For hundreds of area families who are planning outdoor activities this Easter weekend - egg hunts, bicycle rides, lawn cleanups and family reunions - all eyes and (bunny) ears are on the weather.
"We're watching the weather pretty closely because our event is usually held outdoors," said Susan Wielitzka, building and grounds supervisor with The Castle, 418 Fourth St., Marietta.
An 80 percent chance of rain Friday and into Friday night will give way to partly cloudy skies and only a 40 percent chance of showers Saturday, according to Thaddeus Truitt, meteorologist with the National Weather Service at Charleston.
"It looks like highs Saturday in the 50s with lows Saturday night to 30 degrees," Truitt said. "For Easter sunrise services, it's going to be cold. Take a jacket."
The good news is that Easter Sunday will bring drying and warming temperatures with no rain predicted, he said.
Wielitzka said The Castle's Easter egg-decorating contest goes on rain or shine, snow or cold, for one hour only beginning at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Children may be moved into The Castle buildings in the event of rain or snow, she said.
Egg-citing events this weekend:
Annual Easter egg decorating contest, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, The Castle, 418 Fourth St., Marietta; all materials provided; categories for age 6 and under, 7 to 9 years old, 10 to 12 years old; four prizes each category; 373-4180.
Children's pictures with the Easter Bunny, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Greenleaf Landscapes, Ohio 60, Marietta; includes three digital poses on a CD, $10; Easter egg hunt, noon; proceeds to Upward Bound Parents Association Scholarship Fund.
Community Easter egg hunt, 11 a.m. Saturday, Marietta Park and Recreation Center, 260 Sandhill Road, Reno; sponsored by Reno Lions Club; for age groups 3 and under, 4 to 6, 7 to 9, 10 to 12; free; pancake breakfast, 8 to 11 a.m., cost is a donation; 373-1278 or 373-8500.
Easter egg hunt, 1 p.m. Saturday, Buell's Island Park, Lowell; sponsored by Lowell Masonic Lodge 436 and Mount Moriah Masonic Lodge 37; Lloyd Bonar, 373-7489 or 516-8333.
Annual Easter egg hunt, 1 p.m. Sunday, Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department and Oak Grove Recreation Center grounds on B.F. Goodrich Road; sponsored by the fire department for families of Oak Grove and West Muskingum Township area.
The event, free to all children up through 12 years old, offers real pre-colored eggs for creative decorating. Eggs may be taken home.
Children will compete in three age categories, 6 and under, 7 to 9 and 10 to 12. There will be four prizes in each category. Awards will be given from 11:15 to 11:30 a.m.
"We have all kinds of decorations for the children to choose, sparkles, stick-ons, paints - they can make whatever they like," Wielitzka said. "All they need to bring is themselves and appropriate clothing."
Kids won't have to hunt the eggs at The Castle, but there will be plenty of hunts to go around this weekend.
The Reno Lions Club once again will sponsor a gigantic community Easter egg hunt at 11 a.m. Saturday at the old Reno School, now the Marietta Park and Recreation Center, 260 Sandhill Road. The event is open to children from all local communities.
"We have been filling plastic eggs with candies for three days, and we have oodles and oodles," said Janice Arnold, a member of Reno Lions Club and a coordinator of the hunt.
More than 6,000 eggs will be there for hunting in the big, grassy field behind the old school, she said.
Age groups are 3 and under, 4 to 6, 7 to 9 and 10 to 12. There are major prizes among the eggs.
In 12 plastic eggs, there will be a small piece of paper bearing the word, "basket." If a child finds this egg, he or she is in for a huge treat.
"Baskets are chock full of stuff," Arnold said. "For the little ones (up to 3 years) I found a nice big (3-foot) fuzzy teddy bear they will just love."
For adults who plan to bring children to the Easter egg hunt, or who just enjoy watching the event from afar, the Reno Lions Club offers a pancake breakfast beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday, prior to the hunt at 11 a.m. Cost of the breakfast is a donation to the club.
"The Easter egg hunt is one of the things we do to give back to the community every year," Arnold said. "We also have a Christmas and a Halloween party for the kids."
"Smile" at Greenleaf Landscapes on Ohio 60 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday when children can get their pictures taken with the Easter Bunny. Picture packages are $10 for three digital poses on a CD.
There will also be an Easter egg hunt at noon. All proceeds of the event go to Upward Bound Parents Association Scholarship Fund, which will be given to area Upward Bound graduating high school students.