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A passion for Easter

Lowell Anderson | Echo Press Jesus is greeted by crowds on his way into Jerusalem during the annual Passion Drama at Zion Lutheran Church in Alexandria. Despite temperatures in the 30s on Tuesday, many people stood in line to view the production, which depicts the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. (Lowell Anderson/Echo Press)1 / 5
Roman soldiers place the crown of thorns on Jesus’ head during the Passion Drama Tuesday at Zion Lutheran Church in Alexandria. Check tomorrow's Echo Press for more on the Passion Drama.2 / 5
Jesus is arrested and brought before the High Priest during Tuesday’s Passion Drama at Zion Lutheran Church in Alexandria. (Lowell Anderson/Echo Press)3 / 5
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Roman soldiers force Jesus to carry his cross to the place where he will be crucified. (Lowell Anderson/Echo Press)5 / 5

The temperatures – and the crowds – were down a bit for the 18th annual Passion Drama organized by Zion Lutheran and Good Shepherd Lutheran churches in Alexandria.

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On Sunday, 832 people took in the 12 outdoor scenes depicting the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The crowd numbered about 800 on Tuesday.

A couple of years ago, the crowds topped 2,700.

“I think the weather has something to do with that,” said event organizer Jeff Roste. “We had to cancel it last year because of the weather, and when people’s patterns and traditions get broken, it takes some time to get back into it.”

But there was a big upside to this year’s event: children.

“We did notice a drastic increase in the number of children, especially those under age 9,” Roste said “It was higher than any other year. We’re not sure what caused it, but it’s always good to have children attending the drama.”

About 110 actors and actresses participated in the Passion Drama, braving wind chills of about 18 above on Sunday and 23 above on Tuesday.

Another 40 to 50 volunteers helped with set-up, clean-up, costuming and kitchen work.

The Holy Week tradition continues today, Friday, with the Guarding of the Tomb. Starting at noon, actors portraying Roman centurions will be stationed at a tomb display outside Zion Lutheran Church on 3rd Avenue East and will continue to stand guard until 5 a.m. Easter morning, Sunday, April 20.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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