Easter worshipers will greet the dawn on the boardwalk

March 06, 1994|By JoAnne C. Broadwater | JoAnne C. Broadwater,Special to The Sun

Every Easter for more than a half century, worshipers in Ocean City have braved the early-morning chill and gathered together to watch the sun rise and to greet the holiday with prayer and song at an ecumenical religious service at the beach.

The local tradition will continue this year when ministers, choir members and a brass ensemble from the town's churches lead an outdoor worship service scheduled to begin at 6 a.m. on the boardwalk at South Division Street.

"I guess my favorite thing on Easter is the sunrise service," says Ocean City Mayor Roland E. "Fish" Powell. "The sun's coming up, we have a big turnout and a lot of local people attend. I see friends that I grew up with. Sometimes it's mighty cold though."

"It's colorful and it's a nice thing to do in the early morning," says June Todd, director of music for the Atlantic United Methodist Church who has led the ecumenical choir since 1963. "It's very enjoyable and it's a real happy time."

In the event of bad weather, the service will be moved indoors to the Ocean City Convention Center at 40th Street and Coastal Highway. Afterward, many of the early risers crowd into restaurants for breakfast before heading off to other services indoors at area churches.

A fine spring day on that first weekend in April should bring more than 100,000 visitors to the town, Mayor Powell says. Guests will be able to enjoy many of Ocean City's customary summertime diversions: miniature golf and amusement park rides, caramel popcorn and french fries on the boardwalk.

The holiday weekend will also be marked by Easter brunches and a variety of events to keep winter-weary beach-goers busy no matter what the weather.

The Gold Coast Mall at 115th Street will kick off the festivities on Friday afternoon with Easter egg hunts in the mall at 12:30 p.m. for children ages 2 to 4, at 2:30 p.m. for children ages 5 to 7 and at 4:30 p.m. for children ages 8 to 11.

On Sunday, the mall will sponsor a Best Dressed Contest reminiscent of the Easter promenades that were once held on the boardwalk.

The Ocean City Recreation and Parks Department will sponsor activities for children ages 2 through 10 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at its Easter Bunny Fun Shop. There will be arts and crafts projects, egg decorating, entertainment, games and refreshments at Northside Park Recreation Complex, 125th Street and the bay. An Easter egg hunt will be held at 1:30 p.m. The fee is $5 a person and registration is required. For information, call (410) 250-0125.

The Home, Condo and Garden Show will begin on Friday and continue through Sunday at the Ocean City Convention Center. The entry fee includes admission to an Arts and Crafts Fair and an exhibit by the Art League of Ocean City.

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