Easter is on April 1 this year and that's no April Fool's Day joke. Here are some area egg hunts, bake sales, religious events and more to get you into a celebratory spirit for the big day.
Saturday, March 17
- Easter 'Eggstravaganza' — 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday, March 17. New Athens Elementary School, 501 Hanft St., New Athens. This event features a rummage sale, egg hunt for ages newborn to 3rd grade at 11 a.m. and petting zoo from 9 to 11 a.m. The Easter Bunny will be available for pictures. Juice and doughnuts will be available for purchase with proceeds going to New Athens After-Prom. This event is sponsored by the Lions Club and New Athens Parent/Teacher Organization.
Saturday, March 24
- 2018 Easter 'Egg-Stravaganza' — Arrive 9:45 a.m. Event 10 a.m. Saturday, March 24. Bellevue Park, 401 Bellevue Park Drive, Belleville. Belleville Parks and Recreation presents its annual egg hunt for ages 1 to 7 years old. The event is free and co-sponsored by the Turkey Hill Grange. The Easter Bunny will be there for photos and it will take place rain or shine. Bring your own basket. Registration is required by Friday, March 23. To register, call 618-277-9785 or go online to www.belleville.net.
- Annual Easter Egg Hunt — Noon Saturday, March 24. Catholic War Veterans, 3535 Route 159, Freeburg. This event, for ages newborn to 12-years-old, will take place rain or shine.
- Volun-Teens U.S.A.: Annual Easter Egg Hunt — 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 24. 423 N. 3rd, Belleville. This free event features an Easter Bunny meet and greet, a teen egg hunt for ages 13 to 17 and a kids' eggs hunt for 1 to 12 year olds. There will also be activity tables, snacks, face painting and giveaways. Volun-Teens is a non-profit volunteer program that utilizes teen volunteers to make a difference in their communities.
- Easter Pound Cake pick up day — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 24. Pentecostals of Troy, 8965 Route 162, Troy. The church is accepting orders for its annual pound cakes until March 18. The egg-shaped and chocolate covered cakes sell for $12 per dozen and $6 per half dozen. To order: call 618-667-6054 or email email@example.com.
- Annual Easter Egg Hunt — 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 24. New Baden Community Park, 1103 E. Hanover St., New Baden. This event is for children up to 2nd grade. The egg hunt will begin promptly at 11 a.m. The event is hosted by the New Baden Lions Club.
- Easter Breakfast and Annual Egg Hunt — Breakfast 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Egg hunt 11 a.m. Saturday, March 24. Cedar Ridge Health and Rehabilitation, 1 Perryman St., Lebanon. The breakfast costs $6 per person. The egg hunt, for children 10 years and younger, will consist of over 20,000 hidden eggs. Information: 618-537-6165.
- Easter Bake Sale and Lunch to Go — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 24. Holy Dormition of the Theotokos Parish, 300 N. 4th St., Benld. The church will have cabbage rolls, cabbage noodles and beef stroganoff dinners for $9. There will also be traditional Easter bread and other baked goods for sale plus frozen ready-to-cook meat-stuffed crepes, pelmenie and perogies. For information or to pre-order, call Debbie Spears, 217-313-6522 or Tatyana Meierkord, 217-720-5099.
- Monroe County EMS: Easter Egg Hunt — 10 a.m. to noon. Saturday, March 24. 901 Illinois Ave., Waterloo. This free event is for ages newborn to 11 years old. The Easter Bunny will be available for pictures. Hotdogs will be served.
- Easter Egg Hunt — 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 24. Crossview Church, 915 E. Highway 50, O'Fallon. This egg hunt is for ages newborn to 10 years old. An egg hunt for special-needs children will be held on the deck behind the church. The event also features face-painting, cookie decorating, Randy's Rescue Ranch, balloons and more. Prize baskets will be awarded. This event is sponsored by Crossview Church and First National Bank of Waterloo.
- Easter Egg Hunt — 10 a.m. Saturday, March 24. Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1419 N. 17th St., Belleville.
- Breakfast with the Easter Bunny — 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, March 24. Parents and Friends of the Specialized Living Center, 1450 Caseyville Ave., Swansea. Breakfast tickets in advance cost $5 and at the door cost $7. The event also features chances to win Easter baskets and $1 pot shots. 618-277-7730.
