Here’s something to kick off an Easter weekend full of church services, egg hunts, Sunday dinner and baskets full of chocolate bunnies: Mesa’s annual Easter pageant, a major production put on each year on the lawn at downtown’s Mormon temple.
The 65-minute show — titled “Jesus the Christ” — runs through Saturday and follows the life of Jesus. Produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, organizers say the production is “for all religions, ages and cultures.”
It is quite a spectacle, whatever your faith. A grand, multi-level stage anchors a cast and crew that numbers in the hundreds, and there are vibrant costumes, high-quality music and lighting, and even live animals, including newborn lambs, doves and a donkey. The pageant is directed by Jenee Wright Prince, a vocalist and musical theater performer you may recognize from local TV commercials.
Get there early to find free parking on a nearby street and a chair to sit in. Spillover seating is available on the grass.
DETAILS >> 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On the north lawn in front of the Mesa Temple Visitors’ Center, 525 W. Main St. Free admission and parking (on streets near the temple). (480) 964-7164 or www.easterpageant.org.
More Easter events
Apache Junction Easter Egg Hunt: Egg hunts and games for children of all ages. 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. A pancake breakfast starts at 7:30 a.m. Prospector Park, 3015 N. Idaho Road, Apache Junction. Egg hunt is free; games carry small fees. Breakfast is $3 per adult and $1.50 per child. (480) 983-2181 or www.ajcity.net.
Dino Egg Hunt Egg-stravaganza: Egg hunt, paper bag decorating, a “dinosaur touch cart,” and museum exhibits. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday. Arizona Museum of Natural History, 53 N. MacDonald, Mesa. $7 for adults, $4 for kids ages 3-17. (480) 644-2169 or www.azmnh.org.
Chandler’s Family Easter Celebration: 31st annual egg hunt, dance performances on stage, info booths, photos with the Easter Bunny, and food and beverages available for purchase. 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. (Egg hunts begin at 10:30 a.m.) Snedigar Sportsplex, 4500 S. Alma School Road. Free admission. (480) 782-2735 or chandleraz.gov/special-events.
Easter Egg-Citement: Egg hunts by age group beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday. Children’s admission includes unlimited train rides, carousel rides, hay rides, petting zoo, honeybee ride, and a hot dog lunch with Easter cookie. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Schnepf Farms, 24810 S. Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek. $25 per child with lunch, $20 without lunch. (480) 283-3612 or www.schnepffarms.com.
Scrambled EGGstravaganza: Chick egg hunt (age 4 and younger) begins at 11 a.m. Saturday. Bunny egg hunt (ages 5-10) begins at 11:20 a.m. Jackrabbit egg hunt (age 11 and older) begins at 11:40 a.m. A scavenger hunt, crafts, games and face painting begin at 9 a.m. Event is Saturday. San Tan Mountain Regional Park, 6533 W. Phillips Road, Queen Creek. $6 per vehicle. (480) 655-5554 or www.maricopa.gov/parks/santan/.