Friday, April 10, 2009

Eggshell Land

On this, one of the holiest days of the Lenten season, I'd like to talk about a lighter topic. Egg shells. Or more specifically, Eggshell Land.

Located close enough to my house that I can walk to the display, Eggshell Land is an annual Easter display put on for more than 50 years by the Manoli family of Lyndhurst, OH. If you're picturing some sort of garish display of bunnies and crusifixes, you've got it all wrong. Eggshell Land is a beautifully thought out display featuring over 25,000 real, hand-painted egg shells placed in beautiful designs that match each year's theme. This year's theme is "Zoo's Who" and has lions, tigers, bears, and more. (There's one display this year of a butterfly that is really amazing.) According to the official Eggshell Land website, the display started in 1957 with 750 shells and has grown from there. Every year, in addition to the displays related to the theme, there's the Easter bunny and one gigantic cross. I suppose you have to have those things in an Easter display, but the way they're crafted, they look beautiful, not tacky. When you drop by Eggshell Land, family members are always out and about to talk to visitors and tell stories from over the years. Mr. Manoli seems to be a collector of classic cars, and he always has the car he took his wife out in on their first date over 50 years ago parked outside. It's really cute. When I've stopped by on weekends, I've seen a "live" Easter bunny taking pictures with children. It's a neat display to check out if you have any appreciation for unique art or have children who would get a kick out of seeing the displays.

I never really thought about how difficult it would be to acquire egg shells in 2009. I guess most restaurants use egg substitutes or liquid eggs that come in milk cartons, rather than "real" eggs anymore, making it hard for the Manoli family to get new eggshells. How sad is it that the use of "industrial" or food-service type food is threatening the procurement of fresh eggshells? I'm sure the family never would have thought that could ever happen when they started this display years ago.

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