On the word "go" Saturday morning, parents and children surged forward, an unstoppable tide as they grabbed as many of the 3,000 eggs scattered around the grounds of Bel Air's Rockfield Manor as they could.
The manor's annual Easter Egg Hunt, which benefits the Rockfield Foundation, was over in minutes as children eagerly grabbed the eggs filled with prizes such as erasers and temporary tattoos.
About 100 families participated.
Children – the boys dressed in T-shirts and shorts and the girls in spring dresses – smiled and laughed as they snatched the pastel-colored eggs and their parents snapped photos.
A few children were crying – possibly because they didn't get a chance to grab as many eggs as other children.
The Easter Egg Hunt took place during a sunny morning with temperatures in the 60s, a great break for Harford County residents who have been through a winter filled with snow and cold temperatures.
Winter was a distant memory, as flower beds on the manor grounds were starting to bloom and some trees were beginning to flower.
Many eggs laid on the bright green grass in plain sight. Jennifer Dombeck, the manor's director and operations manager, said later that many eggs were in plain sight for the younger children while other eggs were more carefully hidden to create a "challenge" for the older children.
"I liked picking up the eggs, because there's things in them," 6-year-old Kali Marsalek, of Bel Air, said when asked about her favorite part of the egg hunt.
Kali and her 5-year-old sister, Gemma, picked up as many eggs as they could – Kali filled her bucket beyond its capacity and Gemma "was almost there," according to their mother.
"I think they made the most of their minutes out there," Heather Marsalek said as she sat with her girls on the manor grounds after the hunt.
Marsalek said she was glad to see "rings and bracelets and little tattoos" in the eggs instead of candy.
"They get enough candy for Easter," she said.
Dombeck said no candy had been put in any eggs, which were provided by the nonprofit organization Sunny Bunny Easter Eggs.
"We decided to do the toys because it's something that everybody can enjoy," she explained.
Roxie Jakubowski, 5, of Bel Air, described the egg hunt as "awesome."
"We had a great time running, watching the kids and finding the Easter eggs," her mother, Cassandra, said.
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Mary and Joe Keleman, of Bel Air, walked along Route 22 (Churchville Road) after the hunt, holding their 2-year-old daughter, Anna, and her Easter basket, which had a handful of eggs in it.
"She likes the toys inside," Joe Keleman said.
Dombeck said the proceeds from the Easter Egg Hunt benefit the Rockfield Foundation, which promotes and oversees operations at the manor house.
The house, a historic property, was built in 1921 and the grounds cover 51 acres along Route 22 on the eastern edge of Bel Air.
The egg hunt is one of the Rockfield Foundation's largest fundraisers, along with its annual wine festival, Dombeck said.
The hunt was held in conjunction with the Town of Bel Air's annual Kite Day Festival, which took place next door at Rockfield Park. Many egg hunt participants also visited the kite festival.
"It's a nice event that kind of piggybacks on the kite festival, and all the children love it, and it's over in about three minutes," Dombeck said.