Easter Sunrise Service draws crowds in Marco Island

Author: Camila Pereria
Published: Updated:

In the early morning of Easter Sunday, a crowd began forming along the shore as the world celebrated a miracle.

The 34th annual Easter sunrise service on the beach was held at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort on Sunday, March 31 at 7 a.m.

“Jesus was dead on a Friday. And he walked out of a tomb on Sunday. I mean, it doesn’t get any better than that,” said Reverend Steve Schoof with the Marco Presbyterian Church. “And he really is alive. And that’s worth getting out of bed early for.”

The 34th annual Marco Island Easter sunrise service is a decades-long tradition many people anticipate each year.

“I’ve been at almost every one of these since 1988,” said Reverend Thomas McCulley with the New Life Community Church, “We’ve seen some bad weather, and still people come out. We talk about 1000’s of people coming, it’s true.”

This year, there wasn’t a cloud in sight as tens of thousands of people came from land and sea to watch the service.

“There are a lot of sunrise services but I don’t think there are very many quite like this,” said Mike Mcnees, Marco Island city manager.

But what makes this tradition so special? WINK News reporter Camila Pereria spoke with attendees who gave their thoughts on the annual service.

“So magical, you know, just everything started like in the darkness and you just see all the boats racing, you know, trying to get here on time,” said Kahra and Bryant, “it’s just so inspirational, and now the sun is risen.”

“It’s amazing, every year it just gets larger and larger,” said another service attendee, “It’s wonderful…It’s a great experience walking down in the dark with everybody’s lights on. It’s very beautiful.”

Thousands watched as the sun rose above the cross, reminding everyone that Jesus had risen.

“…and the chance to be able to say here’s a new day.” said Reverend Gary Goodrich, “And we’re inviting all these people to say, hey, wherever you are, whatever you’re bringing to this beach, there’s an opportunity for something new and Jesus.”

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