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Riverbench Winery fills with color for annual Easter egg hunt

Riverbench Winery fills with color for annual Easter egg hunt

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The garden at Riverbench Winery in Santa Maria was crowded with children and parents Saturday morning, all scrambling through the bushes and trees in search of plastic colored eggs during the annual Easter egg hunt.

Six-year-old Alyssa Vargas of Santa Maria, said she had some help from her mom, Pamela Stokes, to score a dozen eggs at the hunt, while the rest of the family looked on and enjoyed their picnic and the sunshine.

"We actually read about the event in the paper," said Stokes. "It's our first time here today and it's been a lot of fun being here with the family." 

About 2,000 plastic eggs were hidden and adults and children alike were able to celebrate the holiday with some special prizes. 

Color flowed through the winery garden as children dressed in their Easter best, adorned with bunny ears and clutching their brightly-colored baskets, swooped up any plastic egg they could find.

Candy was hidden in all the eggs for the kids, and about 30 eggs had coupons for the adults for a complimentary glass of wine or a 10 percent discount off a bottle. 

Once a few eggs made it into a basket, hunters would take a quick break from their mission to set down their loot, crack open their eggs, tear the foil from the chocolate and devour the sweets.

In all, 1,200 eggs were hidden for the 11 a.m. hunt for children ages seven and under. The rest of the 800 eggs were reserved for the second session at 2 p.m., which was open to all ages.

Danae Smith, staff member at the Riverbench Winery, said that it took a half hour for five staff members including herself to hide the first batch of 1,200 eggs in the garden. 

"It's going perfectly smoothly today," said Smith. "The weather is beautiful, participants were able to get enough eggs which is great, but I do keep a backup stash just in case so everyone has enough."

The Riverbench Winery has been hosting the egg hunt since the winery first opened in 2008. 

"There's a big turnout every year," Smith said. "It's been getting recognition because the event is popular among kids and for parents as well. We start promoting the hunt about two months prior to the event — it's open to the public, not just club members."

Smith said the winery invites the community to stay local for the holiday weekend for fun, family-oriented activities, and splitting the hunt into two groups allows all of the participants to have some fun.

For Courtney Tiede and her family, driving over from Bakersfield for the annual hunt is a yearly tradition.

"This is our fourth year driving up here, and we love it because the kids can have a great time, do the egg hunt and we can enjoy ourselves as well with a glass of wine," said Tiede.

"We plan on keeping this a tradition for years to come. We drove up from Bakersfield yesterday and are staying with family in Orcutt. It's beautiful weather, good wine and time for family." 

Tiede's three sons Caleb, 7, Cody, 6 and Cris, 1, were busy joining the other children in the egg hunt. 

"My favorite part of the hunt today was when I looked in the bush I saw four eggs at once," said Cody. 

Although Ashlyn Enlowe, 4, of Santa Maria, doesn't care for chocolate, she said she enjoyed the hunt and the beautiful drive up to the winery in her stepfather's car. 

"I got a lot of eggs today with the help from my grandma," said Ashlyn. 

Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210

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