By Heather Meech 

For thirteen years, the scenic small towns of Lake Lure and Chimney Rock have been the host of the Lake Lure Olympiad. It is Western North Carolina’s premier destination sports event, attracting over 1,200 participants of all ages and levels of athletic abilities, who compete in multiple race events and enjoy entertaining outdoor activities with families and friends. If you ask these athletes what continues to bring them back annually, they will tell you the Olympiad has gorgeous scenery, challenging courses, and delicious post race food items. However, the most popular reason, is the enormous amount of welcoming volunteers and community of supporters.

In addition to an all-volunteer board of governors, the nonprofit organization requires more than 250 volunteers from the local community and area services to produce the nine events over a three-day weekend. Volunteers prepare homemade meals, snacks and desserts, manage individual race productions, assist with packet pickup stations, and provide lake and course safety. Throughout the weekend each competitive event is able to run smoothly due to the help of local supporting businesses that donate additional goods and services.

Volunteers Patti Stewart and Gay Hegwood enjoy serving post race food to the athletes.

“The Lake Lure Olympiad would not be possible without the generous contributions we receive each year from around Rutherford County. We credit the festival’s success to our gracious volunteers and appreciate the outstanding community we are fortunate to live in”, says Kay Dittmer, President of the Lake Lure Olympiad.

Lake Lure Police Department Chief Ron Morgan receives donation from Lake Lure Olympiad Board Member Bob Keith.

Over the weekend of August 11-13, 2017, the festival welcomed athletes from twelve states across the U.S. and two foreign countries, and continued its strong relationships with over forty sponsors and partners. This contributed to raising more than $315,000 over the past thirteen years with 100% giving back to local charities and area service organizations. Furthermore, everyone who participated in the festival understands that bringing an athletic event of this caliber to our area, promotes tourism and economic development while bringing our community together so we can meet common goals of helping those in need.


The 2017 Lake Lure Olympiad gave back over $28,000 to twenty beneficiaries who met the goals of the Olympiad’s mission based on their active contributions before and during the festival. Emergency and rescue organizations are a principle category of beneficiaries chosen each year, as the event relies heavily on fire departments and EMS crews to ensure athlete safety. These organizations use the donations for building maintenance, new equipment, youth and safety programs, and to keep the Lake Lure area safe. The list consists of Bills Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Chimney Rock Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, Chimney Rock Fire Department Auxiliary, Friends of Chimney Rock State Park, Fairfield Mountain Volunteer Fire Department, Fairfield Mountain Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary, Hickory Nut Gorge EMS, Lake Lure Fire Department and Lake Lure Police Department.

Each year in support of the Olympiad’s primary mission, organizations receive proceeds due to their service for youth and children in and around the Hickory Nut Gorge region. These funds are used to educate, enhance experiences, provide equipment, give guidance and assist in times of need. The list includes Lake Lure Classical Academy, Hospice of the Carolina Foothills’ Camp Erin, Camp Lurecrest Ministries, Friends of Guardian Ad Litem, Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach, Rumbling Bald Resort’s Christmas Elves, Grace of God Gail’s House, Lake Lure Lions Club, and Friends of Mountains Branch Library.

Lake Lure Classical Academy students receive donation from Lake Lure Olympiad 
board members Kay Dittmer, Bob Keith, John Cullen, and Michele Puchala.

The Lake Lure Olympiad works hard each year to bring people together in the spirit of friendly competition. But it is the faces behind the races that drives the enthusiasm and passion for reaching new heights and achieving prosperity, together as one community. The Olympiad board and committee extends their gratitude to the participating athletes and their families, host venues and Presenting Sponsors: Rumbling Bald Resort, Chimney Rock State Park and Rutherford Regional Health System for their generosity and never-ending support.

The Olympiad will celebrate its 14th annual three-day sports event on August 10-12, 2018 in Lake Lure and Chimney Rock. Registration is open and exciting details are coming your way. For more information visit or email For

media inquiries call Heather Meech at 828-286-9977 or email