Victoria Turney, president of the Marietta Kiwanis Club, which co-sponsored the service this year with the Marietta Rotary Club, said she believed it was the event's largest gathering. The Kennesaw Town Center Kiwanis Club previously sponsored it.
Families gathered at the mountain's base at 7 a.m., setting up folding chairs and spreading out blankets on the lawn just in front of the visitor's center. Hot coffee and pastries were served before the Marietta Rotary Club's president-elect, Mark Barbour, delivered his sermon titled, "There's Still Room in the Tomb."
"Jesus is not in dead practices. Jesus is not in the tomb. There's always room in the tomb. There's always room for bad relationships and bad decisions," said Barbour, who ministers at First Presbyterian Church of Marietta.
"But, you see we have not so learned Christ Jesus. He teaches us how to cope and care."
The large crowd sang several hymns together, including "Christ the Lord is Risen Today," led by singer Stephanie Wilson and Joyce Waldin on keyboard. The Rev. Phil Owens, chief of chaplain services at WellStar Health System, gave the invocation.
The non-denominational service was open to the public. Park Superintendent Dr. Stanley C. Bond Jr., who gave the welcome at the beginning of the service, said it was a beautiful morning to hold the service.
"We're here for the community to do these kinds of events," he said. "It's a community space. We're just caretakers."
Afterwards, Turney described the sunrise service as "inspirational" and "spiritual."
"It was great to have the Rotary with us," Turney said.
"It was a great, joint community effort to share in the day with not only our fellow civic leaders, but also with the community who took the time to spend their day with us. That's a great testimony."
In attendance was Former Marietta Mayor Bill Dunaway, a rotarian, who said having the service outdoors at the mountain made it personally more meaningful to him.
Jimmy and Starr Camp of Marietta have attended the Easter service at the park for the past six years. "That's probably one of the best ones we've seen here," Starr said as she packed up her belongings.
"It's great to be outside and see the sunrise," Jimmy said.
David Hunter, 61, of Kennesaw, who lives near the park, said he attended because, "I wanted to celebrate the risen Savior."
Another Kennesaw resident, Debbie Climan, said, "It's just a beautiful way to start your Easter Sunday, with the sun rising and being with family and friends."