A cacophony of beeps bounced off the floors and walls of the cavernous auditorium. Children of all ages and abilities scrambled around listening intently for beeps that would lead them to brightly colored eggs. When they found an egg, they added it to the growing collection in their baskets.
It was the fifth annual Spring Egg Hunt at Perkins, which took place March 28. The beeping eggs gave children who are blind or visually impaired a chance to participate in a popular springtime tradition with new friends, as well as their sighted siblings.
“Today is the greatest day ever,” said Jayla, 4, from Southborough as she clutched a beeping egg decorated with a festive design. “It’s the Perkins egg hunt!”
Normally an outdoor event, unseasonable weather – stinging snow and whipping wind – brought the egg hunt inside for the first time. Close to 200 people from around Massachusetts crowded into the Lower School’s auditorium to search for the colorful prizes.
The eggs were hidden on floors, in corners, on tables and on window sills. Each plastic egg contained a battery-operated noisemaker that emitted a high-pitched chirping sound. After the mad dash for eggs, children could trade the beeping eggs for candy.
Samantha, 9, a student in Perkins’ Deafblind Program, was out of her wheelchair and on the floor. Finding an egg small enough to fit in her hand, Samantha giggled as she turned the beeping noise off and on.
“I like that she can explore and find the eggs on her own,” said her mother, Marie Aviza of Marlborough. “This is something just Samantha and I can do together. We don’t have that usually. It feels good.”
Tiffany Lund of Natick said she brought her son, Morty, 5, to the egg hunt so he won’t have to compete against children who have vision. Sighted siblings can participate in Perkins’ egg hunt, but they have the option of wearing a blindfold to experience hunting by auditory cues.
“You go to other egg hunts, he gets near an egg and someone else swoops in and grabs it,” she said. “This is his fourth year (at the Spring Egg Hunt) and he loves it!”
Before the egg hunt, families met in a common room for snacks and spring-themed crafts.
Holly Day came all the way from Chicopee so daughter Bailey, 3, could be around other children with visual impairments. Surrounded by new friends, Bailey diligently glued pompoms and decals onto egg-shaped paper.
Bailey couldn’t wait for the day of the egg hunt to arrive, said Day. In the weeks leading up to it, “she kept asking, ‘When are we going?’”
Perkins co-hosted the Spring Egg Hunt with the Massachusetts Association for Parents of the Visually Impaired (MAPVI), which provides inclusive social events, support and friendship to families of children who are blind or visually impaired.
The egg hunt was sponsored by the Saint Lucy Society, a Catholic organization founded by Italian immigrants in Boston’s North End that is named after the patron saint of eyesight, with additional support from Encore Apparel Co.’s R.O.C.K. Foundation.