Parents and children rush out to collect candy during an annual Easter egg hunt at Huntington Beach Sports Complex on Saturday. (KEVIN CHANG, HB Independent / April 21, 2014)

Trystan Huynh stared intently at the field in front of him and did his best to mimic a raging bull before it charges, kicking up dirt from underneath his feet.

He and hundreds of other children had the same glassy-eyed stare Saturday as they gazed at the pieces of candy scattered across a field at the Huntington Beach Central Park Sports Complex.

"I like the round candy," said Trystan, 3, of Westminster, as he continued to look at the sweets in the grass and fiddle with his pail.

Hundreds of families gathered at the Sports Complex for the city's annual Easter Egg Hunt, co-organized with the Kiwanis Club of Huntington Beach and now in its 24th year.

John Etheridge, a chairman of the local Kiwanis chapter, estimated the crowd at more than the 8,000 people who showed up last year.

Rather than having hordes of children wildly scavenge for pieces of candy all at once, organizers set specific times, or flights, by age group — ranging from newborns to 10-year-olds.

"We'll get 400 to 500 kids per flight and that's a lot," Etheridge said. "... It's controlled chaos."

About 2,400 pounds of candy were sprinkled across the field but not in plastic eggs, to make the event more environmentally friendly.

"We buy wrapped candy, and we just spread it out over that 140-by-80 feet of field and just turn the kids loose," Etheridge said. "It's just mayhem."

The field was nearly spotless after each flight as the children picked up every piece of candy they could possibly grab.

While some children were busy munching on their newly collected sweets, others tried winning prizes at the various carnival game booths or decorating their own bunny mask at an activity tent.

Trystan had a big grin on his face as he ate a piece of candy and walked around the event grounds with his family. His mother, Tina Huynh, said she isn't worried about her son having too much sugar.

"It's funny because when he eats candy and when he knows he's had too much, he'll always ask me 'Mom, do I need to brush my teeth?'" she said.