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Utahns find creative ways to celebrate an unusual Easter

In this Wednesday, April 8, 2020, photo Jack Rothenberg, 6, of Glen Burnie, Md., selects an egg, to participate in an egg tapping battle with his family.
Susan Walsh, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — This Easter will probably be the strangest anyone can remember — but that doesn’t mean Utahns aren’t celebrating.

Whether its a Zoom family dinner, a socially distant Easter egg hunt or a livestreamed church service, the Beehive State is getting creative this Easter.

On Wednesday, the city of Orem kicked off the “Great Orem Egg-solation Hunt,” hiding 10 golden eggs throughout the city and giving residents clues to their whereabouts via social media.

City officials took to Facebook, telling residents “There are prizes on the line so be ready to go full National Treasure Nicholas Cage.”

The city of Draper celebrated Good Friday with a massive Easter egg delivery, where city officials, firefighters, police officers and even the Easter Bunny dropped off nearly 30,000 eggs at over 1,000 homes.

On Saturday, Saratoga Springs held four parades that wound through the city, hitting every elementary school and some parks and church parking lots. Scores of residents were able to see the Easter Bunny, escorted by firetrucks and police cars, from the safety of their cars or front lawns.

In Kaysville, a lonely Easter bunny was seen hopping around town — practicing social distancing, of course — in a video posted on the city’s Facebook page.

And in Payson, officials placed 20 painted eggs around the city for residents to participate in their first drive-by Easter egg hunt.

With large gatherings banned, churchgoers around Utah are turning to digital platforms like Facebook Live for their Easter services.

“Facebook has been instrumental for St. Mary’s Church,” Killian Beeler, director of development and communications for St. Mary’s Church in Park City, said in a statement. “It’s helped us keep our members connected and nourished, and it’s allowed us to better serve all those in need and to reach out to the greater community.”

St. Mary’s in Park City has been preaching to virtual congregations through Facebook Live during the coronavirus pandemic, and is encouraging its members to log in Sunday morning for coffee with the Rev. Christopher Gray.

Cavalry Salt Lake, whose Easter service drew over 2,000 guests in 2019, will be livestreaming its Sunday service at 10 a.m. Pastor Jim Harris remained optimistic in an interview with Deseret News earlier in the week.

“It’s a great time for everybody to come together and see others in the church ... and encourage one another,” Harris said. “That’s what we miss the most. It’s not so disappointing that it was moved online. It’s still a great celebration for us. It’s what gives us hope.”