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Eggshelland – A Colorful Easter Tradition Made of Eggshells

One of the world’s most impressive Easter traditions, Eggshelland features a number of colorful lawn mosaics made of Easter eggshells.
Every year, Ron and Betty Manolio, from Lyndhurst, Ohio, create a set of intricate eggshell mosaics right on their front lawn. It all started back in 1957, when Ron’s mother used 750 colored eggshells to make a cross on her lawn, and Ron and his wife carried on the tradition, coming up with different themes and complex mosaics each year after that.
First, the Manolios come up with a fresh theme, one that always includes the symbols of Easter – a fifty-foot cross and the Easter Bunny. Then Betty draws a plan of the display on a special piece of paper covered with a grid of small boxes, colors the pictures and they both count the number of eggs required and colors needed for the project. After they make sure they have all the necessary eggshells, they lay out the grid of the drawings on the lawn and start placing support sticks in the ground. Finally, the colored eggshells are placed over the sticks to create the actual mosaics.
In the beginning, Ron and Betty saved their own eggshells, by making a dime-sized hole in the bottom of the eggs and draining out the contents, but as their designs became more complex and required tens of thousands of eggshells, the two made a deal with a local restaurant that supplies them with extra-large ones. They still paint all of them by hand using a special enamel paint.

Last year the Manolios’ Eggshelland display featured over 40,000 colored eggshells, and there’s a good chance they’ll top that number in 2011. While their lawn is smaller than you may think, the two always manage to crowd a significant number of eggshells in a way that doesn’t look at all crowded. Unfortunately, they also get an average breakage loss of 1,500 eggshells per year, but compared to the 10,238 they lost in 1998 to a hail storm, and the 11,941 they lost to heavy snow, in 2005, the average doesn’t sound that bad. Plus, the admiration and smiles they get from visitors and passers-by keep them going year after year.
Eggshelland is usually all set up on the Sunday before Easter and dismantled after the holiday. If you like offbeat Easter traditions, you might want to check out the Easter Tree, decorated with thousands of dyed eggs.


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