Peoria Easter celebration returns for 48th year | Features

Kylie Werner, Peoria Times Staff Writer
6 Min Read

Peoria continues an almost 50-year tradition and honors a local resident with its 48th annual Dolly Sanchez Easter Celebration. 

“We still have the Sanchez family involved 50 years later. They participate in all aspects of the day of events,” said Bill Moss, the arts and culture manager for Peoria. “It’s an opportunity for families to come out and have a good family-focused event in a safe atmosphere and come home with a little bit of candy and some goodies for all the kids.” 

This year, the celebration will be at Peoria Sports Complex from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 30.

Dolly Sanchez — who was a member of the Peoria Community Action Program and Parks and Recreation Board — started this event with her family in Varney Park. Originally, the event was meant for the Varney neighborhood and was an egg hunt put on by the family, who would hard-boil a bunch of eggs and then hide them throughout the park. 

“It just got bigger and bigger to the point where Varney didn’t have the capacity for the size of the event it was,” Moss said. 

“That’s when the city approached the Sanchez family and said, ‘Hey, we’d like to help with this. We’d like to bring it to another level.’ Again, always acknowledging Dolly Sanchez and the Sanchez family and their contributions to the community.” 

The celebration will see the return of Cottontail Lane, where kids will receive a bag and have a chance to go through and collect eggs and candy, as well as receive giveaways. In addition, there will be meet-and-greet opportunities with Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny, jump-rope performances and workshops with the Tucson Twist-Its, a build-your-own flower pot station, inflatable obstacles courses and slides, a Peoria Police Department SWAT car display and Easter photo opportunities. 

Something new this year, Moss highlighted, is the family chalk art zone with live chalk artists where families will have the opportunity to add to the designs created by the artists. 

“We always try and elevate what we’re doing as far as day in and day out,” Moss said. “We try and increase and improve the quality and quantity of the candy and the giveaways that we have for everybody.” 

In order to cater to all attendees, the celebration has a sensory room put on by Peoria Adaptive Program that is a calming, sensory-friendly space for children, teens and adults with sensory-processing needs. The room will have items such as noise-canceling headphones, weighted blankets, plush chairs and soft toys. The room will be located in the visitor’s clubhouse on the first-base concourse. 

There will also be “Teal Eggs” located throughout Cottontail Lane that identify designated easter goodies that are safe for children and families who are managing food allergies. 

Moss said the importance of the event is celebrating the tradition of families in Peoria and added that what he is most looking forward to is the smile on the kids’ faces. 

“I just like seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces when they come in and they see the different characters that are walking around, or they get their bags filled with candy or they’re participating in different activities,” Moss said. 

As the celebration gets closer to its 50-year anniversary, Moss said he would like to see the event return to the community where it started. 

“Maybe we could do multiple Dolly Sanchez events in different parts of Peoria,” Moss said. 

“It started as a neighborhood event, and I think there’s an opportunity to take it back to some of our neighborhood parks. And again, still honoring the tradition of the event.” 

Moss noted that the event is open to everyone at no cost — except for food — and is a family-friendly, safe event.


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Kylie Werner, Peoria Times Staff Writer ,
"peoria az "peoria" when:7d" – Vivrr Local , 2024-03-30 07:00:00
Tags: dolly sanchez easter celebration, peoria sports complex, peoria communiy action program, peoria parks and recreation, peoria easter celebration

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