By: Rodney Wardle, News Channel 3 Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
PALM SPRINGS – An early start to Easter for this group as they board the Palm Springs Aerial Tram shortly after 5 am. Hundreds made the trip up the mountain for the Tramway’s annual easter sunrise service. Alejandra Ponce de Leon and Hugo Salazar are visiting Palm Springs and wanted to combine church and vacation.
“Didn’t want to feel guilty for going to vacation and having this opportunity is a great time to enjoy both,” says Salazar, who huddled close to his girlfriend in the chilly weather atop the mountain.
Tram employee, Pastor Art Popp gives the sermon while people gather outside for a first look at the sunrise from the best seat in the house. The sounds of the choir could be heard throughout the tramway. For many the service is a way to connect with their faith, a time for self-reflection or just a great place to get a unique view of the valley.
“It’s more symbolic, close to nature and to think about what it means to your faith, what your faith means,” says Ponce de Leon.
The tram started the sunrise service 45 years. Around 200 people attended this year’s service. Organizers say it’s less than previous years but still a nice turnout.
“And it was well worth it,” says Palm Desert resident Teresa Fink. “We got up at 3 o’clock and we love it.”
“We wanted to do something for ourselves you know to celebrate his resurrection,” says Cynthia Ellis, also of Palm Desert. “So this is the best way to do it.”