April 20, 2014
It’s tough to inspire people to get out of bed in the dark of night, but those who have witnessed the sun rising over Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure know that Chimney Rock’s Easter Sunrise Service is the place to be on Easter Sunday.
For 59 years, the Park has opened its gates to the community for a inter-denominational worship filled with scripture, song and fellowship. The service takes place beneath 535-million year old Chimney Rock, the monolith for which the Park is named. Gates will be open from 5-6 AM for the 6:30 AM service. There is no admission charge and guests are welcome to stay and enjoy the Park for the day.
Easter Sunrise Service began as a small community gathering of residents and local pastors celebrating together the glory of Easter. In recent years, the ceremony has grown to more than 1,000 people from around the Southeast. Organized by ministers from area churches, this special service includes scripture readings, prayer and beautiful music by the Park’s featured entertainer, hammered dulcimer player John Mason, amongst others.
“The Easter Sunrise Service is truly a community event. The churches in Hickory Nut Gorge, in partnership with the Park, have collaborated for decades to host for this special holiday service,” says General Manager Mary Jaeger-Gale. “It is one of the few times each year that residents and guests can see the sun rise over Lake Lure from high atop Chimney Rock Mountain. It has become a tradition for many families in the area,” she adds.
The service will air live on 1450 WHKP-AM Radio and rebroadcast at 12:05pm for those unable to attend. In case of rain, the service will be held on the Park Meadows. Attendees should arrive early, dress warmly and bring a flashlight. Early arrivals will be able to park on the top parking lot. After that lot is full, shuttle buses will run continuously from the Meadows area at the top of the mountain. Additionally, the Park’s Old Rock Café in the village of Chimney Rock will feature a traditional Southern breakfast following the ceremony.
Chimney Rock is located 25 miles southeast of Asheville in Hickory Nut Gorge on Highway 64/74-A. The Park is the focal point of the developing Chimney Rock State Park.
For more about the Park, see our Chimney Rock Park Guide.