Bunny hops to head of the line for Pequot's egg roll
Even though the rabbit is the animal most closely associated with Easter festivities, a pet raccoon owned by First Lady Grace Coolidge in the 1920s made an appearance at the annual White House Easter egg roll.
But the Pequot Library will adhere to the more popular tradition Saturday for its sixth annual Easter egg roll, calling on its resident hare, Belle -- a 3-year-old mini rex rabbit -- to serve as the official host. The event will feature a classic egg roll using long-handled wooden spoons, egg decorating and the Bunny Hop with Belle leading the dance from her Puff-mobile.
The Puff-mobile is a carriage so named for the Pequot Library's original rabbit mascot. Belle will lead a Conga line of hoppers from the library's auditorium to its great lawn.
"She's our goodwill ambassador," said Robyn Swan Filippone, the Pequot's head librarian. "Kids, even adults, go by my desk and say, `I have to go see Belle today.' She loves the attention. The kids can read to her. She doesn't know when they make a mistake."
The Pequot Library's Easter egg roll can't compete with the long history of Easter at the White House. According to a government website, the Easter egg roll is a White House tradition that dates to 1878 and President Rutherford B. Hayes, and records exist suggesting there were informal egg rolling events there as early as Abraham Lincoln's administration.
But for those who don't have time to travel to Washington, D.C., or weren't able to get one of the limited number of tickets for the White House Easter egg roll, or for those who would rather not go through security checks to attend the event, the Pequot Library egg roll promises lots of fun and laughs.
"Sometimes it looks more like golf than rolling Easter eggs. They go flying everywhere," Filippone said of the egg roll race.
Most of the eggs are hard-boiled, but on rare occasions a parent will bring a raw egg by mistake to use in the race.
"They don't make it through the race," Filippone said. "It can get messy."
Especially during inclement weather when the race is moved inside to the library's auditorium, added Dan Snydacker, the library's executive director.
The Belle-inspired activities do not end with Easter, the library staff said. On May 21 at 1 p.m., children and their families are invited to the library for an event called "Let's Plant Belle's Garden."
"We have a lot of Belle's favorite herbs out there, and carrots and kale," Filippone said.
The green initiative program invites gardening enthusiasts to bring a plant to put in the garden that would be appropriate for Belle so she will have fresh produce all summer long.
The sixth annual Easter egg roll will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Pequot Library, 720 Pequot Ave. For more information, call the library at 203-259-0346 or visit www.pequotlibrary.org.