Wooden Easter eggs a community hit in Pratt

Jennifer Stultz
The first place decorated egg in Market 54's first-ever Easter egg hunt was created by Pamela Hensley. Other participants in the contest, photographed and sent in votes for their top selections.

More than 130 Pratt artists jumped at the opportunity to put their creative talents to good use last week when Karin Koehn of Market 54 proposed a decorated Easter egg hunt on her store's Facebook page.

"I've always loved the annual Easter egg hunts in town and when I realized that wasn't going to happen this year I wanted to do something that kids, and families, could enjoy safely," Koehn said. "I talked it over with my husband and the idea just grew from there. He volunteered to cut out these large wooden eggs and when I proposed it on Facebook people just went crazy with it."

Koehn said she and husband Jeff thought they might be lucky to get 15 to 30 participants to buy the 22-inch wooden eggs and then decorate them, but they had to cut the sign-up period off when they got to over 130 eggs.

"A lot of people got really excited about this," she said. "We limited participants to the city limits of Pratt, and these eggs literally went out to all neighborhoods and areas. It was really amazing!"

Koehn said she saw parts of Pratt she didn’t even know existed when she and her husband delivered the more than 130 wooden eggs, with matching wooden stakes, that had been reserved by Pratt participants.

“It was a great way to get to know the community, for us, and for the participants who then looked for the decorated eggs,” Koehn said.

The contestants decorated their eggs with few limitations, except that they had to have them staked out in their front yards by the end of Good Friday, April 10. Artists of all ages, families and individuals participated.

There were two contests associated with the Market 54 Decorated Easter Egg project.

"The first contest was for whomever found the most decorated eggs in town," Koehn said. "Only those who signed up and paid the $10 for their egg and the contest could participate in each contest. In the first one, they had to go around and write down the addresses of every egg location they could find in Pratt City limits. Then they had to text their lists to me so I could verify that those were indeed the correct addresses."

Koehn said the second contest was also only for those who entered decorated eggs. It involved taking pictures and posting their favorite eggs onto her Market 54 Facebook page.

All of the contests took place on Saturday, April 11, and by the time all the address lists and favorite photos were tallied, clear winners emerged.

"First I want to say thank you all so much for participating in our first Easter event," Koehn said, in her Facebook winners release post. "You all made it so much fun and made it a successful event ... There are so many talented, creative people in Pratt it would have been too hard for me to vote."

The winner of finding the most registered contest eggs went to Cassie Phye, whom Koehn said listed 132 egg addresses. First place in the best-decorated category went to Pam Hensley, who created a feathered chick coming out of a blue shell. Second place was won by Britt Oller, who decorated her wooden egg with an Armenian-lace style design, adding intricate patterns and colored jewels.

Koehn said additional sponsors who donated some supplies and awards for the contest were Mead Lumber, Pratt, and Home Lumber, Greensburg. Good Ancestors Design donated the second place prize, while Market 54 furnished the first-place prizes.

"It was so much fun I am thinking of doing something similar for May Day, with a theme related to that holiday," Koehn said.

Most of the large wooden eggs remain in place in Pratt neighborhoods. Koehn said artists from the Sawyer area were allowed to bring their eggs into Pratt to place in family yards, and some from Kiowa County picked up egg-entries just because they also wanted to paint and get in on the fun. However, since it was a Pratt contest, only eggs in Pratt city limits were considered for the judging portion of the event.