschalk and 6-year-old Felix Henry-Gottschalk.
While coloring a paper egg, Archer wore a Star Wars Yoda Easter basket upside-down on his head.
“I’m having fun with the Easter Bunny,” Archer said. At the same table, his older brother, Felix, drew blue lines on his egg and wrote “Nies Estr Hunt” (Nice Easter Hunt).
“I didn’t know they were going to do all of these crafts,” April Henry said about their first time at the East Campus Egg Hunt. “Durham is just a wonderful place to meet up with a bunch of people.”