Strong winds and dark clouds on Saturday did not stop the first Helicopter Egg Drop at Faith Baptist Mill Creek church.
A red, four-seat light helicopter safely dropped about 2,000 Easter eggs into a fenced-off area west of the church, 1S455 S. Mill Creek Drive near Geneva. Children throughout a crowd of roughly 675 families cheered every time another batch of eggs fell from 35 feet above the ground.
"It was super cool," said Joanna Hellyer of Yorkville. "The kids really enjoyed seeing the helicopter come in and drop all the eggs."
Hellyer came to the event with her two children, two of her nieces and her mother. This was her family's first time at an Easter Egg hunt with a helicopter and the group's first time at Faith Baptist Mill Creek.
Grant Diamond, the church's head pastor, ended up meeting several new faces beyond his congregation of about 80 people, including residents from DuPage and DeKalb counties. The event was held partly to change the perception for younger generations that churches are judgmental places, Diamond said.
"There were lots of new opportunities to share the love of God with people and invite them out to Easter," Diamond said after the event.
Diamond and the parents all admitted they were nervous about the helicopter and weather before the event. High winds forced Grant MacDonald, head pilot at Chicago Helicopter Express, to change course so that he could land on the church grounds safely, Diamond said.
Someone dressed as the Easter Bunny emerged from the helicopter and waved to shouting children before the eggs were loaded up. After the bright orange barrier fence was moved several feet south to Main Street, the helicopter took off and circled above the church building before making the egg drop.
The church put together a good event that had warm weather, said Joe Rodriguez, who walked over from his Mill Creek home with his family to watch the event. Children were able to enter the Easter Egg hunt area after the helicopter made the egg drop and landed again.
Rodriguez thought the Easter egg drop and hunt were well organized. Grant said the day went smoothly due to the help of 40 volunteers, including those who filled eggs, as well as event partners Chick-fil-A and the Mill Creek Golf Club.
"We look forward to doing it again next year," Diamond said.