Hundreds of local kids gathered at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds Saturday, April 3, for the annual Easter Egg Hunt.

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office hosted the event for the first time since 2019, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the 2020 cancellation.

Former Sheriff Norman Fisher started the egg hunt in 1989 when he was Tahlequah police chief. He continued in 2005 after he was elected sheriff.

Jason Chennault took the reins in 2019 as sheriff when Fisher appointed him. But he couldn’t take the risk of anyone getting sick last year.

“This is the 17th year we’ve done it,” said Chennault. “I hated to do [cancel in 2020], but I couldn’t take the chance of exposing grandparents, parents and the kids to the virus.”

The sheriff extended his appreciation to the Bank of Cherokee County for donating several Easter baskets to be given away, and Jacki Christie, from Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary Post 3707, who brought all 397 stuffed eggs.

“I think it was a great turnout for as cold and windy as it was, and we were afraid we wouldn’t have as many show up,” said Chennault.

The age groups for the hunt were: birth to 3 years, 4-7 years, and 8-12 years.

Twenty-five eggs each contained a $1 gold coin, while another 25 contained paper that declared winners for Easter baskets.

Brenda Ramos’ 3-year-old son, Mario, was able to snag an egg as a prize winner. He picked the basket that had a basketball inside.

Dylan Holmes said it was his first time bringing his daughters out to the Easter egg hunt, and he didn’t have any concerns about the large crowd.

Vicki Manasco said she was happy to see the kids and parents enjoy the time spent outside, but she admitted to being a bit worried.

“It was kind of a compacted area for as many kids as there were, but it seems like everyone walked away with something,” she said.

Chennault said four baskets weren’t claimed on Saturday, and those who didn’t claim their prizes can do so at the sheriff’s office.

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