The Berks-Mont News (

Eggstravaganza takes over Berks Heritage Center

By Mary Himmelberger, For 21st Century Media

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Seventy degrees and sunshine welcomed hundreds of families to the Berks County Parks & Recreation’s Eggstravaganza event at the bucolic and historic property of the county’s Heritage Center. For three hours on Saturday, families enjoyed free children’s activities and entertainment that were as much a celebration as spring’s arrival as the upcoming Easter holiday.

Droves of people filed onto the heritage center property as the sun peaked at noon; they were welcomed first by chickens, a bunny, a skunk and goats for the kids to enjoy – from the Appalachian Petting Farm. Behind that, a long line of eager children waited in line for pony rides from K&B Stables.

Many families rushed to get in the front of the line entering the Hiester Canal Center. A building that holds artifacts from the canal’s past was the temporary home for the Easter Bunny and eager kids for three hours. Children left with a treat from their visit.

In the lower level of the canal center barn was an egg workshop for the children; they entered to choose a small container of colored grass and three eggs. Ahead of them, there were stations for different colored eggs. The volunteers stood behind tables of cartons of eggs piled high, and a basin of dye to dip the eggs in.

In an effort to spare parents of a mess child, they would hand in one white egg and get a colored one in return. Once they had three colored eggs, the waited in line at the sponge painting table where they could add their original details to their nest of eggs. The atmosphere was easily compared to Santa’s Workshop during the holiday; but instead of toys, it was an egg decorating factory.

Behind the egg factory, the Reading Juggling Club entertained the crowds that were getting their faces painted or waiting by the food stand. Wertz’s Covered Bridge stood in the distance; several families walked down to the water and trail to enjoy the weather. A drawing was held several times throughout the day to win a chocolate bunny.

Two tents were set up adjacent to the canal center. One housed exploration activities: a bubble bucket, a floating orange experiment, and a dyed celery experiment – to name a few. The other was a craft and activity tent. Children could make silly monsters with Popsicle sticks, yarns, and eyes. They dipped paper flowers into birdseed for a hanging craft. The next station they planted seeds in cups to take home and watch grow.

Families left smiling as they passed the Heritage Center’s Distlefink – a PA German folk art bird, wishing happiness and luck to visitors.

“Go Fly a Kite Day” is the next Berks County Parks and Recreation Department’s event, scheduled for Sunday, April 27 from noon to 5 p.m. at the Youth Recreation Facility in Bern Township. This 27 year tradition features kite flying, kite making, and kite contests – a celebration of National Kite Month.

The County department is responsible for providing recreational opportunities as well as addressing the interpretive and educational needs of the county’s parks, facilities, and historic sites.