Owen Wersocki of York Township, then 5 years old, pulls an egg out of a mixture of strong coffee and vinegar with help from his mother, Melizza, at a
Owen Wersocki of York Township, then 5 years old, pulls an egg out of a mixture of strong coffee and vinegar with help from his mother, Melizza, at a program on natural egg dyes in March 2010 at Richard M. Nixon County Park. The park is offering the program again this Friday. To register, call 717-428-1961. (Submitted)
There's a new Easter bunny in town who apparently prefers natural, homemade gifts to plastic grass and department-store candy.

And that's good news for those in York County who plan to in corporate a healthier, organic approach to their traditional holi day activities.

“We really focus on the changing of seasons, the coming of spring,” said Heather Klinefelter. She owns York-based Growing Up Green, which sells natural products for kids from newborn to teens.

She reuses the same Easter bas kets each year for her sons, 6 and 3 years old, and uses natural materials such as wool or shredded card board for bedding in the baskets she fills with hand made gifts and chocolates.

“I'm always careful to buy lo cally made candy,” she said.

She also dec orates a small table at home with seasonal items her children find outside.

“It's nice for the kids to use pocket junk,” she said.

The table will take on an Easter feel and include toy bunnies, puppets and natural items such as pebbles, sticks and flowers that her boys collect.

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Fairy gardens that incorporate tiny decorative creatures such as rabbits with live plants are popular for Easter this year, said Judy Bono. She owns The Gardener of the Owl Valley in Hellam Township.

Master Gardener Bono teaches folks how to make the minia ture landscapes.

“They're very sweet,” she said of the garden settings that tell a story or feature a little town. “They're really hot right now.”

She plans to lead a class on fairy garden construction at the Pennsylvania Herb & Garden Festival at the York Expo Center next month. Participants will receive a kit, lesson and complete a fairy garden to take home, she said.

Natural egg dye is also popular this year.

Richard M. Nixon County Park in Springfield Township will teach folks how to use ingredients such as onion skins, coffee and blueber ries to color eggs.

Julie Flinch baugh of Flinch baugh's Orchard & Farm Market in Hellam Township said she and her family use items such as chili powder, turmeric and grape juice to color eggs.

“We have a little bit of a competition as to who can get the most creative with those simple dyes with designs and pat terns,” she said via email.

 

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Macklin's Café in York Township will bake special Easter cupcakes for the upcoming holiday.

The shop expects to be busy with pre-Easter orders, said Meghan Smith, director of marketing.

“We customize the icings for Easter with pastel icings, jelly beans, coconut,” she said.

The shop also leads tours and events, including an Easter- themed cupcake-decorating lesson for kids.

“We just started getting into the tours last fall,” Smith said, adding Macklin's now hosts about five tours per month. “They are a huge hit with families and kids.”

 

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Kool-Aid Tie-Dye Easter Eggs

Mix contents of two same-flavor packs of Kool-Aid with two tablespoons of water in a roughly eight-ounce container.

Spoon the mixture on wet, cooked eggs to create a tie-dye pattern. Poor a little water over the egg to set the color.

Learn more at www.kraftrecipes.com.

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What are your traditions?

“Our family tradition has always been to have everyone over for a family dinner of baked ham, mashed potatoes, buttered corn and love.”

— Ron Jacobs, co-owner and manager at JRs Fries At Central Market in York

“We usually have an Easter egg hunt at our house for our grand kids from Hellam and from Mercersburg. Although they are all getting older, they still enjoy having it. We use the plastic eggs and fill them with candy and coins — usually the gold dollar coins in at least one egg for each of them with their name on the egg.”

— Joe Barron III, former director of safety and security at Memorial Hospital

“My children got elves for Christmas . . . For Easter this year we are giving the children magic jelly beans. They are going to plant them, and when they wake up on Easter they will have grown into flower- shaped lollipops.

— Nicole Pauling, co-owner of Atomic Bounce in York.

Pauling said her family donates food to their church, Unitarian Uni versalist Congregation of York, which holds an annual Easter canned goods drive for folks in need.

 

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Easter events

NEW COVENANT COMMUNITY CHURCH, 284 Slab Road, Delta, will host a free children's Easter egg hunt from 10 a.m. to noon Friday. For details, visit www.nccchurch.com.

RICHARD M. NIXON COUNTY PARK, 5922 Nixon Drive, Springfield Township, will teach folks to use ingredients such as blueberries and onion skins to dye Easter eggs naturally from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Friday. Children younger than 16 must be accompanied by an adult. The event costs $2 per person. To register, call 717-428-1961.

THE SPCA OF YORK COUNTY, 3159 Susquehan na Trail North, Manchester Township, will take pet photos with the Easter bunny from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Photos cost $5. Learn more at www.ycspca.org.

PROSPECT UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, 8 Orchard Road, Fawn Town ship, will host an Easter egg hunt at 10 a.m. Saturday. For details, call 717-382-9538.

VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS POST 7012 in New Freedom will host an Easter egg hunt for children 10 and younger at 10 a.m. Saturday at New Freedom Commu nity Grounds, 150 E. Main St., New Free dom. The event will be held rain or shine.

FAWN GROVE CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE, 5300 Fawn Grove Road, Pylesville, Md., will host its annual Easter egg hunt for children 11 and younger at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Lunch will be served and the event will be held rain or shine. For details, call 410-452-5330.

TRAIL CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE, 16535 Susquehanna Trail South, New Freedom, will host a free Easter egg hung and picnic from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the picnic with free food. Kids up to 12 years old are invited to bring a basket to col lect candy- and prize-filled eggs. For details, call 717-235-2514 or visit www.trailnaz.org.

OTTERBEIN UNITED METHODIST CHURCH OF SPRY, 50 School St., York Township, will host an Easter Egg Extravaganza for children and their families at 2 p.m. Saturday. For details, call 717-741-1429.

CHRIST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, 5 Main St., Yorkana, will host an Easter egg hunt for children in sixth grade and younger at 10 a.m. Saturday.

FRIENDSHIP COMMUNITY CHURCH, 3380 Fox Run Road, Dover Township, will host a public Easter egg hunt at 10 a.m. Saturday. The event will include games, crafts, face-painting and more. For details, call 717-779-0400 or visit www.FriendshipCommunity.org

THE YORK NEW SALEM LIONS CLUB will host an egg hunt for children up to 10 years old at 10 a.m. Saturday at New Salem Elementary School . For details, call 717-792-1207.

PARADISE LUTHERAN CHURCH, 3241 Church Road, Thomasville, Paradise Township, will host a community Easter event for children in sixth grade and younger from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Sat urday. The event will include egg coloring, lunch, a craft, games, egg hunts and a visit from the Easter bunny. Each child should bring a dozen white, hard-boiled eggs to color, and each child may make a craft to take home. There will be separate egg hunts for pre schoolers and elementary-age children. Registration is required. Call 717-259-9547 or email paradise.lutheran@verizon.net by today with the number of children and adults who will be attending.

FAITH KIDZ will hold an Easter breakfast from 7 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday at St. John's Blymire's United Church of Christ. Tickets are $7.50 for adults and $5 for children 6 to 12 years old, and can be purchased by calling 717-244-0655.