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Jaylene’s Baking Company hosts third annual egg hunt
color egg
A total of over 4700 eggs will be filled and placed throughout Oakdale’s Fish Park on March 30 for the annual egg hunt hosted by Jaylene’s Baking Company. There will be four different group classifications for the Saturday morning hunt. Photo Contributed

It was a simple concept, which turned into something big and Jaylene Ponce could not be happier.

This Saturday, March 30, the small business owner of Jaylene’s Baking Company will host her Third Annual Customer Appreciation Egg Hunt. The event will once again be hosted at Fish Park on Cliffwood Way, off Pontiac Street in Oakdale. Guidelines and introduction for the free event will be staged on the tennis courts at 8:45 a.m. and egg hunts will begin at 9 a.m.

Photos with the Easter Bunny will begin at 8:15 a.m.

“It got started, because I just wanted to do something fun for my customers,” Ponce said. “A thank you, kind of thing.”

Well known throughout the area for her custom cookies and delicious baked goods, Ponce said the first year was small and intimate, primarily with customers.

“I mean you had your people that showed up, they weren’t necessarily my costumers, which I knew would happen and I was totally okay with,” she said of the inaugural year.

Since then, one might say the event has grown significantly. In 2022 a total of 1500 eggs were filled and placed for the hunt; in 2023 that doubled to 3000 eggs and this year a total of 4750 eggs will be scattered for participants to gather.

“This is pretty much out of my own pocket,” Ponce said of the eggs, as well as what they contain.

This year in an effort to offset some of the costs she hosted a cookie sale to build the fund a little bit.

In addition to the goodies she personally places in the eggs, Texas Roadhouse donates free kid meal vouchers to place in some; the Bordona Family has donated gift cards for the Modesto Children’s Museum, to be placed in the “Golden Eggs.” She’s also had some customers drop off candy or eggs to be filled.

“Every year I do golden eggs too, which normally has money in it,” Ponce stated. “So this year there will be money and some of them will have the gift cards to the Children’s Museum.”

Acknowledging the significant growth over the past three years, the generous community member noted she’s considered removing the “customer appreciation,” portion from the event name yet has decided otherwise.

“It was never about something just for my customers. I want something that people can bring their families to, they don’t have to spend money,” she said. “They can just come and have a good time. It’s quick, it’s fun, we have music.”

However, it does indeed take a village to make it all happen. With the help of over 30 youth at her church, each of the 4700-plus eggs will be filled. The day of the event, close to a dozen of the youth will be on hand to help disperse the eggs.

“The other new thing this year, this year we’re doing four hunts,” she said of offering a variety of groups. “So this year I added a Special Needs hunt. Any age, I don’t care if they just have anxiety. Just something where they may not have brought their kids because they don’t like bigger groups. Giving them their separate corner so they can take their time.”

Egg Hunt Groups are: Eight and older; four to eight-year-olds; Special needs (any age); and three and under, with their hunt on the tennis court.

“That way they can just let their kids loose. They don’t have to run on grass. They can shut them in and have fun,” the mother of two stated.

Watching the event grow from something small for customer appreciation to what it is now, may be daunting at times, but Ponce shared that has swayed her passion for it.

“It’s just something that I’ve wanted to do to give back to the community,” she stated, adding that seeing the community come together is what she enjoys most about hosting it each year. “It’s a free event. They don’t have to register. It’s just show up, have fun. The best part is seeing conversations happen, friends meeting up. It’s just a happy go lucky event.”

For additional information or inquiries, call or text Ponce at (209) 681-4838.

“I’ve always been an advocate that change starts within our own community,” Ponce continued. “I think it’s very evident that this world is a very hard place right now. So for me, truthfully, it’s just seeing there’s still a sense of community. There’s still good people in the world. It’s self-fulfilling. It brings my heart joy.”

Bunny egg
The Easter Bunny will once again be on hand for photos with attendees of the Third Annual Customer Appreciation Egg Hunt at Fish Park in Oakdale on Saturday, March 30, being hosted by Jaylene’s Baking Company. Photo Contributed