DATELINE: LANARK STREET
A local church’s Easter egg hunt ended in tears after a controversial ruling resulted in the disqualification of the winner and the revocation of first prize.
Our Lady of the Vacant Retail Space held its popular ‘Easter Egg Safari” in Lanark Park, after services at 1:00 p.m. Easter Sunday.
|Lanark Park, the Recreation Center so sublime they made it rhyme, was the site of a major
Easter egg hunt controversy today, as well as some barbecues and soccer games. File photo.
The search for the colorful, plastic eggs filled with candy, coins and small toys has been an annual Easter festivity held by the parish since 2003 and is anxiously anticipated by many of the congregation’s younger children.
|Andrej Ciernik of Northgate
Avenue. Photo: Ellen Ciernik.
Following a lively event lasting over ten minutes and with nearly a dozen participants, at approximately 1:12 p.m. today, Andrej Ciernik, 5, was declared the winner of the Easter egg hunt, with a grand total of twenty-seven, and was awarded the grand prize, a $5 gift card for Arby’s.
But Jeanette Ulichny, who organizes the event for the church, thought something smelled rotten.
“We had eleven little boys and girls participate this year. I hid a total of sixty eggs. Most of the other children found around four or five eggs each. The math just didn’t add up,” said Ulichny.
That’s when little Andrej was called back for a recount.
“I was astonished,” the church's Sunday school director said. “Most of what he had in his basket wasn’t even eggs!”
As to how the mixup could have occured, Ulichny notes that “parents are on their honor to count the eggs their children find and give me an accurate number. And not stash a bunch of extra stuff in the baskets so their child can win.”
“Just a minute!” countered an angry Martin Cierknik, Andrej’s father. “He found all these things himself. I just presumed they were all part of the Easter egg hunt.”
“Your child wandered off way beyond the parameters I set up for the hunt. He was picking things up all the way over there by the skatepark,” Ulichny responded.
|Closeup of the controversial Easter basket. "Some of them smell funny," said a sobbing Andrej
Ciernik, before becoming distracted and picking up a small blue baggie of dog doo. Staff photo.
When asked why hadn’t she called him back since she'd noticed him out of the egg hunt boundaries, Mrs. Ulichny said that "it was not [her] job to babysit the participating children," but merely to "make sure the contest was run fairly."
Andrej tearfully surrendered his prize and it was awarded to the next runner-up, Beth Ulichny, 14, who finished with a total of six eggs.