Harrison County

After massive turnout, egg drop a hard-boiled lesson learned

Nobody expected the huge crowd that showed up for Sunday's Easter Egg Drop from a helicopter hovering above MGM Park, and nobody knows if the event will be tried again next year.

Comments posted on the city's Facebook page following the event called it "the most disorganized chaos I've ever seen," although others were more diplomatic saying, "It was really cool to see the helicopter drop the eggs."

Organizers planned the free event for months, said Kay Miller, executive director of Main Street Biloxi.

The egg drop was postponed a day due to weather. People started showing up at 10:30 a.m. Sunday for the event that started at noon for the youngest children. Two additional egg drops -- with 4,000 eggs per group -- were scheduled for older children.

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"They thought 12,000 eggs was going to be enough. It was nowhere near enough," said Vincent Creel, Biloxi's public affairs manager.

Instead of the 1,500 people who typically show up for the city's egg hunt, the crowd swelled to an estimated 4,000 to 5,000. Only kids were supposed to go out on the field, but parents ran past them, grabbing for eggs that had prize vouchers inside.

Although some kids didn't get any eggs, the biggest complaint from parents was they couldn't find their children amid the rush to collect eggs. One child managed to get outside the stadium. Biloxi Police found the tot 5 minutes after he was reported missing. He was drawn to an inflatable set-up near the stadium, Creel said.

About 200 people posted messages on the city's Facebook page and Creel said, "If do this type of event again certainly we will heed the comments that were made."

Councilwoman Dixie Newman said Monday that when it's a free event, "You can't control how many people come out."

She learned lessons last Halloween when far more people than expected arrived for the costume party at Hiller Park. With so many people, volunteers couldn't find her in the crowd and she said, "Things just got chaotic."

Additional security was in place for Sunday's Easter egg hunt held at Hiller Park after the egg drop in downtown Biloxi. A smaller than normal crowd of 500 attended and she said, "We didn't have any problems."

Easter hunts cam be especially chaotic, she said. "That's why we don't allow adults out on the field."

Instead volunteers supervise the children while parents walk along barricades and "Everyone can see the kids," she said. She's already planning ahead for this year's Halloween party, They may shuttle people in from nearby parking areas she said, "And hopefully we'll have more volunteers."

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