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Southfield — It was raining marshmallows on Friday.

More than 15,000 of the fluffy, sugary treats came pouring down onto a field at Catalpa Oaks Park from a helicopter, prompting children to scoop them up and exchange for a prize to take home.

“The marshmallow drop definitely puts a twist on your typical Easter Egg hunt,” said Shaniqua Board of Pontiac, 34, a mother of two, ages 16 months and 3. “My sister has been talking to me about this event for quite some time now, so we decided to bring our babies. ... We really wanted to see what all the excitement was about.”

The Oakland County event was one of several marshmallow drops in Metro Detroit leading up to the celebration of Easter on Sunday.

The county began its marshmallow drop 40 years ago but only starting holding it annually since 2009, said Brandy Boyd, chief of recreation programs and services for Oakland County.

“This is one of our largest events to kick-off our spring season,” said Boyd, who estimated 10,000 people came for Friday’s drop.

Children at the free event participated by age groups: ages 4 and younger and individuals with disabilities; ages 5-7 and ages 8-12.

The helicopter flew over three times, once for each age group. Children in the crowd screamed with excitement and tried to break loose from their parents as they watched the marshmallows dance their way to the ground.

A few of the smaller children tried to eat them, and some were encouraged by their parents to pick them and place inside their Easter baskets.

It was no longer than 10 minutes before the field was clear.

“It’s important that we show that we are a community, and we are a community of all the people,” Oakland County Commissioner Nancy Quarles said. “We are all young at heart. We’re having a good time, and that is what bring us here this morning.”

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