The Surf City Ocean Pier opened March 22 for its 40th season.

The Surf City Ocean Pier opened March 22 for its 40th season.

The pier is an area icon that has provided memories to countless residents and visitors over the years, said Craig Stinson, the director of the Topsail Area Chamber of Commerce.

“A beach doesn’t feel like a beach without a pier,” Stinson said, adding that the pier has been an area tourist draw for its four decades. He said folks flock to Surf City because of the pier.

Even for those who don’t fish, the pier offers memories.

“Everyone who’s been here has memories of walking on the pier and looking at the ocean below,” he said. “It’s something that doesn’t ever leave you.”

The pier, owned and operated by the same family since 1973, is celebrating its 40th anniversary all season.

In 1973 the pier was old and in poor condition when Edwin P. Lore Jr., of Smithfield, found the price to be acceptable. Lore was looking for something to do since his career as a surveyor was cut short with the development of a severe allergy to yellow jacket stings.

He spent year one learning the ins and outs of operating a fishing pier along with his wife, Miriam and two sons, Steve and Edwin.

In 1974, a fierce nor’easter destroyed much of the pier just after Thanksgiving. The Lore family rebuilt the pier in 1975. The pier withstood several storms over the years until Hurricane Fran wiped it out in 1996. The family rebuilt again.

“During the year I will be reminiscing about some of my experiences during my time at the pier,” said the younger Edwin Lore.

He now owns the pier and plans to continue to do so as a family tradition.

“Here’s to another 40 years,” said Allan Libby, director of the Surf City Visitor’s Center.

Libby said the pier was a long-standing tradition.

“For some fishing is a hobby; for some fishing is a passion,” he said. “The pier is here for both.”

Libby said the family-friendly atmosphere the pier provides makes it special along North Carolina’s coast.

“The pier doesn’t allow alcohol, which means you don’t have to worry about some drunk next to you and your kids getting loud or upset or using foul language,” Libby said.

He called the Lore family “great neighbors and good folks” and that their pier “is the anchor of the local economy.”

The pier will commemorate its anniversary with several events throughout the year.

The pier is giving away two season passes. The first pass goes to the first person who catches the first Virginia mullet today. The fish has to be alive and wiggling, but there is no size requirement.

The second season pass, good for one person with two rods, will be given to the person who catches the largest Virginia mullet before March 31. The second season pass will be awarded April 1.

On Mother’s Day, moms will be allowed on the pier for free. The same for dads on Father’s Day. July will feature family fun, and November is all about military appreciation.

For more information visit the pier’s website at


Contact Daily News Senior Reporter Lindell Kay at 910-219-8455 or Follow him on Twitter and friend him on Facebook @ 1lindell.