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(April 15, 1963, Baltimore Sun photo, Joseph A. DiPaola Jr.)

From 1925 to the mid-1960s, the Playground Athletic League and other city organizations held Easter egg contests in Baltimore’s parks.

At least at first, there were Easter egg rolls held in all of the parks, but eventually, the annual event was staged primarily in Druid Hill Park and Patterson Park.

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(April 10, 1950, Baltimore Sun photo, Ralph Justus Dohme)

Or at least, those evolved into the premier Easter egg roll venues.  Even in 1927, Patterson Park was emerging as the favorite destination, because East End Improvement Association provided the eggs for the rolling. At the smaller parks, children brought their own eggs and staged the own rolling.

The 1927 Patterson Park egg roll was held on the day after Easter, as was long the custom. It was serious business, according to a preview in The Baltimore Sun.

“The festivities will begin promptly at 2 o’clock. The space where the eggs are to be rolled will be roped off, and not a boy or a girl will be allowed on the field until 2. … At the pistol shot which will mark the opening of the game the ropes will be raised and the children allowed on the field. Each child will choose only one egg – only one will be allowed to each child.”

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(April 2, 1956, Baltimore Sun photo, Albert D. Cochran)

In 1946, the Patterson Park egg roll had been replaced by an egg hunt, and prizes were awarded to children who found golden eggs. The names of the winners were printed in The Sun’s next-day coverage of the event. Held on the day after Easter, the hunt was scheduled to start at the latish time of 4 p.m.– some children were back in school already – but some kids showed up early anyway.

“By 10 o’clock yesterday morning, however, dozens of children were searching the park. At the time for the official opening drew near, the crowd was estimated at more than a thousand.”

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(March 31, 1964, Baltimore Sun photo, Weyman Swagger)

In 1948, perhaps because the Easter egg hunt had become too intense or expensive, children instead hunted for cardboard “bunnies.” Bedlam apparently ensued anyway.

A patrolman, “whose job it was to curb overenthusiastic hunters,” gave The Baltimore Sun his estimate of the crowd of “small but energetic boys and girls” who came to Patterson Park for Easter activities.

“About a million,” the patrolman told The Sun.

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(April 15, 1963, Baltimore Sun photo, Joseph A. DiPaola Jr.)