Kellan Ryan, 1, carefully places her newfound Easter egg in her basket during the 13th annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday at the Youth Center. The Lambda Gamma Gamma Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity sponsored the event for children under age 13.

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (April 12, 2012) -- In the grassy field across from the Youth Center, youngsters lined up like track runners.

Staring down 1,000 plastic, candy-filled eggs scattered in the grass, the children eagerly awaited for their hunt to begin. With a countdown from 3, they were off. And then, in less than five minutes, it was over.

More than 250 children attended the 13th annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday afternoon at the Youth Center. The event was sponsored by the Fort Meade-based Lambda Gamma Gamma Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, whose members hid 4,000 eggs throughout the area surrounding the center.

The service-oriented graduate fraternity has sponsored the event at Fort Meade for more than a decade, with the number of participants continually growing, said Lt. Col. James Walker, committee chairman and commander of the 742nd Military Intelligence Battalion.

Prior to Saturday's egg hunt, a line formed from the Youth Center all the way to Ernie Pyle Street as families entered the contest.

"We love it," Walker said. "This is one of the better parts of being a member of the fraternity -- getting to give back to the community."

Saturday's festivities began with a coloring contest in the gymnasium, with children competing for Easter basket prizes in four age groups: 2 and younger, 3 to 5, 6 to 9, and 10 to 13.

Seven-year-old Jaylen Marbley of Odenton colored his rabbit brown, red and then rainbow.

"It's Easter, kids need to have fun," said Jaylen's father, retired Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Paul Marbley. "This is a good place to be."

After coloring, Jaylen was eager to hunt down the 1,000 eggs he expected to gather. His goal, he declared, was "getting the golden egg."

Before the brief hunt, a single golden egg was hidden for each age group. Whoever captured the egg won a larger prize, such as a bike or radio.

To make the hunt challenging for older participants, eggs were hidden in harder-to-find spots. The youngest group searched on the blacktop behind the Youth Center; the oldest participants scoped out the nearby Child Development Center.

Sierre Bornes from Severn was hoping to leave with a basket full of the candy-filled plastic eggs.

"Getting the candy is my favorite [part]," the 8-year-old said of the event.

Sierre's father, Joe, who works at Fort Meade with the facility management company Chugach, said he was surprised by the large turnout.

"It's good to see a lot of people come out with their children for family time," he said.

Visit http://go.usa.gov/mEg for more photos from the egg hunt.

Page last updated Thu April 12th, 2012 at 11:04