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Grace Community's Easter event in Lower Burrell is very popular, and it's getting bigger

The Grace Community Presbyterian Church in Lower Burrell has discovered the secret to attracting a large crowd to its yearly children's Easter event - giving away free candy.

The Grace Community Presbyterian Church in Lower Burrell has found the key to attracting a large crowd to its yearly children's Easter event – offering free candy.

Large groups of families came to the social hall and sanctuary on Grant Street on Saturday for craft activities, healthy snacks, tattoos, and, of course, the Easter Bunny.

Reed Briscoe, 7, from Allegheny Township, said, “I’m searching for the eggs with jelly beans inside. They're the best.”

Bill Ludwig, the Director of Christian Education, mentioned that this event could be the most attended since it started five years ago.

“We've almost doubled in attendance every year,” he said, pointing out that the first event had about 30 children. Last year, over 100 kids came.

“This is an excellent way to connect with the community and demonstrate that we are actively involved and alive.”

The free event attracted families from Kiski Township to Harrison, and everywhere in between.

Children received a passport to visit four Easter-themed stations where they could decorate eggs, do scratch-off Neon art, choose sparkly tattoos, and listen to a story. Upstairs in the sanctuary, they hunted for candy-filled eggs hidden in pews and behind prayer books.

Juliet Rolniak, 7, from Lower Burrell, aimed for M&Ms and filled her basket with them.

Ariah Farabaugh, 8, said she enjoyed everything.

Her mom, Janet, mentioned that they hadn’t planned to attend but noticed the sign while driving by.

“I’m happy we came,” she said. “It's a really nice activity for the kids.”

Ceridwen Spiker, whose dad is the church organist, brings her four children every year.

“It's enjoyable and safe,” she said.

Ludwig said the church has become known for its community involvement. Apart from the Easter event, they also organize a Christmas party and a Vacation Bible School. Additionally, they send volunteers to Knead Café in New Kensington twice a month and pack shoe boxes with gifts every winter to be sent around the world for Operation Christmas Child.

“We have a new pastor and we are returning to the attendance levels before the pandemic,” said Ludwig, from Allegheny Township.

“We want to support the community in whatever way we can.”

Longtime member Glenn Nordmark, 95, volunteers at every event. On Saturday, he was checking for filled passports before letting the kids see the Easter Bunny.

It’s a responsibility he takes seriously — sort of.

“Sometimes, I let some kids sneak in,” he said. “Especially the little ones.”

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