Here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail, hippity-hopping - hey, Easter's not just on its way, it's here!
Though for many kids the main event is the candy delivery - try not to eat it all before breakfast - there's plenty of stuff to do out and about, both before and on the big day itself (after you've checked out your basket, of course).
Get dressed up
Once a staple of Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia's Easter Promenade has long had a happy home on South Street in the Headhouse District. This year's event starts after church, at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Passyunk Avenue and South Street, heading east to Second Street Plaza.
The master of ceremonies, as he has been for the last 25 years, will be jeweler Henri David, a mustachioed local character who is pretty much marching in his own parade every day of the year, but always turns it up a notch for the Promenade.
There will be prizes given for the best-dressed in a variety of age categories, as well as family and pet categories. You're welcome to watch, but don't be surprised if you're given a pair of bunny ears and invited to take part, no matter your sartorial splendor or lack thereof.
In addition to the contests, there will be music by the Philadelphia Freedom Band, some dancing (the Bunny Hop, of course!), and appearances by Mr. and Mrs. Peter Cottontail and the Easter Bunny. Information: http://southstreet.com.
Down the Shore, the Easter Fashion Promenade takes place on the Boardwalk in Ocean City, N.J., starting at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace. Information: 609-525-9300.
Hunt for Easter eggs
Seek out those colorful ovoids of delight at one of the region's myriad egg hunts:
Awbury Arboretum, Chew Avenue and Arbury Road, at 10 a.m. Saturday. Information: 215-849-2855.
The Oval, 26th Street and the Parkway, adds a petting zoo, a kids tree climb, clog dancers, and bluegrass from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. Information: 215-683-3600.
Historic Stenton, 4601 N. 18th St., includes a program about natural dyes, egg coloring, games, and crafts from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday. Information: 215-329-7312.
Elmwood Park Zoo, 1661 Harding Blvd., Norristown, presents an Easter Bunny Brunch and Egg Hunt at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $30. Information: 610-277-3825.
See the Easter Bunny
Hop a hayride to the floppy-eared fellow's house, have a pony ride, and see some cute baby chicks in Bunnyland at Linvilla Orchards, 137 W. Knowlton Rd., Media, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $8 per person. Information: 610-874-4678.
Have your photo taken with the big guy himself (OK, the kids can get in there, too) at the Easter Bunny Photo Experience. He's at the Franklin Mills Mall, Woodhaven and Knights Roads, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Information: 215-632-1500. You can also catch him at the Montgomery Mall, Routes 202 and 309, North Wales, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Information: 215-362-1600.
See a real beach Bunny at Morey's Piers & Beachfront Water Parks, 3501 Boardwalk, in Wildwood, with pictures with the Easter Bunny from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, plus stilt walkers and jugglers, face painting, and an Easter egg game of chance. Information: 609-729-3700.
Enjoy jelly beans
They, like whatever else has sunk to the bottom of your basket, can be just as delicious as the top stuff. And while we're on the subject of this and that:
What did they use to color eggs before they had those little Paas capsules? Learn how to create rustic, subtle hues by extracting dye from plants and vegetables the really old-fashioned way, in an Egg-Coloring Workshop at Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve, 1635 River Rd. (Rte. 32), in New Hope, at 4 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $18 per family; bring six white hard-boiled eggs. Information: 215-862-2924.
Best for last: Chocolate bunnies are great and coconut cream eggs are fine, but the Easter treat that rules, we think, are those fabulous marshmallow Peeps, as good (and maybe better) in all their stale glory as they are fresh out of the box. The Big Blue Marble Bookstore, a Mount Airy gem, presents its first annual Peeps Diorama Contest at 1 p.m. on Sunday. You know the drill: Take some of the Day-Glo malleable treats, combine with shoebox, add some imagination, and voilà - a masterpiece. (If you want to enter, drop it off at the store, 551 Carpenter Lane, by 4 p.m. Saturday.)
Dioramas will be judged in three age categories: 12 and younger; 13 to 18; and 19 to Old Enough to Know Better, Young Enough to Try. Information: 215-844-1870.