Easter Eggstragaganza 2018 is set to be the biggest and best ever

The New Hampshire Accordion Association will be among the musical performers at ConcordTV's Easter Eggstravaganza at the Bektash Shrine Center  on Friday. Courtesy of ConcordTV
The New Hampshire Accordion Association will be among the musical performers at ConcordTV's Easter Eggstravaganza at the Bektash Shrine Center on Friday. Courtesy of ConcordTV
You can get up close and personal with some creatures when Bob Jones of Jonesy's Reptiles brings some friends to ConcordTV's Easter Eggstravaganza at the Bektash Shrine Center on Friday at 7 p.m.  Courtesy of ConcordTV
You can get up close and personal with some creatures when Bob Jones of Jonesy's Reptiles brings some friends to ConcordTV's Easter Eggstravaganza at the Bektash Shrine Center on Friday at 7 p.m. Courtesy of ConcordTV
Make sure you sign up to have your basket in this year's Easter Eggstravaganza. Tim Goodwin
Make sure you sign up to have your basket in this year's Easter Eggstravaganza. Tim Goodwin
The Easter bunny waves to visitors during Eggstravaganza at the Bektash Shrine Center in Concord on Friday, April 7, 2017. The event continues on Saturday and Sunday. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz
The Easter bunny waves to visitors during Eggstravaganza at the Bektash Shrine Center in Concord on Friday, April 7, 2017. The event continues on Saturday and Sunday. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

Did you miss out on the Feztival of Trees at the Bektash Shrine Center around Thanksgiving? Or maybe you did catch it but you’re just itching for another opportunity to bid on all kinds of fun and quirky prize packages.

Well, fear not, because even though the Feztival is not even remotely soon, ConcordTV’s Easter Eggstravaganza starts this Friday, and you won’t want to miss out on the fun.

The Easter Eggstravaganza is an annual fundraiser for ConcordTV. It’s a community festival for family and friends that takes place at the Bektash Shrine Center over the course of a weekend.

While this event has no affiliation with the Feztival of Trees, it is pretty similar in a number of ways. While the Feztival involves dozens of decorated Christmas trees that guests can try to win, the Eggstravaganza is full of similarly loaded Easter baskets. There’s also a silent auction, games for kids, food and drinks, live entertainment and more.

In the words of Doris Ballard, executive director of ConcordTV: “The Eggstravaganza is an Easter fantasy event with a bountiful array of themed Easter baskets that guests can win along with gifts, raffles, silent auction, children’s games, refreshments and even visits from the Easter Bunny.”

Not a bad lineup, if you ask us.

How it works is businesses and/or individuals from the community donate the Easter baskets for the event. These people decide on the theme of their basket and what to put in it. Once all the baskets are in place – there are more than 150 baskets this year, and there’s always room and time to add more, Ballard said – guests can buy tickets in hopes of winning some. Each basket has a plastic pipe with a slotted cap in front of it that’s meant for dropping your tickets in. You can put as many tickets into as many baskets as you want – if you really want that panda-themed basket, nobody’s stopping you from pumping a whole 20-pack into it to boost your chances.

At the end of the event – Sunday shortly after 5 p.m. – all the pipes will be collected and winning tickets will be drawn. Here’s where it gets interesting – if you don’t answer the phone when they call, you lose. With more than 150 baskets to account for, the volunteers don’t have time to sit around and call people two or three times and wait for calls back. If the winner doesn’t answer, another ticket will be drawn immediately and calls will be made until somebody answers and claims the prize.

For this reason, it’s not uncommon for people to just hang out at the Bektash lodge during the drawing so they can be sure they don’t miss out, Ballard said. The rules also require winners to pick up their prizes that night, so even if you do answer your phone to learn you’ve won, if you don’t get down there within a couple hours, the prize will go to someone else. The moral of the story is just to stay alert, and stay local – your prize(s) could depend on it.

Apart from all the Easter baskets, there are a few special items that work a little differently.

One of the most popular items is sure to be the lottery basket. There will be one basket loaded with $1,000 worth of scratch tickets (as in $1,000 was spent to buy all the scratch tickets, not that they’re guaranteed to pay out $1,000), and because of the potentially high value of this prize, it will have its own ticket sales – you won’t be able to just drop your regular Easter basket tickets into this one. There will also be a 50/50 raffle that will require individual purchase.

There will be a few new features this year that weren’t part of the previous events. For one, ConcordTV will be live streaming most of the activity throughout the weekend. Also, Saturday is Saint Patrick’s Day, so you can see a leprechaun as well as the Easter Bunny on that day.

Another big component this year will be live entertainment. Guests will include the New Hampshire Accordion Association, In The Field Irish Dancers, the Strings and Things Band and more. There will also be a variety of costumed characters mingling about throughout the whole weekend. And animal lovers will want to be sure to catch Jonesey’s Reptiles, which will show off some scaly creatures on Friday.

The whole event is a fundraiser for ConcordTV, a nonprofit that provides Concord residents and nonprofits training and access to equipment as well as the opportunity to create programming, Ballard said, and monies raised go toward the purchase of equipment that will benefit the community and those who use its resources. It also helps provide scholarships for ConcordTV’s video camp for students.

Anyone who would still like to donate a basket or just make a monetary donation can do so at any time by contacting ConcordTV at 226-8872 or emailing Jim Webber at jim@concordcctv.org.

The Easter Eggstravaganza will take place Friday through Sunday at the Bektash Shrine Center, 189 Pembroke Road. Hours are 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Drawings will be held right after the ticket receptacles are removed at 5.

Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for students/seniors – but seniors get in free on Friday, and kids under 12 get in free. One admission ticket is good for the whole weekend, so you can go all three days. Raffle tickets – the ones you’ll drop in the pipes in front of the baskets – are $5 for a sheet of 20.

More information is available at concordeaster.org. You’ll also find a link there to buy tickets at EventBrite. Online sales will come with a slight fee. Tickets can also be purchased at the door at any time during the Eggstravaganza weekend.

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Author: Jon Bodell

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