Legion Auxiliary's long-running Easter event heading indoors this year


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CHAMPAIGN — Sunday might not be that old Easter tradition, but it won't ruin the afternoon by any means.

The tradition for untold years was a giggly hunt for eggs in the grass, sponsored by the American Legion Post 559 Women's Auxiliary.

But Auxiliary President Lourie Epps of Urbana said the "unpredictable weather lately" is moving Easter inside the post this year, as happened last year.

Beginning at 2 p.m. this year, post members will be giving away Easter baskets — stuffed with every kind of goody — to the first 50 children 10 or younger at the post, 708 N. Hickory St.

The top item for Coryiana Kelly? "Stuffed animals. Teddy bears. I got one last year," said the 7-year-old who attends Yankee Ridge Elementary School in Urbana.

Her 6-year-old brother, Cobey, is not picky at all: "I like all the goodies."

They both went last year and will make a return trip Sunday.

The post's Easter egg tradition goes back so far it seems timeless.

"We've been doing it as long as I can remember," Epps said. "I'm 56, and I loved it. I remember doing it at the first post building on Fifth Street, across from Douglass Park."

The adults get a kick out of the kids' reaction, she said.

"Everyone's happy; all the kids are so thrilled," Epps said. "The men and women of the post bring all their kids. But anyone and everyone is welcome."

It's worth the trip, but make sure to get there before they run out. The Easter baskets have teddy bears, eggs with candy, chips and cookies and juice. The Champaign Walmart gave the post $1,000 for its children and youth program, Epps said, and this is part of that program.

"We start off each year doing fundraising, raffles, food sales, whatever we can to make things fun for the kids," Epps said.

To preserve the tradition for posterity, the smiling kids will be captured digitally.

"We'll snap pictures for history in the banquet hall," Epps said.

It's not too late to help out. The post and auxiliary will come together at 2 p.m. today to mix and match the baskets, Epps said.


Paul Wood is a reporter at The News-Gazette. His email is pwood@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@pvawood).