Finally, the days are getting longer, and warmer and spring flowers are making their appearance. Throughout Carroll County’s history, the celebration of Easter has had an emphasis on the religious aspects of the holiday. Childhood thoughts of Easter in Carroll County, however, are full of memories of community Easter egg hunts.
This year, the annual Easter egg hunt sponsored by the City of Westminster will feature “20,000 treat-filled eggs” and take place on April 1 at the 187-acre Wakefield Valley Park at 1000 Fenby Farm Road. According to the Westminster website, the “Egg-Citing Bunny Trail and Egg Hunt features children’s activities and crafts as well as a traditional egg hunt for ages 1-4 at 10:30 am and ages 5-8 at 11:30 am.”
Seventy-five years ago, the Venture Club of Westminster sponsored the annual event on Easter Sunday on the Westminster Playground. An article in the Democratic Advocate on March 26, 1948, detailed a planned concert by the Westminster Municipal Band, an invocation by Father William T. McCrory, assistant pastor of St. John Catholic Church, and that City Councilman J. Albert Mitten would be master of ceremonies.
The following year, the newspaper reported, “About 800 children enjoyed the second annual Easter egg hunt at the playground Sunday afternoon. … A concert was presented by the William F. Myers Sons band and was enjoyed by the throng.
For a change of pace this year, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on April 8, Westminster-based rapper Billy Lyve (given name Billy Dee Williams) the founder of Find Your Purpose Inc., CEO of Wisdom Court Entertainment, and owner of Wisdom Court Studios, is hosting “The Find Your Purpose Inc 17th Annual Easter Egg Hunt and Music Festival at City Park!” – dubbed by many to be the Westminster hip hop egg hunt.
In a recent Facebook post Lyve reported that he was looking for 5,000 eggs for this year’s hunt.
On March 14, Lyve was the featured speaker at the Circle of Caring meeting at Explorations Commons at the Westminster branch of the Carroll County Public Library. In his presentation, Lyve reviewed many of the Find Your Purpose programs: Dining Etiquette Program with Rock Salt, monthly roller skating events, and the Easter egg hunt.
Last year, on Sept. 21, 2022, Lyve and Find Your Purpose received the Rising Star award at the Community Foundation of Carroll County 14th annual Philanthropists of the Year ceremonies. This award, “recognizes a fund of the Community Foundation that is within its first two years of service, is making a significant impact in the community, and has exceeded early expectations.”
Find Your Purpose is a nonprofit program based in downtown Westminster whose mission is to elevate and empower individuals of all ages through mentorship, experiential learning, and entrepreneurship opportunities. The program maintains meeting space and a recording studio partnered as a fund of the Community Foundation of Carroll County.
Lyve is an award-winning artist and promoter, entrepreneur, event planner, booking agent, and philanthropist. He grew up in hip hop – his brothers used to blast Run-DMC and LL Cool J tracks as long as he can remember.
“Music is all I ever knew, and it’s all I ever wanted to do,” Lyve said. “I later moved to Carroll County and … continued on my mission.”
In a recent interview with Community Foundation Program Director Melody Schudel, Lyve was asked about his Easter egg hunts.
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“I was sitting one day thinking … and I was like, ‘Why don’t we do an Easter egg hunt?’ I was still in my twenties when I did my first one,” he said. “We did it again, and every single year it got bigger and bigger and bigger. Last year, we had like over 500 people show up. This year, actually today, I got … all my permits … approved so we got the entire city park, all the fields, all the pavilions, everything because it’s going to be that many people is going to show up.
“A lot of the local businesses have stepped up to be involved. Rock Salt, Ting and the Carroll Arts Council all signed on as my main sponsors. And then… multiple companies up and down Main Street.”
Schudel asked, “What does it feel like to have support from people you don’t really know?”
“It feels wonderful,” Lyve said. “When I started I had my friends like my little crew, but when you grew up [folks go their] separate ways. If you stay stuck in that little … support group and you never try to reach for more, those people are going to fade away, and you’re not going to have anybody.”
It appears that on April 8, Lyve will be surrounded by hundreds of new friends and supporters. Lyve will be changing lives one Easter egg at a time to the beat of hip hop music.
Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster. His Time Flies column appears every Sunday. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.