AUGUSTA — When it comes to holidays, the Harakall family is prepared for nearly everything.

St. Patrick’s Day? They set leprechaun traps. Halloween? They know the good neighborhoods.

For Saturday’s Easter egg hunt in Augusta, Ashlyn, 9 and Mason, 6, came with bags to carry all the eggs they collected from a patch in Mill Park and take home their haul of candy.

But they could have used an extra layer or two and hats or hoods to warm them against the chilly wind that blew down the Kennebec River as they waited their turn for a crack at the eggs.

The egg hunt, organized by associates at UScellular, offered scores of children in five age classes from toddlers to tweens a chance to grab all the candy-filled plastic eggs they could. Hidden in one egg in each age class was a ticket to win a treat-filled Easter basket. They also had a chance to get a photo with the Easter bunny.

While Mason and Ashlyn waited for their age groups, John and Maryann Harakall scoped out the field, marked off in plastic flagging, for any sign that might indicate which plastic egg might hold the winning ticket.


Every year, the Harakalls make the rounds of the egg hunts, a tradition that carries over from John’s childhood in Augusta, when he took part in a citywide Easter scavenger hunt that netted him a fishing pole.

From the sidelines, Maryann Harakall tossed out advice to the kids — her own and others — to help them scoop up more eggs, shouting out to one boy to set down his basket to use both hands to grab eggs, and suggesting to another to use his hood to carry eggs when he’d crammed his pockets full.

“We’re competitive,” she said.

For the two-hour event, UScellular associates spent eight hours over two days stuffing about 7,000 pieces of candy into plastic eggs and piling them up in bins for distribution. Saturday’s event drew volunteers from outlets in both Waterville and Augusta to scatter the eggs and collect the shells at the end.

With only one age class to go, two prize baskets were left on the table to be claimed; no one claimed the basket for the toddlers in the first round. Megan Knowles, of UScellular, said that basket will be held at the UScellular outlet at the Marketplace at Augusta.

In the end, neither Ashlynn nor Mason found the egg that would give them the prize basket for their age group. But they did not go home empty-handed, as each had a pile of candy.

And it’s not the end of the Easter festivities for the family, which will continue Sunday.

“We have some more fun stuff planned for tomorrow,” Maryann Harakall said. “More family-related stuff.”

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