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Downtown Lehighton is full of wooden bunnies

Lehighton’s downtown business district is full of bunnies.

As in the 11 bunnies that have been placed in wine barrels along First Street as a means to decorate the downtown in the spirit of the Easter holiday.

The project is a joint initiative between the Lehighton Downtown Initiative and the Promotions Committee from the Main Street Steering Committee, according to LDI/MSSC member Mark Hoffman.

Hoffman said there are 11 wine barrels that originally had wooden snowmen placed inside them last year as a way to decorate the town while the Lehighton Downtown Initiative planted flowers in them.

He said the idea for the barrels came about while working with Brian Greene, D&L Trail program manager, who gave a presentation to various groups and residents in the borough looking for ways he could help the borough designate itself as a trail town.

Hoffman said there was minimal grant money to award the borough for the appropriate idea, and that the LDI took the lead working with Greene and came up with the idea for the barrels.

He said LDI planted annual flowers in the barrels last spring/summer, and that LDI President Ryan Saunders followed up by making 11 wooden snowmen in time for this past Christmas holiday season.

Hoffman said the idea of the wooden bunnies was to help the barrels look “fresh” again, and at the same time, complement the downtown Easter decorating contest that was scheduled to be launched by the Promotion Committee of the Main Street Steering Committee, but had to be postponed due to the coronavirus.

“The bunnies are another way to make people smile,” Hoffman said. “People are going to have to be creative.”

Hoffman said the bunnies were a true team effort with the wood being donated by Lowe’s and Saunders, while the metal stakes that hold the bunnies in the barrels were donated by resident Grant Hunsicker. Hoffman and his wife, Diane, took the lead in cutting out the bulk of the bunnies, and recruited Preston Solt for the small intricate cuts. The original art work was done by Beth Franks.

Hoffman said that each of the bunnies are unique, and said that the barrels are located at the north end of the borough, starting under the Welcome to Lehighton sign.

Other locations include in front of Joker’s Are Wild Game Cafe; in front of Community Bank; in front of Claypooles General Store; two that are at the corner of South and First streets; two in the Lower Park; in front of Ateira’s on First; in front of Blended Bakery; and the last one just south of Lehighton Hobbies.

Darin McCaa, co-owner of Ateira’s on First, said he believes it’s a nice way to bring the people in the town together.

“We’re out here to gather the community together,” McCaa said. “Brighten it up a little bit.”

Together, the family-owned business recently changed up its business model to offer reasonable take out meals for families.

“We’re just looking to help them out,” Darin said. “We’re giving people a little bit of help.”

Ateira's on First co-owners Rich Arieta, Christine McCaa and Darin McCaa, along with Lehighton Downtown Initiative/Main Street Steering Committee member Byron Schnell shown next to one of the 11 wooden bunnies that have been placed inside wine barrels that adorn First Street in downtown Lehighton. TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS