ORANGE, Conn. -- PEZ Candy abruptly canceled its third annual Easter egg hunt Saturday after parents stormed the field in Connecticut, according to a company news release.
Children as young as 4 were pushed aside by parents eager to grab as many of the 9,000 eggs hidden in three fields, according to FOX61.
Pez General Manager Shawn Peterson told CBS affiliate WFSB that parents rushed in "like locusts."
It was originally advertised to be three separate events, to be broken up by age groups, beginning at 10:30 a.m., before a visit from the Easter Bunny, according to the PEZ Company.
Instead of waiting for their designated time, people chose to enter the first field before anyone from PEZ starting the event, the release said.
"When it came time, at like 10:30 a.m. ET, the parents just bum-rushed that area," West Haven resident Nicole Welch told WFSB. "When my son left, he had a broken basket, and he was hysterically crying."
The general manager and other staff quickly responded to the situation, letting visitors know if someone didn't get an egg or candy, they would be compensated, the release said.
"We made efforts to get everyone something before they left and passed out tons of candy and coupons," PEZ said. "Due to the actions of a few, the good intent turned into a mess."
Following the events, disgruntled parents took to the PEZ Candy Facebook page to complain.
"This event was a joke to put it mildly," said Susan Kristie Nadori DeRose. "We have a 3-year-old. The parents, first of all, were letting their uncontrolled children pick up eggs prior to the start. Then when the event started all the parents rushed in and we're picking up the eggs."
Parents reacted by posting on the Pez Facebook page after the event.
Pez released the following statement:
“Unfortunately people chose to enter the first field prior to anyone from PEZ staff starting the activity. The crowd moved to the second field, waited for only a couple of minutes and proceeded to rush the field without being directed to do so and before the posted start time.
The general manager and other staff Visitor Center staff members were on hand trying to talk with as many people as we possibly could, letting them know if someone didn’t get an egg or candy, we had plenty of candy at the front entry for them. We sincerely tried our best to create a fun, free activity for everyone to enjoy.
We made efforts to get everyone something before they left and passed out tons of candy and coupons and the front entry and tried to make the best of an unfortunate situation. Due to the actions of a few, the good intent quickly turned into a mess. I would like to sincerely apologize to each of our guests, this was not something created to frustrate or make people angry. We only wanted to do good for the local community."
No injuries were reported.