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Sweets in the sun

The Jellybean Jamboree officially welcomes spring, but for the kids it's a time of candy, fun, and a big, cuddly bunny.

By MICHELLE JONES

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 8, 2001


photo
[Times photo: Janel Schroeder-Norton]
Four-year-old Nicole Carroll hops her way to the finish line in the relay race at Saturday's Jellybean Jamboree.
LAND O'LAKES -Joe Gross brought his 3-year-old daughter Molly and his 14-month-old son Sam to the Jellybean Jamboree Saturday.

"This is great. It's our first time," he said. "We've been to the Flapjack Festival and that is always fun. But this is great for the children."

Held at the Land O'Lakes Community Center on U.S. 41, the jamboree was geared for children up to age 12. Sponsored by the Pasco County Parks and Recreation Department and the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce, the event officially welcomed spring with a hip, hop and a hug from the Easter Bunny.

"This is fun," said Molly Gross as she ventured a guess at the number of jelly beans in a jar. The correct number would win an Easter basket for the child with the best guess. Molly guessed 595.

Land O'Lakes honorary mayor Roz Brown was handing out coloring sheets and writing children's guesses on sheets of paper.

In addition to all the games and free prizes, the children had an opportunity to vote for their favorite Easter basket color.

Louise Carpenter of the elections office was showing children how to vote.

"We are making sure their vote counts," she said. "No hanging chads."

The Easter Bunny indicated his favorite color was yellow as he pointed to a section of a coloring box. He didn't speak -- he just gave hugs and waved.

Green won over pink by one point.

Alexis Paris, 13, a seventh-grader at Pine View Middle School, was helping with the duck pond game, one of several games including a bounce race and Hula Hoop contest.

"I like kids, and it is fun being here," she said as she handed out a prize. "Plus, it is better than housework."

Kristin Jones, 7, got a string of beads for her prize.

"I'm going to play all the games," she said.

Hot dogs, soda and popcorn were also free for both the children and adults.

A big circle with numbered pads kept kids walking in circles trying to win a cupcake in the cakewalk game.

Blake Carroll, 2, finally won one after walking around the circle eight times.

"He finally just stood on a number and made everyone walk around him," said Joan Carroll, his grandmother from New York.

She came down to visit her new grandson, Bryce, and her other grandchildren, Blake and 4-year-old Nicole."

Carroll said they didn't have anything like the jamboree in New York.

"This is great, wonderful for the family," she said.

Brittani Pate, 9, stood in line waiting to have a butterfly painted on her face.

"I like the games. I'm glad I came," she said.

She came with her 8-year-old sister Tiffani from Brandon.

"We are face stamping, not painting," said Carolyn Anderson of the Lutz-Land O'Lakes Woman's Club, who was assisting with the event. "We are artistically challenged."

The Easter egg scramble ended the morning festivities with children in different age categories hunting eggs for candy and prizes.

"This has been a success," said Valerie Miller, chairwoman of the event. "A major success."

Children who won prizes for the jelly-bean count and coloring contest included Lori Dunlop, Hannah Wilson, Brian McKeffrey, Angelica Daughty, Mariah LeBrun and Melanie Wang.

- Michelle Jones covers central Pasco community news. She can be reached at (813) 226-3459. Her e-mail address is jones@sptimes.com.

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