Easter arrives with a beep

The sound of an Easter egg was more important than its colorful look at Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort on Wednesday morning.

About 50 visually impaired pre-schoolers were at the beach to hunt down the eggs by listening for their electronic beeping.

The fist-sized, colored plastic eggs chirped at regular intervals as students from the Blind Children's Learning Center in Santa Ana scoured the grass and playground.

For decades, groups from the Telecom Pioneers volunteer network have built the eggs using small circuit board and telephone speakers.

"We wire them with a nine-volt [battery] and they're good to go," said Dottie Mulkey, a co-organizer of the Newport Dunes event.

She helped run the hunt at the Learning Center for more than 20 years before moving it to the resort this year.

The Easter bunny, giant desserts and perennial crew of volunteers were waiting for the kids as they came off the bus.

"We kind of look forward to it," said volunteer Ed Magee. "The look on their faces is just priceless."

The egg hunt is more than just fun. It can coax some visually impaired students out of their shells and toward interaction, said Carolyn Baker, the Learning Center's development director.

"Our whole key is to bring them to communicate in their own way," she said. "That's what's exciting about today, the joy and excitement for the kids."

Brayden Perez, 5, was jumping up and down while he and his mother, Dallas, decorated a foot-long egg-shaped Rice Krispies treat with colored frosting and gobs of different candies.

"This is a big one," he said about the piece of licorice he'd grabbed. "It smells like rope. It tastes good."

That stimulation is what makes the two look forward to the event every year since he first attended at 2 years old.

"He gets so involved," Dallas said. "He eats it. He smells it. He touches it."

Brayden and his mom dabbed a little frosting on each other's noses before washing off their hands and heading toward the squawking eggs.

"I got purple on your nose," Brayden told her.


Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck

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