You can’t really “hide” eggs on a soccer field. The pancake-flat, clipped grassy area held no cover for 20,000 brightly colored plastic eggs, waiting for swarms of eager, not to say rapacious, young children to come and scoop them up into buckets, bags and baskets. The Easter egg hunt and, again, “hunt” is the traditional term, but it could perhaps more accurately be termed the Easter egg grab provides the culmination of the massive kiddie party that is the Marco Island Parks and Recreation Department’s annual Spring Jubilee.
Marco Island has been setting its alarm clocks early on Easter morning for a quarter century. Sunday morning, thousands thronged the beach behind the Madeira condominium and the Marriott hotel for the 25th Anniversary Easter Sunrise Service, trooping down Collier Blvd. in the predawn darkness carrying blankets, beach chairs, and still dozing toddlers. They heard a message of hope and resurrection, mirrored by the sun rising in a beautiful sky behind the stage, with just enough clouds to paint a spectacular display in the east. The principal Easter message, entitled “Would You Believe It?” was delivered by the Rev. Bruce Fiol, who as founding pastor of the Marco Presbyterian Church delivered the sermon on Marco’s first Easter dawn service on the beach, back in 1988.
Both the “egg roll” and the “roll away the stone” aspects of Easter brought thousands of Marco Islanders out for large scale get-togethers over the weekend. The Easter Bunny went to bat first, with the annual Spring Jubilee “eggs-travaganza” held Saturday morning at Mackle Park.
The Saturday before Easter, the Easter Bunny got his turn for a big blowout, with families pouring into Mackle Park on Marco Island for the Spring Carnival, featuring an Easter egg hunt with 18,000 eggs.
In the early Easter morning darkness 60-80 members of the Naples Velo cycling club met up for a 65 mile ride that would raise funds to help cover medical expenses for injured cyclist Elaine Jackson who suffered a severe injury in a motor vehicle collision. Leader Andy Robinson also emphasized the objective of raising public awareness of cyclists rights to the road too. The ride which started at 7 am was expected to take 2 1/2-3 hours before meeting back where they would breakfast together and present a signed card to Elaine.
Scenes from a sunrise worship at Vanderbilt Beach on Easter Sunday April 8, 2012. Over 200 people attended the service hosted by Pastor Tom Louis and Community Congregational Church. After the service, several people were baptized in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
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