By Michael Abeyta

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Thousands of people packed Red Rocks in Jefferson County for the 71st annual Easter Sunrise Service.

A short drive from the city, through the peace and quiet of one of one of Colorado’s most majestic places, excitement was building in the dark.

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People bundled up, maybe still a little sleepy, and filed into Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

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“It was tough,” said Mike Babair as he took his seat. “I’m not a morning person. Getting up at 3 a.m. was tough. We knew that the gates open at 4:30, but we hear it gets crowded really, really fast.”

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Babair and his wife, Julia, are here for the first time and came prepared for the cold.

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“We layered up pretty good though. We brought blankets and multiple layers. We should be okay,” Mike said.

They are prepared for the spectacle of Easter Sunrise Service at Red Rocks.

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“We brought our cell phones. We plan to take a lot of pictures. A lot of selfies,” he said.

As every seat was filled, the festivities began. Joy was shared, the good word was spread, and the promise of a glorious return was fulfilled with the warmth of the rising Colorado sun.

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“That’s what Colorado is all about; being outdoors, enjoying activities and being able to be in one of the greatest venues in Colorado for this kind of service is amazing,” Julia said.

Michael Abeyta is a 4th generation Coloradan and a Multimedia Journalist for CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 5 & 6. He is on Twitter! Follow him @AbeytaCBS4.

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