Area youngsters are going to be able to give their Easter baskets an early workout this weekend.
Mike Greenwell's Bat-a-Ball & Family Fun Park will host its 22nd annual Easter Bunny Trail on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.
The event is sponsored by Cat Country 107.1 and is free and open to all children 12 and younger.
During the event, kids will walk along Greenwell's miniature golf course and receive goodies from local business sponsors.
The event is a long way from what it was when it began, according to Dana Waters, who manages Greenwell's.
"It started as an Easter egg hunt, and the event grew so big we began having issues where not all kids got the same amount of eggs," Waters said. "We had to split them up in groups, and parents would be here a long time if they had multiple kids."
With the safety issues, about seven years ago, Greenwell's decided to mimic its Safe Trick or Treat event for Halloween and make it into an Easter Trail.
"We got different sponsors on each hole of the course and the kids receive Easter goodies from a sponsor on that hole," Waters said.
On the final hole, the kids meet the Easter Bunny, who hands them a certain amount of eggs with goodies in them, so nobody gets more than the other.
"It's gone so much more smoothly because we mimic it after Trick or Treat," Waters said. "And the parents know who's giving them the candy and where it's coming from."
It has also brought more people, with about 1,000 kids coming to the Easter Trail event every year. Though, it's a small fraction of the 3,000-4,000 who come for Halloween, Waters said.
Participants are asked to bring their own baskets, and donations of pet food will be accepted for local animal shelters. Those who donate will be entered into a raffle for prizes such as large Easter baskets.
"We started fund-raising five years into the event because people couldn't believe it was free and we thought of what we could do for the community," Waters said. "We decided the animals weren't being recognized so much."
Sponsors include the Fort Myers Skatium, Tropical Twisters, Perkins Restaurant on Del Prado, Neff Beauty Salon, Pink Poodle Grooming, Girl Scouts, Jet's Pizza, Helping Paws Sanctuary, A-Z Plumbing, Martial Arts University and Houdini's Pizza Magic.
Mike Greenwell's Bat-a-Ball & Family Fun Park is at 35 N.E. Pine Island Road. For more information, call 574-4386.