Tasked this week with finding ways to celebrate the holiday while keeping their distance from family and friends, locals are taking innovative approaches to provide kids with Easter fun.

Annual egg hunts have been cancelled and even large family dinners are discouraged as the region looks to curb the spread of COVID 19. But some northern Rhode Island residents have created plans for virus-conscious alternatives.

In North Smithfield, the police, fire, and parks and recreation departments have come together to bring the Easter bunny to town kids.

On Saturday, April 11 – the day before the holiday – a small parade of emergency vehicles will carry the bunny along North Smithfield Elementary School bus routes, with lights and sirens announcing their arrival.

The group will start their route at the St. Paul Street fire station at 10 a.m., and parents and kids are asked to go out and wave hello as the bunny passes their bus stop. Those unsure of the location of their bus stop can find the routes here.

Parks & Recreation Program Coordinator Kate Pasquariello said they are unable to determine what time the group will arrive at each stop, so families are instructed to listen for the sirens.

Pasquariello said the idea came from a friend of hers who heard about a neighborhood holding a similar event.

“I thought it would be a good idea to coordinate with the NSFD and NSPD to add some exciting transportation,” Pasquariello said, noting that she thought it would be nice way to celebrate since the town’s annual egg hunt is postponed indefinitely.  “Our fire chief, Dave Chartier and our police chief, Tim Lafferty were very excited to spread some joy to the community.”

Questions regarding the event can be directed to kpasquariello@nsmithfieldri.org

Burrillville kids will also get a chance to see the bunny Saturday when he hops through town on a fire truck starting at 11 a.m. with help from the Pascoag Fire District, the Oakland Mapleville Fire District, the Harrisville Fire District and the Burrillville Police Department.

That group will also drive through town with sirens announcing their arrival. Officials are not planning to announce a route in hopes to avoid crowds gathering.

It’s just one of many ways locals are looking to create a sense of both joy and normalcy for children amid difficult times.

Another idea that has caught on in communities across the region involves an “egg hunt,” where participation can take place from the safety of inside a vehicle.

In Burrillville, residents have been asked to post a paper egg design inside a plastic bag on their mailbox. Burrillville kids 18 and under are invited to participate by driving around town with their caregivers and seeing how many eggs they can spot. When they spot an egg, participants are asked to write down the address and the assigned number.

The person who “collects” the most eggs will win a prize. A prize will also be delivered to the household with the most beautiful and unique egg.

The contest began on Sunday, April 5 and will continue through Saturday, April 11 at 11 a.m.

To participate, residents are asked to follow the instructions found here.

Winners will be announce on Saturday at 11 a.m. in the parking lot of CVS in Pascoag. Attendees are asked to stay in their cars.

The North Smithfield Parent Teacher Organization sent out similar instructions for an egg hunt to parents.

That distance-focused egg hunt will take place on Saturday. Residents are asked to decorate an egg made from a paper cut out, place it in a Ziploc bag, and tape it to their mailbox by 9 a.m. Saturday morning. Families are invited to walk, ride bikes, or drive through town and see how many eggs they spot.

It’s all part of an effort to keep families safe, while still letting kids enjoy some traditional Easter fun.

Send your unique, virus-conscious Easter ideas to sandy@nrinow.news

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