Local groups across the Dallas County area have explored creative ways to engage community members after traditional Easter Egg Hunts were canceled due to COVID-19.

In Minburn, the public library will host an Easter Bunny Parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 11. With the help of the Minburn Fire Department, the Easter Bunny will begin on Baker Street before riding through town and waving to families.

“I was talking with my library board president about what to do since we had to cancel our hunt,” Minburn Public Library Director Nicole Connick said. “The fire truck always brings the bunny to our hunt. So, she asked if they would be willing to drive the bunny around town.”

Connick said that the parade is a way to allow community members to feel like they are a part of something while maintaining social distancing. She also said that the parade is needed now more than ever and is just one of the many things the library does to help hold the community together.

“I could never do it alone. I have a great Library Board President, as well as Trustees that are always helping out with ideas, and great Patrons that love to share thoughts and appreciation for all we do,” Connick said.

As part of the Dallas Center parade on April 11, families are allowed to take a selfie from the curbside while the Easter Bunny remains inside the vehicle. Susan Collins of the Dallas Center Seasonal Fun Committee said that the parade, which begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, is a way to help bring smiles to the community even in spite of COVID-19.

“The annual Easter Egg Hunt is the first community celebration of the year and has been happening for almost 40 years,” Collins said. “With current restrictions on gatherings, it is important our residents are still able to connect and celebrate spring.”

In addition, Dallas Center will host a Visual Easter Egg Hunt starting on April 10 in lieu of the traditional egg hunt which has been canceled. This hunt is a continuation of other virtual scavenger hunts that the town has hosted since the beginning of social distancing. As part of the virtual egg hunt, the committee has asked community members to hang decorations on their windows, doorsteps, or porches for Easter. Participants can then walk or drive around town in search of the decorations as well as post photos to the Seasonal Fun Committee’s Facebook Event Page.

The Waukee Parks and Recreation Department has also joined in organizing a “Social Distancing Egg Hunt” event. Waukee businesses and residents are encouraged to create a big Easter Egg to hang in either their window or door through Sunday, April 12. Participants can then get some fresh air and hunt the eggs, all while keeping a healthy distance from one another.

“I think the most beneficial thing is that it allows us to still connect and interact with the community in a positive way. These types of activities allow everyone a chance to participate and gives them fun things to do during this difficult time,” City of Waukee Recreation Supervisor Jacob Perkins said.

Other community organizations, such as the Grimes Parks and Recreation Department, will host a similar Virtual Easter Egg Hunt through April 12.

The Granger Parks and Recreation Department also hosted a digital coloring contest this week, while the United Methodist Church, Stone Bridge Church and Fire Department came together to host an Easter Bunny drive-by parade on Friday, April 10.

“We wanted to somehow still put smiles on families faces this weekend even with everything that is going on in our world right now,” Stone Bridge Church Lead Pastor Todd Jones said. “Families are encouraged to take pictures as we drive by and still maintain social distancing.”

In the spirit of Easter and social distancing, the De Soto Fire Department will offer a drive-thru Easter basket giveaway at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 11. Each of the roughly 275 baskets will be filled with assorted chocolates, candy, books and toys, all of which was donated by The World Market located in West Des Moines. The Easter Bunny and Marshall the Dalmatian will also make an appearance at the event by helping hand out baskets as attendees drive by.

The Van Meter Department of Public Safety and the De Soto Fire Department are partnering together to host this year’s Easter celebrations.

Those interested in learning about their community’s upcoming parades, virtual Easter Egg Hunts or coloring contests can find more information on each organization’s Facebook page.