- Breakfast with the Bunny — 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 24. Edison's Entertainment Complex, 2477 S. State Route 157, Edwardsville. Tickets for the pancake breakfast and unlimited bowling, laser tag and arcade package are $16. Tickets for the breakfast only are $10. This event also features the Easter Bunny and Jay "The Balloon Dude." Advance tickets are available by calling 618-307-9020. Walk-ins are welcome and will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis.
Tuesday, March 27
- 'We Were There' — 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 27. Church of The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, 442 S. De Mazenod Drive, Belleville. "We Were There" is a prayerful presentation of Pope John Paul II's scriptural Way of the Cross. Information: 618-394-6276 or www.snows.org/holyweek.
Wednesday, March 28
- Pentecostals of Troy: Spring Break Block Party and Easter Egg Hunt — 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 28. Pentecostals of Troy, 8965 Route 162, Troy. This party and egg hunt is for ages 11 and under. The free event features egg hunts, games, prizes and more. For more information, see the church's website at www.pentecostalsoftroy.org.
Friday, March 30
- 'Journey of Decision' — 1 p.m. Good Friday, March 30. The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, 442 S. De Mazenod Drive, Belleville. Visitors can experience a Way of the Cross presentation at the outdoor stations of the cross. In the presentation, witnesses of the passion of Christ share their stories and experiences from that day. Information: 618-394-6276 or www.snows.org/holyweek.
Saturday, March 31
- 7th Annual City-Wide Easter Egg Hunt — Noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 31. Mary Brown Center, 606 S. 15th St., East St. Louis. This free event is for children ages 4 to 12 years old. The event features the Easter Bunny, food, prizes, face painting, toys, eggs, a bounce house and more. It is sponsored by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Delta Delta Omega Chapter.
- Easter Breakfast — 7:45 to 9:45 a.m. Saturday, March 31. Notre Dame School Cafeteria, 200 S. 2nd St., Belleville. St. Vincent de Paul at the Cathedral will have its annual Easter breakfast on Saturday. The special breakfast is at the same time and place as the group's usual weekly breakfast. Information: 618-277-7837.
- Sand Dollars' Easter Bunny Breakfast — 9 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 31. First United Presbyterian Church gym, 1303 Royal Heights Road, Belleville. The event features a continental breakfast, pictures with a bunny, face painting, Easter egg hunt and more. Children should bring their own baskets. Cost is $3 each. Children under age 3 are free. Information: 618-233-0295.
- Easter Egg Hunt — 1 p.m. Saturday, March 31. Lebanon Flea Market, 126 E. McAllister St., Lebanon. No reservations are required.
- 5th Annual Free Easter Egg Hunt — 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration 10 a.m. Saturday, March 31. Woodland Park, 2 Pine Lake Road, Collinsville. This free event is hosted by Navigation Church. Organizers plan to hide more than 40,000 eggs for the hunt. Registration may be completed at 10 a.m. the day of the event or online in advance at navchurch.ccbchurch.com.
- Easter Egg Hunt — Check-in at 12:30 p.m. Hunt at 1 p.m. Smithton Village Park, Smithton. This event is for ages toddler through 4th grade. Prizes will be given out in each age group. The egg hunt is sponsored by Smithton Commercial Club and Smithton Turner Society.
- "Joy of Easter" — 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 28; Thursday, March 29; and Friday, March 30. St. Matthew United Methodist Church, 1200 Moreland Drive, Belleville. This is the 29th year St. Matthew Church has presented "The Joy of Easter: a dramatic interpretation of the Passion of Christ." A choir, orchestra, live animals and a cast of over 300 volunteers helps stage the play. Admission is free and donations will be accepted. Information: 618-397-5994.
- 'Themed Basket' silent auction for St. John's Community Care — Entire month of March. Ravanelli's Restaurant, 26 Collinsport Drive, Collinsville. Baskets, created and donated by members of the community, will be on display in March at Ravanellli's Restaurant. The silent auction with help St. John's Community Care, a non-profit, make its budget for the coming year. Visitors may bid on the baskets or give a donation directly to St. John's by calling 618-344-5008.
Belleville East Marching Lancer Band: Community Awareness Fundraiser — 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, March 30 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 31. The band will be in front of two Walmarts, 1530 W. Highway 50, O'Fallon and 2608 Green Mount Commons Drive, Belleville. There is no cost to hear the band, donations are appreciated to help fund the Belleville East band program.