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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Annapolitan Continues Easter Traditions, Promotes Community Togetherness  

Ashley Ballinger is an Annapolitan who fondly recalls dying Easter eggs at home with her older sister, Takia Williams. The pair grew up in the nineties embracing Easter traditions in Wanda Evans’ household. Ballinger and Williams became accustomed to wearing Easter hats and pretty dresses to church. Adventurous Easter egg hunts followed. The Easter family tradition commenced with their maternal grandmother, Dorethea Evans. 

   In time, Ballinger began to look forward to an additional Easter stop. She began attending a kiddie disco at the American Legion on Forest Drive with her father, Jeffrey McGhee. Ashley’s cousins joined in the fun to receive Easter baskets, hunt for Easter eggs outdoors on Easter Day, and just dance!  

   “The dance contest and best dressed contest was a hit,” Ballinger said reminiscing. 

   Today, the owner of Events By Ashley B, LLC has not lost the desire to merge the meaning behind Easter—which celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection after crucifixion— with childhood joy. Ballinger is known for creating memories by utilizing her event planning talents. She sponsored a free, fun-filled Easter celebration on April 10, 2022 in Annapolis. Ballinger invited families to celebrate the Easter holiday before its arrival on April 17. The 2022 Easter egg hunt featured activities such as dying eggs; participating in a potato sack race; trying out an egg and spoon race; writing with sidewalk chalk; coloring Easter sheets; and searching for a golden egg.

“The event was held at Annapolis Walk Recreation Center in Annapolis,” Ballinger said, noting that it took place in indoor and outdoor spaces. “The children came excited and ready to participate for the hunt. It was so nice to see them all engage in the activities as they had a great time!”

 Approximately 60 people showed up for the Easter festivities, according to Ballinger. The successful turnout made purchasing and toting loads of plastic eggs, Easter grass, small toys, food, and beverages well worth the effort.  

Two-year-old, Kevin Howard, Jr. spends time with the Easter bunny.
Photo courtesy of Ashley B, LLC

Ballinger is no stranger to volunteering in her hometown of Annapolis. She previously sponsored back to school events, distributed Thanksgiving dinner baskets, and coat drives, before and during the pandemic. The Easter event was yet one more chance to get involved in spreading cheer. The entrepreneur covered the cost of the Easter event by using funds that she generated from her small business. Although donations were unsolicited, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development sponsored items.

“Giving back to the community was a way for me to show families that we can still celebrate for the holidays,” Ballinger said. “I know that the pandemic has made it difficult for gatherings but there are a lot of ways to celebrate special moments. Continue to make it meaningful and memorable!”

Stephanie Jones hails from the Annapolis area. She brought two children to Ballinger’s latest event. She is a fan of attending her events and supporting Ballinger.

“Ashley is really amazing,” Jones said, naming all the thoughtful things Ballinger does in the community. “She’s always been a joy to be around.”

Jones enjoyed the good times she was able to experience at the Easter event. She mentioned how hard she laughed during the exciting sack race.

Children enjoy a sack race during Ashley Ballinger’s community event.
Photo courtesy of Ashley B, LLC

 Ballinger accomplished her goal of ensuring that community members and their children like Jones’ family could laugh off a bit of pandemic stress and come together like old times in Annapolis, when small town charm often brought people together. People like Ballinger remind that even in tough times, having fun can still work wonders. No matter where people reside, bringing the community together builds generational bonds and generational traditions.

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