The 2012 Great Easter Egg Hunt has come to an end, but not in a way that anyone would have liked.
No one found and returned this year’s prize egg, worth $500, but that isn’t because people were looking in the wrong place.
The egg was hidden at Mud Creek, in a drainage ditch alongside a new bridge where the finished portion of new Route 680 meets the portion still under construction. However, a couple weeks after the egg was hidden, road workers at the site reworked the approach to the bridge, resulting in the egg being buried under several tons of dirt, sandstone and shale.
“In my wildest dreams, I never would have imagined something like this happening,” said Times Editor Ralph B. Davis, who hides the egg and writes the clues for each year’s contest. “I’ve had my eye on that spot ever since last year, because I’m always on the lookout for a good hiding spot. And it was a good spot, until the egg was hidden there.”
As the contest went on and people began to figure out the general area where the egg was hidden, the newspaper began receiving calls about the possibility that the egg had been buried under construction. However, the paper was in an unusual position of being unable to verify the reports.
“We couldn’t exactly go out to the spot, because people would have noticed us there and would have known where we hid it,” Davis said. “If the reports had been wrong, that would have given someone an extremely unfair advantage. And if the reports were right, we still wouldn’t know if someone had found the egg before the hiding spot had been buried, but hadn’t yet brought it in. Of course, most people would bring it in right away if they found it, but one year we did have a winner wait more than a week to turn it in.”
The paper then decided there was only one option: Set a deadline to turn in the egg, and then check the hiding spot after the contest ended.
But just because this year’s egg was lost, that doesn’t mean the matter is settled.
“The Great Easter Egg Hunt is one of the best public participation contests I’ve ever been a part of,” said Joshua Byers, publisher of The Times. “It’s only right to let the public decide what to do in this unique situation.”
Beginning today, The Times will run a poll on its website, asking the public what should be done after this year’s egg was lost. There are three options — Start a new contest immediately, double next year’s prize, or donate money to charity.
The poll will be available on The Times website — www.floydcountytimes.com — beginning today until the end of business next Wednesday. Results will be published online Thursday, May 3, and in the May 4 edition of The Times.
“It is truly regrettable how this year’s contest ended,” Davis said. “No one likes this, especially those of us here at the newspaper. But sometimes things happen that are beyond our control, and we hope to correct the situation by allowing the people to decide what to do next.”