ORANGE, Conn., March 28 (UPI) -- Candy maker PEZ called a premature end to its annual Easter egg hunt in Connecticut when unruly parents refused to follow directions and stormed the field.
PEZ Candy USA released a statement explaining the Saturday morning event at the company's headquarters in Orange descended into chaos when parents refused to follow the instructions of staff members charged with keeping the egg hunt orderly.
The company said three fields had been prepared with more than 9,000 eggs hidden for the 1,000 participants in the egg hunt, and the fields were meant to be separated by age groups. However, groups of parents stormed all three fields before the signal to start was given and refused to listen to the staff members, PEZ said.
"Unfortunately people chose to enter the first field prior to anyone from PEZ staff starting the activity. The crowd moved to the second field, waited for only a couple of minutes and proceeded to rush the field without being directed to do so and before the posted start time," the statement said.
"We made efforts to get everyone something before they left and passed out tons of candy and coupons and the front entry and tried to make the best of an unfortunate situation. Due to the actions of a few, the good intent quickly turned into a mess. I would like to sincerely apologize to each of our guests, this was not something created to frustrate or make people angry. We only wanted to do good for the local community."
Nicole Simmons, an Ansonia resident, said the event had already been called off by the time she arrived with her 6-year-old daughter.
"We've been there quite a few times before but never have seen a crowd like that for any of their events," Simmons told the Hartford Courant. "Even in the few minutes we were there you could see the crowd of people almost like a swarm covering the field and just everywhere with no disregard that there were other people, children and cars around them."
Parent Liz Soars, who also arrived only to find the event was over early, said the lines for consolation prizes were extremely long.
She shared a photo of the line on Facebook.
"I'm sorry your establishment was so poor with planning that they apologize for children not listening instead of being unprepared for such and event. I'll wait in this line after my drive just to personally let management know my level of disappointment and poor excuse of an apology," Soars wrote.