“... a fun afternoon for families that are home, for grandkids, their children.” Jane Foltz, director of the Abilene Parks and Recreation Department.
By TIM HORAN
There was a time when walking on the lawn was discouraged at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum.
That rule was broken Saturday afternoon by hundreds of kids from walking age to age 10, plus their brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents who participated in the Easter Egg Roll.
“I can remember when we couldn’t walk on the grass,” said Jane Foltz, director of Abilene Parks and Recreation Department, a co-sponsor of the egg hunt and other activities along with the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum and Eisenhower Foundation.
Karl Weissenbach, director of the facility, was pleased with the turnout.
“It was really, really wonderful,” Weissenbach said. “So many people have come up to me and said they hadn’t been here for 20 or 30 years. They came down here when they were in school on field trips.”
He said the event came about because members of the community wanted to bring more kids to the Library.
“That desire came from the Abilene Parks and Recreation, the Eisenhower Foundation and staff members,” he said. “The Easter Egg Roll is a great vehicle to do just that: to bring more people to the Library. We are also doing something that occurs in Washington, D.C., so we are actually trying to mimic something that is Presidential.
“We also wanted to get more people into the Museum and Boyhood Home,” Weissebach said.
The Museum, Library and Boyhood Home were open free to the public Saturday.
“This is all part of the community,” Weissenbach said. “The Eisenhower Presidential Library may be a world class institution but let’s not forget that it is here in Abilene and also serves the needs of the community.
“That is another reason that we wanted to have this type of program, to remind people that haven’t been here, that it’s still part of the community and they will always be welcome here,” he added. “It’s important to open the Library as much as we can. That’s been my goal from day one, to make the institution part of the life here in North Central Kansas.”
Foltz said Abilene has hosted an Easter egg hunt for years at the Eisenhower Park.
“I got a call this year from the Eisenhower staff and they asked to do a partnership with them,” she said. “And it’s going to be here forever, or until they tell us to get out. This is great. It was very well received. A great event! The Eisenhower staff was very excited. We expected a large turn out and I can’t tell you how many people are here. It was just awesome, a great event for Abilene.”
The event not only featured the egg hunt, which lasted about five minutes, but also the Egg Roll, pluck a duck, photo station, scavenger hunt, face painting, dig for a prize, ring toss, petting zoo, craft station, Putt-Putt, sidewalk chalk and prize walk.
“The Eisenhower staff added some events to make it just a fun afternoon for families that are home, for grandkids, their children. It is great event to bring children back to Abilene with their families,” Foltz said. “You pool your resources for great events, and that’s what we did. The staff, the grounds crew; they all did a great job. We couldn’t do it without them.”