Southern Palmetto Farms in Aynor may have had to cancel their third annual helicopter egg drop, but they found a way to give back to the community in a fun way instead.

Their Easter egg hunt event usually sells out with hundreds of egg-hunters in attendance, but with the social distancing guidelines given by Gov. Henry McMaster, SPF owners Heath and Stephanie Squires didn’t feel comfortable keeping the event on the calendar.

“We just felt we had to do our part," Stephanie Squires said. "As much as we hated to cancel, we wanted to protect our guests and communities the best we knew how."

After the cancellation though, she said she got lots of messages and phone calls about how important that egg hunt was to the children in the community, and Squires said she plans to host some form of Easter egg hunt later this year, even if it’s in the summer.

Until that time comes, they thought of a way that the children in the nearby communities could still get a glimpse of the Easter Bunny. Since Tuesday, each night their family has gone out to different neighborhoods to drive through with their mascot Casey the Cow, along with the Easter Bunny.

“There are no vehicle stops for social distancing purposes,” Stephanie Squires said. “But it gives people a chance to get outside and see us and put some smiles on their faces.”

Squires said they try to publish out their drive-through schedule about three days ahead of time through their Facebook page, and they’ve visited areas of Aynor, Conway, and parts of Myrtle Beach. 

While she has received numerous requests for different streets and neighborhoods, they likely won’t be able to fit them all in before Easter.

“I would love to make every request happen, but we have just been inundated,” Squires said.

She said that it’s heartwarming to see that it isn’t just the children who are getting excited about the visits.

“One senior citizen saw us coming and took off in a full sprint, and went to get his wife and his dog," she said. "They love it."

It warms their heart to see neighbors already in their driveways waiting to see them when they turn into a neighborhood, and even some kids who are waving from their bedroom windows as they pass by.

It’s a family affair for them, as their two daughters help with the visits, and she likes that it is also helping to teach them how important it is to give back to the community.

“[We just want to] spread some positivity,” she said. “Everybody could just use a little hope right now.”

Squires said they will try to have a couple of drive-throughs through the week leading up to Easter Sunday.

They made several stops Saturday, including the Windsor Springs neighborhood near Conway. 

"It was a nice idea," said Nicole Lees, who asked Southern Palmetto Farms to come to her community. "When I've seen other people, they were excited. Kids were running and jumping in the yards — excitement for seeing the bunny and the cow. … A lot of people are really upset. They can't go out. They can't do anything. This was really fun."

In addition to the characters' visit, Lees invited children and their parents to follow the white pickup carrying the bunny and the cow through the neighborhood. Some dressed up as superheroes and princesses, and they lined up a driveway apart to maintain social distance.

"We figured this would be the best way," said Lees, a substitute teacher at nearby Pee Dee Elementary School. "They can still have fun, get dressed up, see their other friends … and bring cheer to the neighborhood." 

To get a glimpse of Casey the Cow and the Easter Bunny, check out the Southern Palmetto Farms Facebook page to find out which neighborhoods they will visit next.

Contact Charles D. Perry at 843-488-7236

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