Your Chamber at Work…Things are happening in the Gorge – and you can help

Despite the pouring rain for most of the day, the 13th Annual Dirty Dancing Festival in Keeter Field was a huge success.  We sold out of the 2,500 tickets weeks in advance, processed many cancellations then turned around and resold them to a huge wait list.  We speculate there were approximately 2,000 attendees during the Festival with more arriving once the Lake Life Competition and Movie started (these were open to the general public).  Winners of the Lake Lift competition were Amanda Jones and Rainey Ashcraft.  You can read their story in the September 1, Wall Street Journal cover story about the Dirty Dancing lift competition and what goes into it.  A big congratulations.  The fans were energizing, fun, and the nicest our volunteers and staff have ever encountered at the Festival.  Our special guests made it even more grand; the Asheville Ballet performing dance routines from the movie and lessons to those who wanted to participate; Frankie Privette, Lisa Sherman and Stacy Widelitz wowing us with their original song performances; our two surprise guests – original dancers in the movie with Swayze –  MR Fletcher and Andrew Charles Koch; and of course, the awesome live music by Camel City Yacht Club Band and the Cindy & Randy Floyd Duet.  We could not have done this without the 90+ volunteers, steering committee volunteers, in kind and financial sponsors, George Wittmer, Town of Lake Lure police, fire, parks & recreation and public works, community leaders, lodging partners, real estate partners, friends, family and especially my husband (yes, we made it through another one). 

And what about our first annual Lake Lure’s Farmers Market?  It was exceptionally well attended and the feedback from the public and farmers was superb.  BARN managed the event and put a ton of energy and effort to make this a success.  Thanks to all who attended and supported the venue, to the vendors, musicians, artisans and certainly the farmers.  We cannot wait for next Spring to bring this back again!

Hopefully you were able to attend the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Gale’s Chimney Rock Shop – the same family, in the same business, at the same location.  Food, fun and frivolity was enjoyed by all – congratulations!  

Next up – The Lake Lure Arts and Crafts Festival in the Arcade’s parking area in front of the 1927 Lake Lure Inn, October 15th and 16th.  They have over 95 vendors and the event helps to raise funds to support the Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach.  The Outreach is dedicated to eliminating hunger in our community and helping the needy.   The Festival is always a huge crowd pleaser, great timing to get those special Holiday gifts, and hopefully you were able to attend since it will take place prior to the publishing of this article.  If you missed it, there is another one in the Spring.  You can track it by going to their website

Did you know our Gorge has a bagpipe band?  See the picture below where the Chimney Rock Volunteer Pipe Band performed at the 225th Anniversary of the First Presbyterian Church of Morganton on Sunday, October 9th.  It was incredible to listen to this group serenade the congregation with Scotland the Brave, Amazing Grace and, believe it or not, Rocky Top.  Which got a standing ovation! 

Moving on to Winter.  Mark your calendars for Thursday, December 1st, 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm at the 1927 Lake Lure Inn – it is our annual Gala with this year’s theme the 2022 Great Gatsby Gala!!  Get ready to show off your jitter bug skills and flapper attire (if you wish – it is our one formal/semi-formal event).  We will have the $1,500 cash shopping spree raffle tickets, admission tickets, silent auction (online this year) and live auction.  This year we are adding a live band, dance floor and more table dining!  Keep an eye on our website for more details

These events are enjoyed, in large, by our community and bring positive economic impact to our businesses.  In most scenarios, there is an amazingly strong committee that works with the Chamber to lead the charge to make these events successful.  However, we have a few historical events we need your help with.  Light Up The Gorge (tree lighting and event the day after Thanksgiving), Taste of the Gorge (our “restaurant week” held last February for the first time), and Souper Supper (soup, salad and dessert competition held in February) need leaders and committee members to keep the momentum.  There are numerous great ideas on how to expand these, but we need your support.  If any of these interest you, please send an email to   Let us make them even bigger and better with your help.

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