Military families are encouraged to welcome spring at the 11th annual Spring Easter Fest from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Apache Arts and Crafts Center. The fest will include two bouncy inflatables for the kids, sidewalk chalk drawings and more.

Monty Campbell, public relations coordinator for Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreaton, said the event will be inside the center and outside, weather dependent. Admission is free, though there are costs associated with some of the activities.

There will be a piñata popping every half-hour for a total of 12 piñatas, each filled with candy. Vendors will sell hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, soft drinks and water outside.

The Easter bunny will be on-hand throughout the day and will pose for photos with children. The photo sessions cost $8 for one photo and $15 for two. Getting pictures taken with the Easter bunny qualifies kids to win a basket full of goodies in a drawing.

Campbell said the popular spring fest began as a way to give something back to soldiers and their families. “We just want to take them away from the daily grind for a while to enjoy some quality family time and have fun in the process,” Campbell said.

Barbara Newberry, manager for the Apache Arts and Crafts Center, said the piñata popping idea started three years ago and has worked much better than a traditional Easter egg hunt, which often allows bigger kids to find the majority of the treats.

“If we had an Easter egg hunt at 11 a.m., by 11:05, it would be over,” she said. “This way, throughout the whole day we end up with all the kids who want to participate getting candy.” She advised children to bring a container to hold candy.

Other activities include face painting, making “wax hand” sculptures and painting ceramic eggs and animals. The cost of painting small figures ranges between $1 and $4 while larger pieces are around $10, Newberry said.

Ceramic painting has been a favorite activity since Apache’s first spring fest and has become a tradition for some families, Newberry said. “The whole idea behind this is that anybody who brought a child 11 years ago when their kids were tiny should have a whole basket-full of ceramic pieces … that’s what this is all about — mom ends up with a basket of memories.”

The Apache Arts and Crafts Center is in Building 2337, at 761st Tank Battalion and 62nd Street.

I am an Army wife and mother of two boys...we currently are assigned to Fort Hood.

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