Thousands wake up before dawn for sunrise Easter service

People bundled up on the beach to celebrate resurrection and a new dawn

By Brittany Muller - Reporter, Roxy Tyler - Web producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Easter traditions for many families mean waking up before dawn and going to Jacksonville Beach for a sunrise service.

Despite temperatures dipping into the 40s Sunday morning, it didn't stop worshipers for gathering at the Sea Walk Pavilion before 6 a.m.

The tradition of Easter Sunrise Service at the Sea Walk Pavilion has been going on for 68 years in Jacksonville Beach.

Worshiper Denise Costello said she has been attending the service since the late 80s.

"The only day of the year that I get up at 4:30 in the morning is for a service like this one," Costello said.

The sunrise service included music by a Christian band called The Grateful Bread, and ministering about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Worshiper Janie Brown came all the way from Michigan to spend this holy day with her daughter, who lives at the beach. 

"I’m just honored to be here and I thank God for  his risen son," Brown said.

Families say they look forward to this tradition year after year.

"It’s just a good way to celebrate Easter, nice to be at the beach and see the sunrise, hear the message that’s being delivered, we enjoy it," Cynthia Zvacek said.

She's been coming to the service for the past 15 years.    

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