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ROLESVILLE — The Easter Bunny hopped through Rolesville neighborhoods Saturday.
The Rolesville Egg Rush was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the town's Parks and Recreation Department still wanted to bring joy to families, according to director J.G. Ferguson.
"We wanted to offer something where we stayed within the guidelines of the county and the state, but bring something positive and give kids something to look forward to," he said. "We want to put smiles on kids' faces. That's what we're here for."
The Easter Bunny danced in the back of a town pickup while families watched from driveways and vehicles.
"We tried to get to as many subdivisions as possible. The route covers the majority of the subdivisions towards Main Street," Ferguson said. "We'd love to go to every street and hit every neighborhood, but three hours is a long time, and we have to think about the safety of our volunteers."
Several citizens, both young and old, lined the roads for an opportunity to dance with the Easter Bunny. Mechia Cowperthwait, 9, and her dad, Daniel, appreciated the chance to dance with the Easter Bunny while keeping a safe distance.
“It was great because if I didn’t get to see him today there would be no Easter Bunny this year,” she said.
Daniel appreciated that Rolesville was trying to keep things as normal as possible while keeping everyone safe.
“She got to go outside in an area that was low risk,” he said. “She got to watch the Easter Bunny and do a little bit of dancing with them. It helps us remember a small slice of life as we knew it.”
Parks and recreation departments across the state are having to be creative to find ways to engage citizens while also observing social distancing, Ferguson said.
"We can't do the same stuff we've always done," Ferguson said. "We miss that public engagement, but we're still trying to put smiles on people's faces from a distance."
He hoped people enjoy the opportunity to be outside while doing something outside the norm. He also wants citizens to realize the town and its employees truly care about them.
"We're here for them and will do anything we can to bring them a smile," Ferguson said.
In addition to the Bunny Hop, Parks and Rec has also put up a background with the Easter Bunny, so families can edit themselves into the picture.
"For a lot of families, this is the first time their young children haven't had the opportunity to get their pictures made with the bunny. We wanted to give them that option while observing social distancing," Ferguson said.
The backdrops and other virtual programming can be found online at http://www.rolesvillenc.gov/parks-recreation/virtual-programming.
"We've been trying to push our virtual programming. There's links to arts and crafts and at home athletic resources," Ferguson said. "We want people who do (virtual programming) to take pictures and tag us in it. ... We want to hear what's working, and we want to hear what they'd like us to research and add to that list."