By PETE FONTAINE It's obvious people still love the Easter Bunny, as people of all ages showed up at the Tri-City Elks and enjoyed Saturday's sparkling sunshine during Lodge 14's free and first ever Drive-Up Easter event in Warwick. They came
It’s obvious people still love the Easter Bunny, as people of all ages showed up at the Tri-City Elks and enjoyed Saturday’s sparkling sunshine during Lodge 14’s free and first ever Drive-Up Easter event in Warwick.
They came in cars, trucks, SUVs – and even special vans from three group homes – to see the Easter Bunny as well as take pictures with Joanne “The Bunny” Wilkins and left with super smiles as well as colorful plastic eggs that Tri-City’s unique and all-volunteer “Bunny Brigade” filled full of candy and Lodge 14’s on-going out pouring of love for children.
Wilkens, who was dressed in Lodge 14’s stylish white bunny outfit, was a smash hit in her debut and when asked how she enjoyed her five-hour role as the day’s star, she replied: “I really had lot of fun; I really enjoyed being part of such a special event.”
For four children, namely Arrianna Hoyt, Julia Sedlak, Jackson Mancini and Xander Bonyad, the event was extra special because Lodge 14 held a surprise drawing for two girls’ and two boys’ bicycles they each won after a lottery drawing was haled Sunday and included tickets from all those kids who attended Saturday’s session.
The entire event, which was an off-spring or brainchild of RI State Elks President that featured a similar event starring Santa Claus and his Elves back in December, was supposed to last two days but cut short because of Sunday’s driving rainstorm.
However, it was a classic example of Tri-City’s fun and fellowship that has become Lodge 14’s trademark when it comes to bringing families together at the ever expanding and popular facility located at 19135 West Shore Road in Warwick.
For Lori Amoroso, who coordinated the Drive-Up Easer Bunny Event and the Santa Claus program back in December, Sunday’s rain created somewhat of a disappointment simply because the people who were planning to attend Sunday got left out.
“Oh well,” Amoroso – a.k.a. Lodge 14’s resident bunny before Wilkens donned the sparkling white costume Saturday – sighed while adjusting her bunny ears. “We did what we could and those families that came here were thrilled to have pictures taken with the bunny and their children.”
To which Deborah Mangina, Tri-City’s popular Exalted Ruler, offered: “We were again proud to offer a special free and family event for anyone that wanted to stop by and see our Bunny. Personally, I was impressed with everything that took place and the dedication of our loyal lodge members who once again helped to make our first Easter event and overwhelming success.”
Mangina, who was recently installed for a third straight term as Tri-City’s Exalter Ruler, paused before thanking the many families that took advantage of a unique free children’s event held amid the on-going COVID-19 Pandemic, concluded: “These types of community-oriented events are what we, as Elks, do; It’s part of our credo of Elks Care, Elks Share.”
When asked if there would be another Drive-Up Easter event in 2022, Mangina smiled saying: “Hopefully not; we’d love to get back to normal and be able to host our annual Easter Egg Hunt that in past years has drawn kids by the dozens to our Lodge.”