Easter hats top off annual tradition | RecordCourier.com

Easter hats top off annual tradition

by Caryn Haller

Shannon Litz/The Record-Courier

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Mel Grimm, 72, laughed as he looked in the mirror Wednesday to see how he looked in his large straw Easter hat with a bunny on top.

“It looks good. I like it,” the Minden resident said. “When I was a kid, we’d get dressed up on Easter and go to church. My sister would have her basket and hat. This was back in the ’40s.”

Grimm will join a dozen other seniors 11:30 a.m. today in the annual Easter hat parade at the Douglas County Senior Center.

“I’ll do anything once,” Grimm added. “It’s something to do, and it gets people in the spirit.”

Esther Hildebrand started the annual parade with the goal of making seniors laugh.

“I wanted the seniors to have fun. That’s the main goal to see them laugh and have a good time,” she said. “The first year we did this there were so many of them we had to take a picture outside on the porch.”

On Wednesday, Hildebrand was making hats for Commissioner Lee Bonner and other guests.

Her creations included straw hats with colorful Easter eggs, stuffed bunny rabbits, and colored Easter grass.

“Laughter is good medicine, and they’re going to laugh when they see some of these,” Hildebrand said. “I’m not making them pretty. I’m making them silly for men.”

Over the many years of Easter parades, Hildebrand has seen a wide variety of hats grace the dining room runway.

“One year a lady used a kitchen colander and had it turned upside down and decorated. Another year Ray Gardiol cut flowering branches off a tree and stuck them around the band,” she recalled. “Allen Bartshe had an ugly crow on his.”

Evelyn Christian, 84, said she was going to wear her hat, topped with red carnations and white lace, in the parade and to church Sunday.

“I think it will be fun. When I was younger I wore Easter hats to church,” Christian said. “I haven’t worn a hat in a long time. Maybe this will help me get back into it.”