“They loved it. It was something for them to look forward to when there is not too much to look forward to,” said Jenny Graham, who watched the Easter Bunny pass with her three children — Milo, Oliver and Evelyn.
NEWPORT — An oversized Easter Bunny made an extended appearance, winding through the city’s neighborhood streets for more than 2 hours on Easter Eve, also known has Holy Saturday.
The Bunny stood in the back of a Newport Department of Public Services pickup truck and waved to the children, parents, guardians and neighbors outside in the sunny mild weather. The procession received an escort from officers of the Newport Police Department.
The first siren announcing the beginning of the celebrity run was heard near the Festival Field Apartments shortly after 11 a.m.
Courtney Dalton of Middletown was waiting close by on Girard Avenue near the East Bay Met School with her two children, Naomi Willis, 9, and Bentley Willis, 4.
“I loved it,” Naomi said after waving enthusiastically at the Easter Bunny.
“I think it’s a beautiful thing to do during this time of quarantine,” Dalton said. “We got out of the house for something fun.”
Also waiting in the same turnaround area of the school were Susan Strom of Middletown with her son, Matthew Jarocki, 4.
“That was great — he loves the Easter Bunny so much,” Strom said. “He couldn’t contain his excitement.”
With cars following the pickup truck, it was a little procession that wound its way to the neighborhood at Pennacook and Yale streets, where there was a good-sized group of young children, parents and neighbors.
“I just loved watching my neighbors do their thing,” said Kathy Shea of Newport, who works in the City Solicitor’s office. “I love my neighborhood.”
The stars of the gathering were the kids, who included Milo, 3, and his twin 8-year-old siblings, Oliver and Evelyn, the children of Jenny Graham.
“They loved it,” Graham said. “It was something for them to look forward to when there is not too much to look forward to.”
Laurie McGlone was among the neighbors snapping cellphone photos of the different kids in the group.
“They’re her kids,” she said with a laugh, pointing toward a mother.
Down off Van Zandt Avenue, at Hall Avenue and Evarts Street, Navy Lt. Matt Den Herder and wife Caitlyn Den Herder were waiting with their son Joshua, who is 13 months.
“I like that Newport does things like this,” Caitlyn said. “We came out when they did the Santa ride. This is the first place we have lived where the city puts on fun neighborhood events like this that get people to come out and talk to each other.”
The Den Herders were transferred from San Diego about a year ago so the lieutenant could take a position at Naval Station Newport.
Scenes like this played out all over the city into the early afternoon.
Tess Brantingham was waiting at the corner of Bliss Road and Holten Avenue with her son Ryan, 6, and Ryan’s grandfather, Scott Brantingham.
“He has a pink cottontail,” Ryan said after the Easter Bunny passed.
And how did he like the drive-by bunny?
“It was good,” he said.
“It was great to get us out of the house for awhile,” Tess Brantingham said. “It gave us a chance to talk to our neighbors in the sunshine and gave the kids a little excitement.”
Frank Doyle and wife Anna Hattendorf were at Kay Street and Eustis Avenue with their three children, Freja, 10, Porter, 9, and Levi, 4.
“We tracked the Easter Bunny at three different times to three different locations,” Doyle said. “Hence the scooters.”
“It was great to get them out of the house,” he said. “Even with all this going on, their spirit is still strong. They are very excited about tomorrow.”
Alex and Jaclyn Turnbull were waiting patiently at the corner of lower Thames Street and Dearborn Street before the Easter Bunny finally showed up. The procession was running behind schedule at this point in the trek.
“It’s a beautiful day, minus the wind,” Alex Turnbull said. “We get out when we can. Hopefully, the bunny comes.”
About 10 minutes later, the Easter Bunny was waving at them and others along the stretch.
“It was great, giving us all a little sense of normalcy,” said Tim Moulton.
He was at the event with his wife, Emily Moulton, and their children, Finley, 7, and Milo, 3.
“This was so much fun,” Emily Moulton said. “We weren’t planning on doing too much tomorrow. This gave us a chance to get out and celebrate the day.”
The procession continued to Wellington Avenue, Harrison Avenue and even went to the Fort Adams neighborhood behind the Eisenhower House before winding back to the city and downtown.
Since there were plenty of detours to catch the smaller neighborhood streets, it was past 1:30 p.m. before the small procession reached the group waiting at Bridge and Third streets across from the Gateway Center, near the end of the line. The printed schedule estimated the procession would be arriving here by 12:45 p.m., so the group had a bit of a wait.
“It was worth it,” said City Councilwoman Jeanne-Marie Napolitano, who was there with her grandson, Brian Napolitano, 5, the son of Joe Napolitano and Jen Arnold.
“It took a long time, but we got to see him,” Napolitano said.
“I liked it,” Brian said afterward.
Alison Costa was with her child, Shiloh Devos, 7, and they didn’t seem to mind the wait.
“Just to get out of the house on such a nice day was tremendous,” Costa said. “We were going absolutely stir-crazy.”