DESTIN — "Those are for adults," the young mother whispered as she whisked her two curious children past the Boathouse Oyster Bar on Saturday morning as staff members laid colorful plastic Easter eggs among the bar's picnic tables. "It's a adult Easter egg party."
Chronologically speaking, she was right. But it was fair for her children to wonder, since many of the adults on hand for the Boathouse's inaugural Slacker Easter Keg Hunt, with proceeds benefiting the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), showed up wearing fuzzy bunny ears in a rainbow of hues and T-shirts with slogans like "Hand Over the Eggs and Nobody Gets Hurt."
Two participants, Sierra Riddle and Aubrey Reidinger, took their costumes to the next level.
The two young women, who live just down the street from the Boathouse, were dressed as Easter ducks. The fronts of their yellow T-shirts were outfitted with orange felt duck lips and black and white pieces of felt fashioned into eyes. Down low on the backside of their T-shirts they had attached some downy white feathers.
"Look at us!" Riddle said. "We're two hot chicks!"
On a more serious note, Riddle said she and Reidinger are intensely interested in helping PAWS.
"We have two PAWS dogs," she said. "We had to be here."
The Easter Keg Hunt, the latest in the "Slacker" series of events that the Boathouse began staging last year, was actually three contests in one. Participants who paid $30 — $35 on Saturday morning — for the privilege of taking part in an almost certainly unique Easter activity, could chose between the Egg Hunt, the Keg Race or the Best Dressed competition.
Many lucky egg hunters found their eggs filled with Jello shots while other eggs were filled with coins redeemable for T-shirts and gift certificates. Keg Race participants spent their morning looking for three kegs hidden on Boathouse grounds — and drinking an 8-ounce beer at each location — all for a chance at prizes including a gift basket. Best Dressed participants were evaluating by judges circulating in the crowd.
The goal for the Slacker Easter Keg Hunt was to help PAWS become a no-kill shelter, hopefully as early as 2021, according to Boathouse owner Missy Schofield.
"They just took in a lot of dogs," Schofield said of the need to assist PAWS.
The Easter Keg Hunt was born just as the other Slacker events (next up is the second annual Slacker 0.5K Run on May 25) were conceived, according to Cali Hlavac, who handles marketing for the business.
"We were all just goofing around, and we came up with this," Hlavac said.
The Boathouse's Slacker events have attracted a following, including Mike and Mellisa Harris, who showed up in bunny ears for the Easter Keg Hunt.
"We love all the Slacker stuff," Mike said.
"Boathouse is our favorite local place," Mellisa added.
And in what likely will be good news for the Harrises and other Slacker fans, it appears the Easter Keg Hunt has earned a permanent place among Boathouse events.
"Oh, yeah!" Schofield said when asked if the hunt would be back next year.
But whatever charitable events the Boathouse may include in its Slacker series, the important thing for the business is helping the community.
"We're just trying to find a way to give back," Hlavac said.