Candy Race snowed out

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Nearly 100 children showed up at City Park ready to scavenge through a layer of snow for candy Saturday morning. They settled for a handful from the Easter Bunny.

"The past two years, we've been snowed out," said Craig Lion's Club Secretary Al Shepherd of the annual Easter Candy Race.

Typically, the event, which is in its 35th year, attracts about 500 youngsters lined behind ropes waiting for the signal to grab as much of the 200 pounds of candy as they can.

"It takes us 45 minutes to put the candy out (on the grass)," Shepherd said. "When you call for the ropes to be lifted, it's over in two minutes."

He said that scouring the ground afterward doesn't do him much good. He usually can't find more than one or two pieces for himself.

But because the snow kept children off the grass, and many at home, plenty of candy could be shared. The Easter Bunny, played by Anna Adams, met with children and passed out basketfuls of treats.

"There are more photo ops for parents this way," Shepherd said.

Some children seemed equally excited about getting to snatch some sweets.

"It's mine! All mine!" one shouted.

Shepherd, who has been in the club since the event started in 1970, said he likes bringing that joy to youths. It is programs such as this that epitomize what the Lion's Club is all about.

Started in Craig in 1921, the club emphasizes community service projects and encourages good eyesight.

Members sponsor children's eye screenings and the 9 Health Fair, which is from 8 a.m. to noon April 16 at Sunset Elementary School. Locally, the Lions Club has 26 members, but it's the largest organization internationally.

Shepherd has some memories from his time in the club, including a minstrel show put on by the Craig and Steamboat Springs' group.

He vividly recalls when the Lions used to throw turkeys and chickens off buildings downtown before Thanksgiving to crowds of people waiting in the streets.

Shepherd, just a young child then, got his hands on a turkey but had it stolen away by two older men.

He laughs when he recalls the memory, not so much when he talks of why he has stayed in Lions Club for three and a half decades. He wants to be of service to his community.

It's events such as the candy race that remind President Ada McArthur remember why she joined the club.

She loves to see joy in others, she said.

"I had to come in for a minute because I had tears in my eyes," McArthur said Saturday. "Just to see the looks on the youngsters' faces."

The Lions Club meets at the Veterans of Foreign Wars at noon every Tuesday.

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031 or mperry@craigdaily-press.com.

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