Were it not for the coronavirus pandemic, Saturday morning would have seen thousands of children scrambling across Hoopes Park during the annual Easter egg hunt there.
As part of that local holiday tradition, several children would have taken pictures with the Easter Bunny in the park. Thanks to a local woman's social media effort, though, they'll still be able to.
Amanda Shaw, of Scipio, is arranging family pictures with the Easter Bunny during the pandemic. Portrayed by her husband, Christian Dulmage, the bunny still maintains social distancing, which allows Shaw, a photographer, to get creative. Pictures at the Hoopes Park gazebo, for instance, will see children sit a few steps above or below the bunny. Or maybe they'll sit on separate benches.
Shaw said she got the idea when she saw her friend post on Facebook that she was sad her daughter wouldn't get a picture with the Easter Bunny. Shaw herself has arranged pictures with her family at Bass Pro Shops every Easter for years. So about a week ago, she saw Walmart had bunny costumes in stock, and drove there immediately after clocking out of work in Ithaca. But the store was sold out. Then Shaw went online, and found one for $100. It arrived Tuesday. Wednesday, she had her first photo shoots with eight families at Emerson Park and other locations.
Despite the money she's invested in the project, Shaw is offering all photos for free. She's paying her husband in Monster energy drinks and fast food, she joked.
Shaw will be at Hoopes Park from about 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Though she's booked with photo appointments, she will accept walk-ups if people can be quick as a bunny.
"I just want to spread the happiness and give them something to look forward to during all this bad stuff," she said.