Easter sunrise service at Hodges Gardens State Park revived

Hodges Gardens State Park is reviving a long treasured Easter tradition that in recent years had been discontinued. The annual Easter Sunrise Service will once again be performed on Easter Sunday, April 12. Area church choirs and the Centenary Choir will present the story of Christ in song and narration.

The choirs are being directed by David Hobson, Director of the Centenary College Choir. Members of the Centenary Choir will perform with members of other church choirs from Natchitoches, Sabine, Vernon, and Beauregard parishes.

The outdoor sunrise program will tell Jesus’ story from the Gardens of Gethsemane, His betrayal, Trial and Crucifixion and finally culminates with The Resurrection as the sun is rising in the East, lighting Hodges Gardens in its entire springtime splendor.

This year’s Easter Sunrise Service is the first activity organized and promoted by The Friends of Hodges Group in conjunction with the Louisiana Office of State Parks. Friends is a nonprofit organization that has been formed to support the Office of State Parks in their commitment to preserve and interpret the history and beauty of the gardens and to provide visitors the opportunity to enjoy recreational and educational experiences in a natural setting. Friends of Hodges Group will be offering memberships to the public soon.

The Easter Sunrise Service will begin at 6 a.m. and will be performed on the Outdoor Stage, which is located on the lake across from the Rose Gardens. There is no formal seating so guests should bring their own lawn chairs and blankets.

The program is free of charge for all who want to attend. Gates to Hodges Gardens will be open at 4:30a.m. and will be closed at 5:45 a.m. so that traffic will not disturb the ceremony.

Emerald Hills Resort, across from the Hodges Gardens entrance, will offer a breakfast buffet after the service. Guest rooms are also available at Emerald Hills Resort as well as other accommodations throughout Sabine and Vernon Parishes.

For additional information, call the Sabine Parish Tourist Commission at (318) 256-5880 or (800) 358-7802 or the Vernon Parish Tourism Commission at (337) 238-0783 or (800) 349-6287.