Hometown Spotlight: On your mark, get set… GO!

Garner, N.C. is one of the hottest spots for young families and new construction and the annual Easter Egg Hunt showed why.

GARNER, N.C. — It was an all-out foot race in Garner this weekend for more than 10,000 candy-filled eggs at Lake Benson Park in Garner. The Annual Easter Eggstravaganza drew a 5,000 strong crowd to enjoy the sunshine and the new blooms of spring. For the age 9 to 11 group of egg hunters more than 1,500 eggs were snatched up in less than a minute.”We hope everyone got their Easter fill. It was a mad rush so we staggered the age groups and times with 30 minutes between hunts,” said Kendrick Mayes, marketing and events coordinator for the Garner Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources (PRCR). Mayes has been with Garner for three years after starting as an intern.Once a sleepy rural town, Garner has exploded in recent years with population growth and amenities. Now considered a suburb of the capital city of Raleigh, Garner is drawing more young families every year looking for new home construction and an affordable cost of living.”We are gearing up for our new indoor rec center that will be coming to Main Street with three full-sized gyms and a 40,000-square-foot elevated walking track,” said Mayes. “We are really looking forward to that as well as more of the growth of downtown, new playgrounds, improvements to our current facility.”Garner was formed in the late 1840s when a tie-breaking vote by the Speaker of the State House of Representatives chose it as the location of a North Carolina Railroad station between Goldsboro and Charlotte. “Garner’s Station” was established with the construction of a post office in 1878, and the town of Garner’s Station incorporated in 1883. Today, it is one of the hottest housing markets in the state with a booming population of young families. The town’s parks department was recently recognized with an accreditation by the National Parks and Recreation Department with a Capra award, in recognition of factors including services, safety and management. Garner PRCR is the ninth department in N.C. to receive this recognition..”We are also a Kaboom Playful City in 2014, 2015, and 2016,” said Mayes. “From the camps to all the events we put on, we like to make sure we are family-oriented with our programs, providing them either free or at an affordable price.”Playful City USA is nonprofit group that recognizes cities and towns across the country that provide services to ensure that kids in their communities, particularly kids from low-income families, have access to active play.The Easter Eggstravaganza led moms Seinna Steinhoff and Emily Cain to bring their girls out for a visit with the Easter Bunny, a jump in the bounce houses and a hot dog lunch on the grass in their hometown.”This is our first time coming to this event and Garner does a great job of organizing it. I was worried with so many people but the parking was good and it didn’t feel crowded,” said Steinhoff.Of course Maddie Steinhoff, 3, was more interested in the colorful plastic eggs that filled her basket.”I got lots of blue eggs in there ’cause they are my favorite,” she said, investigating the haul.