BY AMANDA WELLS
PHOTOS BY ALAN CREEL
For the last six years, families have flocked to the Mississippi State Capitol to usher in Spring. The annual Egg Hunt has become a family favorite for many. In 2012, Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, his wife Elee, Speaker of the House Philip Gunn and his wife Lisa set out to create a fun, family-friendly event, allowing children and their parents to enjoy the beautiful, historic grounds of the Capitol.
The Mississippi State Capitol, a designated Mississippi Landmark, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It stands as a beautiful centerpiece in downtown Jackson and is located on the site of the old state penitentiary. The “new” Capitol has served as the seat of Mississippi’s government since 1903. The grounds contain one of the 55 replicas of the original Liberty Bell and a Women of the Confederacy monument. The grounds are also graced by an array of towering trees, including Magnolias, Japanese Magnolias and cherry trees, which, along with azaleas, tend to show out for the Easter season.
“The Egg Hunt at the Capitol is such a fun way to celebrate and honor the Senators, Representatives and hard-working staff at the Capitol,” says Elee. “Towards the end of the legislative session, these men and women have worked countless hours away from their families. The Egg Hunt provides them with the opportunity to enjoy the grounds of the Capitol with their children, grandchildren, friends and neighbors.”
Since its inaugural year, the Capitol Egg Hunt has become a favorite, not-to-be-missed annual tradition for many, including the Reeves’ three daughters Tyler (12), Emma (10), and Maddie (5). “Our daughters have gone from hunting eggs to helping hide them,” says Elee. “It’s definitely a fun family event for all ages!”
The event honors the friends and families of the members of the Mississippi Senate, the Mississippi House of Representatives and the Capitol staff. It has brought nearly 500 visitors to the celebrated grounds at a single time. Children (and adults too!) can have their photo made with the Easter Bunny and hunt one of the thousands, yes, thousands, of colorful candy-filled eggs hidden throughout the grounds. Children in attendance have the opportunity to get up close and personal with baby chicks and bunnies and have their faces painted by young ladies that are part of the Teen Miss Mississippi program.
In addition to fun activities, there is no shortage of food and treats. Rebecca Ezell Harrison of Soireé Gifts and Floral provided a perfectly spring menu of festive cupcakes, sugar cookies, iced cookies, Easter pretzels, butter and key lime bites, jelly beans, goldfish crackers and berry lemonade, making every kid’s snacking dreams come true! This year, the tradition will continue on March 25th, as Spring is ushered in on the Capitol grounds.