Easter dawns Sunday morning, but there's opportunities to mark the holiday all weekend long in Cape Coral and Lee County.
Saturday is packed with Easter egg hunts and family activities for the kids, while Sunday opens with sunrise services and continues with various events.
Weekend events include:
* A Life in Christ Church will host the long-standing Sunrise Service, 7 a.m, Sunday at the Cape Coral Yacht Club off Driftwood Parkway.
This will be the 32nd year for the service, which has drawn thousands of people over the years to watch the sun rise over the Caloosahatchee River.
Pastor Leah J. Hileman from A Life in Christ Church said this year's service will be vastly different from last year's, and will feature special guest music minister Paul Jennings, founder of Praise Fest.
Hileman said Jennings will be performing music and sharing personal testimony.
"His songs are upbeat and encouraging and lively and it will be a completely different mood from last year," Hileman said.
Local Chapter 108 of the Disabled American Veterans, Habitat for Humanity of Lee County and Cape Coral Special Populations are three charities that will benefit from collections taken during the service.
Hileman said all collections, minus expenses, will be donated to those three not-for-profits.
The Cuppa Life coffee shop, which is owned by A Life in Christ Church, will provide the coffee and drinks, while Publix is donating pastries and bread to the event.
The Sunrise Service is expected to last about an hour, Hileman said. She's also encouraging everyone bring their own chairs and blankets.
For more information call the church at 574-3511.
* City of Palms Park at 2201 Edison Avenue in Fort Myers will host congregations from around Southwest Florida during their Easter Sunrise service, which begins at 6:30 a.m., with doors opening at 5:30 a.m.
Free coffee and pastries will be served before and after the service.
The inspirational message will be delivered by the Reverend John Q. Duagherty, pastor of First Baptist church in Fort Myers.
* It's been 20 years since Mike Greenwell's began hosting its Easter Bunny Trail on Saturday, which gives kids a chance to traverse the mini-golf course and collect treats along the way.
Organizer Dana Waters expects about 1,500 people to take advantage of the free event.
"We recommend people bring their own baskets, and don't forget to bring a camera," Waters said. "It's a lot of family fun."
Waters is hoping people bring a donation of pet food to benefit local shelters such as the Animal Refuge Center in North Fort Myers.
Waters said the event, held at the attraction at 35 N.E. Pine Island Road, is similar in structure to Greenwell's Safe Trick R' Treat event in October. The Easter Bunny will make an appearance on the last hole of the mini-golf course, and each child will receive the same amount of treats so that everyone gets their fair share.
Mike Greenwell's Easter Bunny Trail is Saturday, 10 a.m. - noon. For more information call 574-4386.
* The Cape Coral Kiwanis Club is hosting its inaugural Easter Egg Hunt at Four Freedoms Park off Cape Coral Parkway on Saturday, an event organizer Sam Huber feels will give something fun and positive back to the community.
Huber said other Kiwanis Clubs host similar events and he felt the time was right to bring the event to the Cape.
"It's free fun for families and it doesn't take that much effort to make it happen. It felt like the right time to get involved," Huber said.
Free to the public, registration is limited to the first 300 children. Huber said there will be games, prizes and age specific areas for different age groups.
Huber is hoping this year's event will mark the beginning of a new family favorite in Cape Coral.
"We want to give back as much as humanly possible. We're hoping it's the start of a great family tradition," Huber added.
The Cape Coral Kiwanis Club Easter Egg Hunt is at noon at Four Freedoms Park in Downtown Cape Coral.
Huber is suggesting that families bring their own baskets. For more information visit mycapecoralkiwanis.org.
* The Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium, 3415 Ortiz Ave., Fort Myers, is hosting its sixth annual "Easter Eggstravaganza" from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., will feature eggs, live animals and prizes. Easter Egg hunts will take place every 30 minutes throughout the day.
Admission is $9 for adults and $6 for kids 3 - 12. For more information call the Calusa Nature Center at 275-3435.
For more events and service information, see page 6B of today's Breeze.