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