Dozens of Easter egg hunts are happening around the city this weekend, but one church in Northeast Philadelphia is taking its eggs to the sky: Tacony’s CityReach Church is dropping 6,000 candy-filled Easter eggs from a helicopter on Saturday.

No, the eggs will not be dropped on people’s heads (or houses). They will be dropped into a designated, roped-off area that — once the eggs have landed safely — will be opened to children for happy hunting. There will be 30,000 eggs to collect in total; the remaining 24,000 will be scattered (by hand) around the fields for kids to find.

The free egg drop/hunt will happen at 1:45 p.m. at the River Fields along State Road near Rhawn Street as part of a larger CityReach event called the Easter Experience, which starts at noon. The Easter Experience also includes bouncy houses, games, and face painting. In addition, the church will distribute 900 nonperishable meals for families.

“The idea for the egg drop came from my wife,” said Mark Novales, a pastor at CityReach. “She saw some churches doing egg drops last year in Florida and other states, and she said, ‘Why can’t we do that in this city?’”

A helicopter drops eggs onto Tarpon Springs High School's football field in Tarpon Springs, Fla.
A helicopter drops eggs onto Tarpon Springs High School's football field in Tarpon Springs, Fla.

The couple mentioned the idea to a few people in their neighborhood, and eventually Sixth District Councilman Bobby Henon caught wind of it. He was immediately excited and offered to support the event. After all the pieces fell into place, the church officially began planning the egg drop last October. It purchased 15,000 plastic eggs and filled them with Easter treats; the rest were donated by Northeast Philadelphia neighbor Frankford Candy. Four hundred eggs are earmarked as “golden,” meaning they contain gift certificates.

Novales hired the helicopter for the egg drop from Sky River Helicopters at Northeast Philadelphia Airport. The company does egg drops fairly frequently in the suburbs, but has never done one in Philadelphia. The eggs will be loaded into the aircraft in buckets and scattered around the field from an altitude of about 200 feet.

“We tested them on concrete from that height, and they didn’t break open,” Novales said. “So we’re expecting things to be OK.”

Novales said he expects at least 1,000 people atr the event, depending on weather. Rain is predicted for morning, but the pastor is hoping that the inclement weather blows over by the afternoon. The helicopter can fly in light rain, but it may be grounded if there are stronger winds.

“We’re doing it to provide the community with a really fun event,” Novales said. “But we also want to let people know that there are some amazing churches in the city and encourage them to go to a church on Easter.”