Mt. Davidson cross lights up San Francisco for 99th Easter

"It's great to have this tradition continue."

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Sunday, April 17, 2022
Mt. Davidson cross lights up SF for 99th Easter
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For the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, people will once again hike to the top of the mountain for a sunrise service.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A nearly one-hundred-year-old tradition is making a comeback this Easter atop Mount Davidson.

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, people will once again hike to the top of the mountain for a sunrise service guided by the iconic Mount Davidson Cross.

"It's great to have this tradition continue," said Jacquie Proctor, a local historian whose long championed the site and even penned a book on it.

The 103 ft. tall cross was lit Saturday night for the 99th year. The Council of Armenian-American Organizations of Northern California has owned the cross since 1997 and has worked to preserve the tradition.

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"I think it's amazing that this has been going on since 1923 people have been hiking up here before dawn - as many as 50,000 people when the cross was lit in 1934 and during WWII," said Jacquie.

"I bet there will be a lot more people coming this year because it didn't happen for two - years - you can't take it for granted anymore."

The towering testament to tradition is perched atop San Francisco's highest peak at 938 ft. Proctor calls it a longstanding symbol of hope.

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"This year, they're going to have a minister from the Ukrainian church because of what's going on there," she said. "It was lit up in blue two years ago to honor the essential workers."

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The person responsible for literally lighting it up is excited for the return of the sunrise service this year.

"I have a van of theatrical lighting and I light it up - 30,000 watts of power," said Don Bristow, a local lighting designer, noting he's moved by the popularity of the cross. "It means I did a good job and it makes people happy."

"There are so many challenges we face all the time between COVID and wars, and politics," said Proctor. "I think there's something innately rejuvenating about it and we need that kind of spiritual uplift."