By Greg Gelpi
A field normally reserved for military functions was instead a field of pastel-colored Easter eggs, children's games and other events Saturday.
Fort McPherson welcomed families from the military installation and the surrounding area to its second annual Spring Fest, an afternoon of games and activities for the families, culminating in a mad dash for candy eggs during an Easter egg hunt.
Children lined up, some unable to wait for the word to begin, and cleared the grounds of the eggs within moments of the egg hunt starting.
"Everybody just said they were going to dive," said Katie Tucker, 8. Tucker found one of the "golden" eggs during the hunt, winning tickets to the Atlanta Zoo. She enjoyed activities with her grandmother Winnie Tucker, of Forest Park, who works at the base.
Katie and other children rushed into roped-off areas of the field, hitting the ground and scouring about on hands and knees to find eggs.
Barbara Howard, the director of the base's Child Development Center, who organized the event, said that children gathered about 5,000 candy eggs.
"I truly enjoyed doing this," Howard said. "I liked the little ones who started before they were supposed to start."
Despite the excitement of the hunt, the highlight for many children was a large inflated slide called "The Screamer."
"It was fun, because when I was climbing up the thing I kept falling down," Tyshawn Simon, 7, of Stockbridge, said after sliding down.
"The Screamer" was also a favorite of Teddy Misczenski, 3, the son of Maj. Steve Misczenski of the Third Army. The father was at Spring Fest with his wife and two children.
"That is the one he kept going on over and over again," his father said. "(There were) lots of fun things. They even got their picture taken with the Easter Bunny."
Events also included a demonstration by military police K-9 units.
From searching luggage for narcotics to running down and tackling a "bad guy," Terrence, a military K-9, showed his full range of abilities for families.
"So far, this has been the most exciting," Fort McPherson employee Harry Wallace said, watching the demonstration with his grandchildren Alexis, 7, and Leterran, 4. "You can't ask for a better day. This is what they need. You have to spend quality time with them and let them enjoy themselves."
An Easter egg hunt is also scheduled for Fort Gillem Saturday.