AURORA — With one splat after another, the tension grew Sunday in Aurora.
Egg after egg cracked as it hit the unforgiving pavement, shattering the dreams of the young contestants outside the Edgerton Explorit Center. The protective cases fashioned by the participants weren’t good enough to protect the delicate cargo inside, as more than 20 eggs broke upon impact. After a while, you didn’t even have to look at an egg to see if it survived. You could tell by the sound.
For the first time in its seven-year history, the Splat Egg Drop Testing was in danger of ending without a winner.
But 7-year-old Gavin Jacobsen stepped up to wear the yoke of champion. The Aurora first-grader was the only competitor to surround his egg with enough padding to survive the fall.
At least 36 kids competed in the egg drop contest, which is aptly named. The eggs that don’t survive remind you of egg drop soup.
The eggs were dropped onto the parking lot from a height of 25 feet by Explorit Center senior educator Dan Glomski. He stood in the bucket of a truck provided by Hamilton Telecommunications. About 75 people gathered around, watching the competition.
Participants had 20 minutes to build their protective cases, using such objects as a toilet paper tube, a balloon, rubber bands, straws and a clear plastic lid.
Glomski changes the list of materials each year, using whatever he has at hand. “No, I haven’t tried it myself,” he said, adding that he was curious himself to see how the drop turned out.
Ten to 15 percent of the eggs dropped each year don’t break, Glomski said.
Last year, six eggs survived the crash. The year before, the number was three.
Not only does the list of materials change, so does the height of the bucket.
“I think he went higher this year. Because we had so many winners last year, he wanted to make it a little harder — just to challenge them,” said Mary Molliconi, the Explorit Center’s executive director.
The egg drop contest is part of the Easter Eggstravaganza, which is sponsored by the Aurora Chamber of Commerce. It’s one of the events that people look forward to, Molliconi said. The Easter party is one of the Center’s four or five special events each year.
The turnout for the Eggstravaganza grows every year, she said.
“It’s just fun to see how excited the kids get about science,” she said.
Harold Edgerton, after whom the center is named, liked to teach in a way that people didn’t know what they were learning until it was too late.
The egg drop is a good example, she said. The competitors learned about the scientific process, building and teamwork. “It’s just great to see,” she said.
Glomski said there’s a lot of science you can learn with eggs. In fact, there’s “a lot of science you can do with spring in general.”
The Eggstravaganza is fun, he said. “And hopefully, the kids will learn something about science along the way.”
Vincent Marcello, 11, is one of the youngsters who put some thought into his egg’s protective shell. He used the bed of nails theory, he said. He surrounded the egg with straws that were meant to keep it from cracking.
To get ready for Sunday, Molliconi ordered 30 dozen eggs.
For the first time, the Explorit Center held an egg drop as part of Eggstravaganza. Fifty people tossed eggs back and forth across the street from the Explorit Center.
The egg toss was won by Chaz Boeder, who attends Hampton Lutheran School, and 18-year-old Jakob Loee, an exchange student.
Boeder, 8, said he was “eggcited” about the victory.
When it was all over, the field of battle was littered with yolks and broken shells.
If you don’t like to see an egg wasted, Aurora was not the place to be.
Boeder and Jacobsen won free admission to one of the Explorit Center’s summer camps.
Sunday’s activities included an Easter egg hunt. Kids also amused themselves with inflatables and the science activity stations inside the building.
The Easter Bunny was a guest of honor.