By Kelly Werthmann
MORRISON, Colo. (CBS4) – Thousands of people woke up extra early Sunday morning to celebrate Easter in unique Colorado fashion.
The 70th annual Easter Service at Red Rocks began with live music at 5:30 a.m. and continued through sunrise.
Organizers said 11,000 people attended this year’s event with lines forming before the gates opened at 4:30 a.m.
“We had a full house,” Adrian Miller, executive director of the Colorado Council of Churches which sponsors the service, told CBS4. “We have clear skies and decent weather, it’s great.”
Mike and Monica Garibay were among those in attendance. They said they come for the beauty of Red Rocks and to worship what they believe in.
“The sound is just enhanced and it travels right along,” Monica said of the music. “It just brings up everything — your spirits — and as the sun comes up you’re here with everybody. It’s really a genuine experience.”
This year’s event was also a commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation led by Martin Luther.
“We had a lot of Lutherans as part of our leadership team, including Bishop Jim Gonia,” Miller said. “It was a nice mix of worship styles because this is to show the diversity of the Christian worship tradition.”
The tradition was a new experience for Max Umey who recently moved to Colorado. He said the service is different than what he’s used to, but enjoyed the beautiful weather, scenery and sermon.
“With the sunrise, the doves, it really is incredible,” he said.
Incredible weather made the morning service even better, some worshipers said. Clear skies and mild temperatures provided a crystal clear view of a colorful Colorado sunrise.
“Truly, it doesn’t get better than this,” Bishop Gonia said.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 Weekend Morning News and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.