Children pick up Easter eggs at Bellis Fair April 8 during the mall’s Easter egg hunt. Hundreds of kids showed up to search for 5,000 eggs hidden in common spaces around the mall. (Finn Wendt/Cascadia Daily News)

Staff Reporter

Through the doors of Bellis Fair mall and just beyond a trail of pink bunny footprints, hundreds of families gathered Saturday morning in search of more than 5,000 plastic Easter eggs.  

At the event, hosted by Bellis Fair management, little ones delighted in filling their baskets with candy, as well prizes and vouchers redeemable at roughly 35 stores within the mall.  Of the more than 250 children pre-registered, one lucky raffle winner even got to take home a 2-foot-tall, 8-pound chocolate bunny, donated by Chocolate Necessities. 

“Here in Washington, outside Easter egg hunts are flip-a-coin — it could be a beautiful morning, or it could be pouring rain,” said David Prince, assistant property manager of Bellis Fair Mall. “And so the idea was, ‘hey, let’s provide an indoor, perfectly comfortable environment where we can provide hundreds of kids the opportunity to go have a great time.’”  

Children wait for the Easter egg hunt to begin. (Finn Wendt/Cascadia Daily News) 

By just after 9:30 a.m., families dashed across their respective starting lines. Children under 3 looked out onto a rainbow of eggs scattered across the floor in front of Dick’s Sporting Goods, while older kids, divided into 4–6 and 7–10 age groups, quickly spied their hidden treasure beneath the leaves of potted plants and around the corners of surrounding businesses.  

Families also had the chance to join in on a springtime story time hosted by the Bellingham Public Library, a photo corner with the Easter Bunny and a coloring station. 

“I think this is great,” event-goer Steve Ruben said. “It’s nice to see all the kids out here having a good time.” 

Ruben’s 5-year-old, Mace, agreed. 

“I got all this candy,” Mace said, revealing a handful of chocolate eggs and an empty Twix wrapper from a pastel blue Easter basket.  

The Easter egg hunt is also part of a broader effort by Bellis Fair Mall to re-envision its future in the community. 

In December 2022, 4th Dimension Properties closed on an auction sale of the mall. Since the purchase, new management has been brainstorming ways to bring foot traffic back to the mall in the face of online shopping’s growing popularity. A big part of that conversation, Prince said, has been considering what the mall can offer beyond shopping. 

Parents and children walk to the starting point of the Easter egg hunt. (Finn Wendt/Cascadia Daily News)

“It has to provide not just shopping experiences but other types of experiences, as well to be a place that people want to come and have fun,” Prince said. 

For event-goers like Sara Eftekhar, that approach seems to be working.  

Eftekhar, who lives in British Columbia, said her family occasionally comes to Bellis Fair for shopping. When she visited last month and heard the mall was planning an Easter event, she knew she had to come back with her daughter, Amina.  

“We woke up so early just to come here as a family,” Eftekhar said.  

As Bellis Fair looks to the future, Prince said he hopes to continue to organize family experiences and welcome new local vendors. 

“We’re really trying to focus on more community involvement, and local-type businesses have a place here that maybe they did in the past,” he said. “I think a lot of people think of a place like a mall as all the national chains, the big brands, but we want it to be more than that.”