ASHEVILLE NC – On Easter morning, the public is invited to witness the sun ascend over Lake Lure at Chimney Rock’s 61st Annual Easter Sunrise Service. The service attracts more than 1,000 early risers from around the Southeast each year, with last year’s event drawing a record crowd of nearly 1,500. The interdenominational community celebration on March 27 includes live spiritual music by local musicians, an inspirational message and — with a little help from above — a beautiful sunrise with 75-mile views.
Admission to the service, which is held rain or shine, is free to the public. The Park gate will open from 5-6am for the 7am service. Guest are encouraged to come early; no one can be admitted past the gate after 6am so that everyone is able to be at the service by 7am. Sunrise Service guests who present their bulletin at the Ticket Plaza can return to the Park at no admission for the day on Sunday, March 27. The Ticket Plaza is open seven days a week for its regular peak season hours, which began March 13, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30pm; once you’re in the Park, you can stay and enjoy the views until 7pm.
“If you’re looking for powerful inspiration and a sense of community, this is it. Our annual Easter Sunrise Service is a special tradition for our guests — a memorable event for the entire family,” said Mary Jaeger-Gale, General Manager at Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park.
Fr. Wes Shields, pastor of The Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration in Bat Cave NC, will deliver the inspirational message, and Pastor David MacEachern of Bat Cave Baptist Church is coordinating the service, with participation from other area pastors. The Easter service will feature bagpipes and special live music sung by local musicians. It will air live from 7-7:30am on 1450 WHKP-AM Radio and be rebroadcast at noon for those unable to attend.
Attendees are invited to a breakfast buffet at the Old Rock Café after the service from 7-11am for only $9.99 for adults and $5.99 for children ages 10 and under, excluding beverages.
Limited parking is available in the top lot with additional parking on the Meadows. Shuttle buses will transport guests between the Meadows and top lot. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early, dress warmly and bring a flashlight.
About Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park
Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is a still-developing international outdoor destination located 25 miles southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. It is recognized as one of the Southeast’s most iconic sites and popular travel destinations. The Park’s 535-million-year-old monolith called Chimney Rock can be accessed via a 499-step Outcroppings Trail and offers guests 75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. The Park features one of the highest waterfalls of its kind east of the Mississippi River, Hickory Nut Falls, at 404 feet. Hickory Nut Gorge, one of the state’s most significant centers of biodiversity, is home to 36 rare plant species and 14 rare animal species. The Rumbling Bald section of the greater State Park off of Boys Camp Road in Chimney Rock is the only other area of the Park that is currently open to the public. A destination for travel groups, weddings and special events, the Chimney Rock section of the Park also hosts innovative educational programs for schools, homeschoolers, scouts and summer camps. Chimney Rock will celebrate NC State Parks’ centennial year in 2016 with special events and programs throughout the year. Visit Chimney Rock’s website at chimneyrockpark.com.