SHADY COVE — For the first time in a long time, the Easter Bunny didn't march down Highway 62 this year, but children still had a chance at the big Easter Egg Hunt Saturday at Shady Cove Elementary School.

SHADY COVE — For the first time in a long time, the Easter Bunny didn't march down Highway 62 this year, but children still had a chance at the big Easter Egg Hunt Saturday at Shady Cove Elementary School.

Because the parade closes half of the state highway for about a half hour, ODOT requires a fee to provide security for the marchers. After they were unable to raise the necessary funds, parade organizers were forced to cancel the annual strut down the city's main drag.

Usually the long-eared, egg-carrying rodent is on hand to help youngsters find their eggs, but this year was different, and the kids were on their own.

The only person perhaps more disappointed than the kids was the Easter Bunny herself. In Shady Cove the bunny is a she, and her name is Lois Holland.

"I've been the bunny longer than I can even remember," said Holland. "It's really sad we won't be having a parade. It's been our tradition for such a long time."

Holland wasn't able to play Easter Bunny this year; she still has a cast on her arm, the remnants of a recent accident she'd rather not talk about. She only recently returned to her position as president of the Shady Cove City Council.

To make up that void, this year the Masonic Lodge No. 208 held an even bigger and better Easter Egg Hunt for the little ones.

Frank "Medicine Wolf" Springer, past master of the lodge and a self-proclaimed big-time egg cooker, said lodge members kicked it up a notch. Instead of their usual 300 dozen eggs, they cooked up and stashed 500 dozen.

Bill Miller is a freelance writer living in Shady Cove. Reach him at newsmiller@yahoo.com