I Love Easter And Fundraising Bunny Hops, Too!
If you Google Image “Easter Basket Costumes,” I’m in the third festive photo that hops across your screen.
For Mardi Gras 2012 my handmade Carnival costumes featured plastic Easter eggs, Easter candy, pastel garlands, flowers and faux spring grass, butterflies, ribbons, bows and miniature disco balls. I topped it all off with a heavenly straw basket hat filled with stylish Styrofoam eggs and tiny plush bunnies and carrots that I miraculously balanced on my head all day long.
The epiphany? Easter’s not even my holiday. But, from a young age, I’ve been obsessed with Easter. Not so much the religious aspects, even though the resurrection of Jesus Christ is indisputably a fascinating facet of Christianity, but I’m shamelessly in it for the baskets, bonnets and bounty.
My Mom thought I was bonkers when I begged her to buy me Easter baskets at Woolworths when I was just a wee tot sitting in her shopping cart. And at 15-years-old, my adolescent peeps and I dressed up in our Easter best (robin’s egg blue suit, straw floral hat, white lace gloves) and milled around the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Midtown Manhattan praying for Easter Mass to end. Gospel truth? We only wanted to sashay behind the fashionable Upper East Side society ladies on their six block pilgrimage to The Plaza Hotel and watch them claim the reservations they made a year in advance to hold court at The Palm Court for their moveable feasts.
As an adult in New Orleans my passion for Easter has grown eggs-ponentially. I’ve faithfully enjoyed Easter Sunday brunches at Galatoire’s, had the holy honor of riding in The Historic French Quarter Easter Parade, passing the sidewalk congregation dyed and decorated Easter eggs from a horse drawn carriage, and I’ve risen to the occasion wearing more than my fair share of fabulous frilly Easter bonnets that would have put Judy Garland to shame in the 1948 MGM classic “Easter Parade.”
When I heard about New Orleans’ latest addition to the stable of Easter celebrations this Lenten season, I had to hop on board.
The first annual Bunny Hops is an adult only (21-years-old and older) event that takes place Saturday, April 20, the day before Easter Sunday, in New Orleans City Park’s Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
There will be an adult Easter Egg Hunt in Storyland at 8:45 p.m., with prizes including City Park event tickets, candy and alcoholic beverages; a Best Bunny Ears Costume Contest, where participants are encouraged to wear their best, wildest or worst bunny ears to vie for first, second and third place prizes; and open beer bars serving Urban South Brewery’s Paradise Park, Michelob and other spring varieties. Food will include fried catfish, fries and Jell-O shots.
Bunny Hops celebrants may bring one sacrificial bottle of wine or sacred bottle of champagne per person and can check in with a Wine Concierge who will pour your libations as the night goes on. No coolers or other outside beverages will be allowed.
And revelers can ride on the Bumper Cars, Carousel, Coney Tower, Ferris Wheel, Fun Slide, Ladybug Roller Coaster, Miniature Train, Musik Express, Scrambler, Slime Buckets, Tilt-A-Whirl and the Wacky Shack amusement park rides while jamming to the beats of a local DJ.
“We are excited to bring a new event to the City Park spring calendar,” said Amanda Frentz, New Orleans City Park’s public relations director. “All events are considered fundraisers for the park as the park must raise 90 percent of its budget. When a person buys a ticket to an event like Bunny Hops, that money goes directly into the operations of the park.”
New Orleans City Park can’t afford to put all its eggs in one basket, since it only receives approximately $2 million each year from the state for capital projects, and no general fund operating dollars from the state or the city. So, self-generated revenue, from events like Bunny Hops, is the savior for the 1,300 acres of parkland and its $19.5 million annual operating budget.
“We are close to selling out, so we encourage everyone to purchase their Bunny Hops tickets soon so they don’t miss an opportunity to party,” said Frentz.