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Following the little white rabbit

Braelyn, a 2-year-old resident of San Dimas whose parents would not give her last name, participated in the Toddler Section of the Spring Egg Hunt at the annual San Dimas Family Festival on March 31 at San Dimas Civic Center Park. Along with the egg hunt, participants visited Critter Corner and vendor booths as well as enjoyed a bounce house, face painting, cultural history and the Sonrise Christian Steel Band. The Easter Bunny also made an appearance. / photo by Christian Uriarte

Alex Forbess
Staff Writer

Holding their ground at the starting line, participants looked at their competition, trying to find their weakness.

When the official came, wearing a fluffy white coat and long ears, they were given the signal to grab their baskets and collect the eggs.

The Spring Egg Hunt started the San Dimas Family Festival with a bang as families gathered at San Dimas Civic Center Park to celebrate the occasion Saturday.

Recreational coordinator LaToyia Ward and the parks and recreation department made sure the festival fulfilled its objective to connect the community with friendly activities.

“We wanted to provide a family event for the city of San Dimas,” Ward said. “This is a great way for people to meet who are new to the community.”

As parents bought hot cocoa, they let their children have the time of their lives, whether it was jumping in the bounce house or petting animals at the Critter Corner.

One look at a child smiling as she cradled a baby chick in the Critter Corner makes this trip memorable.

“I bring my kids here and let them try something new,” Lala Owens, a mother of two children, said. “This is just great family time.”

From children laughing with the Easter Bunny to parents getting their faces painted, there was never a dull moment.

Recreational leader Paolo Kespladit said they change things every year to get people excited throughout the day, especially the live performances that were presented in the courtyard.

The opening performance, the Sonrise Christian Steel Band, had the audience bobbing their heads and cheering as they played reggae versions of popular tunes, including the “Super Mario Brothers” theme.

Scott Smith, the steel band’s drum instructor, appreciated the feedback his students were receiving.

“It was a lot of fun,” Smith said. “It was great for them to set the vibe for the day.”

While enjoying the entertainment, families strolled through the parking lot to see the various vendors, who were selling arts and crafts or promoting their business.

Roberta Falter, a volunteer for the La Verne and San Dimas Meals on Wheels, said this festival is perfect to gain recruits for her organization.

“This festival also acts as a connector, where we introduce the community to the businesses and nonprofit organizations,” Ward said.

Families were also treated to San Dimas’ rich history of being the original site of the Tongva village of Kwenangna Paringa, one many pre-Columbian tribes that inhabited once southern California.

Each artifact displayed at the Community Building gave the spectators an opportunity to experience how the Tongva village prospered, such as entertaining children with a duck made out of straw and creating authentic baskets.

“Knowing part of our past is who we are,” tribal elder Mark Acuña said. “When people connect with the past, they will be able to connect the world.”

Unfortunately, the festival ended sooner than scheduled due to the cold temperature, which meant people were not able to participate in the final event, the Stay Fit San Dimas Fitness Rally.

Regardless, Kespladit believed everyone had a wonderful time and cannot wait for the event to take place next year.

Alex Forbess can be reached at alex.forbess@laverne.edu.

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