A longstanding tradition, Bok Tower Gardens will present its 88th Annual Easter Sunrise Service on Sunday, April 20 at 7 a.m. with free admission from 6 to 8 a.m. More than 2,000 visitors are expected to attend the service as the early morning mist clears and the sun rises atop Iron Mountain. Handicapped parking, shuttle service, and ample seating for guests will be available. The Entrance Gate, Visitor Center and Gift Shop will open at 6 a.m.
Gardens’ acclaimed carillonneur Geert D’hollander will begin the celebration at 6:30 a.m. with a selection of seasonal music performed on the 60-bell Singing Tower carillon. University of Central Florida bagpiper Benjamin Pugh, dressed in traditional Scottish kilt and attire, will follow with seasonal hymns and conclude the 45-minute service with “Amazing Grace.”
Inspirational music will be presented by the Lake Wales Chorale directed by Charles Little and accompanied by Tammy Little. Reverend Tom Seitz, Jr. of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Lake Wales will deliver the Easter sermon.
Following the service, the Blue Palmetto Café will offer a special buffet for $10.95 per adult; $7.95 per child under 12. Scrambled eggs, Spanish eggs, bacon, sausage, grits, homestyle potatoes, assorted pastries, fresh fruit, and beverages including regular and decaf coffee and Florida’s Natural orange juice will be served.
At 1 and 3 p.m., D’hollander will perform hymns and other seasonal carillon music for the occasion. Visitors can watch the 30-minute concerts on a video monitor in a special seating area located behind the Peace Lantern near the Tower and meet D’hollander by the Information Booth after the concerts.
The Easter Sunrise Service has been an annual tradition at Bok Tower Gardens since 1926. The son of Gardens’ founder Edward Bok, Curtis Bok, who served as a judge on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and witnessed crowds of 5,000 in attendance, said the service “quite literally helps the sun get over the horizon on Easter morning.”
After 8 a.m. general admission to the Gardens is $12 for adults and $3 for children ages 5-12. Members and children under 5 are admitted free. Pinewood Estate will be open from 12 noon to 4p.m. for an additional fee. For more information, call 863-676-1408 or visit www.BokTowerGardens.org.