There’s no word if Peter Cottontail will be there, but Carlisle's Bunny Hop will have children hippity hopping from store to store.
The Bunny Hop will be from noon-3 p.m. Saturday at participating stores downtown. The first stop in the Bunny Hop is Georgie Lou’s Retro Candy and Gifts, 22 N. Pitt St., where participants can pick up a map showing the locations of other businesses participating in the event.
Georgie Lou’s owner Stephanie Patterson Gilbert organized the event and is also the driving force behind Spooky Saturday.
“I always intended for it to be seasonal so we’d have something at Halloween, Easter, Christmas and maybe in the summer during Summerfair,” Gilbert said.
Turnout at Spooky Saturday the first year was small. The second year, Spooky Saturday was snowed out by the unusual storm that became known as “Snowtober.”
“This year, Spooky Saturday was really well received,” Gilbert said. “I think we had over 200 kids.”
It’s been more difficult to get the spring event off the ground, Gilbert said. Some businesses that usually participate in the downtown events can’t do it this time.
She is, however, excited to see two newcomers — Vinny’s and Mrs. Stamm’s — join the festivities.
Gilbert said Carlisle Arts Learning Center has been a good supporter of the children’s events. “Every time we do an event, they offer a craft and a treat,” she said.
Gilbert encouraged businesses to offer treats in plastic eggs, but they may do anything they like.
Circe McDonald dropped into Georgie Lou’s to buy candy to hand out at Gaia Fresh Foods Café where the Easter Bunny will be visiting.
“It’s great to get all the kids out,” McDonald said. “There’s such a nice vibe.”
The event isn’t meant to detract from traditional Easter egg hunts, which every parent knows can be chaotic.
“Traditional egg hunts are great, but this is an alternative,” Gilbert said.
Participants are invited to carry an Easter basket. Gilbert is also encouraging parents to dress the little ones up in their fancy Easter clothes to make the event a little more festive.
“Obviously, they don’t have to, but it would be a nice little twist on it,” she said. “It’s a first year event so if the feedback is positive and we get a good response, we’ll do it again next year.”
Besides bringing foot traffic to downtown businesses, Gilbert said events like this expose the next generation to downtown shopping, teaching them there is an alternative to the big box stores. Spooky Saturday participants came back to tell Gilbert they found businesses they didn’t know existed.
She said that as the event draws people into the stores, it also introduces them to the unique items they carry.
“Without coming in, people may not realize that most of my candy for Easter is locally sourced from Pennsylvania businesses,” Gilbert said. “My molded bunnies are from Hanover, our Zitner and Lerro eggs are from Philly and we dip our own Peeps in Wilbur’s chocolate from Lititz.”