In the midst of mostly green grass and trees and under gray skies Sunday, hundreds of people gathered for Easter celebrations at Woodward Park in north Fresno.
Robert Avila, 26, of Fresno found a spot under a small tree where his kids were in the process of searching for Easter eggs just before 2 p.m. For him, Easter is one way of “making memories for my kids so they can grow up and do the same thing.”
Dozens and dozens of cars parked along the park’s roads – some were even parked on grass – as proof of how popular the park is for celebrating the holiday.
Avila said it’s the first time he spent Easter at the park. He said he arrived there about 8:30 a.m., and watched as vehicles quickly started filling up available parking spaces.
Elizabeth Hendricks, 41, of Fresno normally spends Easter at nearby lakes. She arrived at Woodward Park with her boyfriend’s kids about 6:30 a.m. and was wrapping up her activities by 1:30 p.m.
“We had some money hidden in eggs and (the kids) just had a good time out here,” Hendricks said.
Wrapping up at the park did not mean an end to her family’s Easter celebration. Hendricks said she planned to go to her daughter’s house afterward to spend time with her grandkids there.
The popular food item at the park included barbecue. At almost every setup, a smoking grill could be seen as music blasted from nearby cars.
Biking, kite-flying and sport games were popular activities among kids and adults, including Chia Thao’s family.
The 33-year-old Fresno resident had reserved a picnic area with tables and a large grassy space for the more than 20 families that gathered there for Easter. Some family members came from as far as Sacramento.
Thao, who is Hmong, said her family practices traditional shamanism but are not very religious. Celebrating Easter has just become something her family adapted to over the years and is a way for family to come together.
“It’s not a tradition for our culture, but it’s just for entertainment,” Thao said. “It’s for the kids and the gathering of family members.”
As Thao was busy with the barbecue, a nearby family soccer game was in full force. The winner would receive a trophy, she said. Thao said the day at the park in honor of the Easter holiday is kind of like a family reunion.
“It’s become part of the family, so we continue to gather for Easter for the purpose of just being together.”