Our Festival & Pageant History

 

When the Statesville Merchant's Association, the City Council and the Chamber of Commerce came together to organize the first festival, they created a tradition that would carry on for many decades.  As a non-profit organization, we are able to continue our community involvement through the generous contributions of our sponsors and the support of our local leaders.

 

The first Dogwood Queen was crowned in 1969 and the pageant continues to highlight the weekend festivities each year.  With appearances at local events, parades, pageants and festivals all across the state, the Carolina Dogwood Queen serves as a public relations ambassador representing the people of Statesville.  She continues to be the "crown jewel" of Statesville and Iredell County.

 

Through the years many changes have shaped the festival and pageant.  For over 10 years, the Dogwood Queen competed as Statesville's representative in the Miss North Carolina Pageant, a Miss America preliminary pageant.  We have been honored to see our queens bring home awards such as swimsuit winner, talent winner, community service awards and many top-ten and runner-up finishes to the Miss North Carolina title.  The last Dogwood Queen to compete at the state level was in 1994.  We are proud of the accomplishments of all of our former Carolina Dogwood Queens.  Many of them have held other Local, State and National titles, as well as become outstanding citizens and role models for young woment.  We celebrate each one and will always consider them a part of the Dogwood Family.

 

An exciting addition to the Dogwood family was the creation of the Junior Dogwood Queen and the Teen Dogwood Princess titles.  We later added more age divisions for younger girls and married women to be able to participate in the Dogwood tradition.  Long-standing reciprocity with other NC festivals and pageants allows our Dogwood Queens the opportunity to attend the many agricultural festivals and special events throughout our state.  In turn, we host these festival queens to our city for a Dogwood Festival weekend full of special tours, the elegant Queen's Breakfast, and photo opportunities with our local dignitaries.

 

Over the years numerous community and athletic events have contributed to the way the Carolina Dogwood Festival has impacted the region.  The Dogwood Committee has sponsored events such as the Downtown Parade, Children's Festival in the Park, Golf Tournament, Arts & Crafts Show, Art & Poetry Contest, Bass Fishing Tournament, Tennis Tournament, Bench Press Championship, High School Band Competition, Youth Pageants, Auto Show, and Horseshoe Pitching Tournament.  These events have drawn participants from across the country.  Some events remain, some are just a memory, but the Carolina Dogwood Festival continues to touch the lives of many people, year after year.

Former Carolina Dogwood Festival Committee Presidents

1969        Coite Dotson*                               1994                Nan Neal

1970        Coite Dotson*                               1995                Marsha Bumgarner

1971        Sol Ludwig*                                  1996                Roger Rumple

1972        Jack Springer*                              1997                Mitch Mayhew

1973        Bill McMillan*                                1998                Don Wilson*

1974        JW Davis                                      1999                Don Wilson*

1975        Don Daniel                                   2000                Bobby Little*

1976        Kenneth Wooten                           2001                Committee

1977        John Marshall                               2002                Committee

1978        Gordon Aldrich*                           2003                Committee

1979        NB Mills III                                  2004                Committee

1980        Gary Sherrill                                2005                Committee

1981        Tony Galliher*                             2006                Committee

1982        NB Mills III                                  2007                Committee

1983        Ann J Bowman*                           2008                Committee

1984        Roger Rumple                              2009                Committee

1985        Nada  Wellman                             2010               Committee

1986        Doug Stobbe                                2011               Cliff Singleton

1987        Kim Perry Russell                          2012              Cliff Singleton

1988        Dreisa Sherrill                               2013              Chuck Gallyon

1989        Dreisa Sherrill                               2014              Chuck Gallyon

1990        Jeannie Cartner                             2015              Chuck Gallyon

1991        Larry Nichols                                 2016              Alicia Hedrick   

1992        Nan Neal                                       2017             Gary Sherrill

1993        Gary Sherrill  

*deceased