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An Easter egg hunt in Colorado has been cancelled because of overzealous parents who do whatever it takes to make sure their kids get an egg.

The Easter egg hunt in Bancroft Park, a historic area near Colorado Springs, began as a small, friendly neighbourhood event.

But last year it devolved in to a fiasco, prompting organizers to cancel this year's hunt. With nowhere to hide the plastic eggs – which were filled with candy or coupons redeemable at nearby businesses – thousands of them were placed on the grass in plain sight.

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Hundreds of parents and children stood eyeing the goodies. Matters got out of hand when the master of ceremonies was forced to use a public address system that was difficult to hear. At its first crackle, a large number of parents jumped a rope set up to let only kids in to the park.

"So everybody think you said 'Go,' and everybody goes, and it's over in seconds. If one parent gets in there, other parents say, 'If one can get in we all can get in,' and everybody goes," Mazie Baalman, owner of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and sponsor of the event, told the Associated Press.

Ron Alsop, author of The Trophy Kids Grow Up, about the "millennial" generation of today's coddled kids, called the hunt "the perfect metaphor for millennial children." He added, "They [parents]can't stay out of their children's lives. They don't give their children enough chances to learn from hard knocks, mistakes."

One man who had brought his friend's four-year-old son to the Easter egg hunt in 2009 said he was not surprised that parents would jump a rope to assist their children.

"You have all these eggs just lying around, and parents helping out. You better believe I'm going to help my kid get one of those eggs. I promised my kid an Easter egg and I'd want to give him an even edge," he said.

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