Queen of the Cotton Festival – 1941

As I was zipping through my Google Reader last night, I was stopped dead in my tracks by this image posted over on W5ARAN. After doing a little bit of extra digging, I found this tidbit of information about the festival, held in the textile-centric city of Gastonia, North Carolina:

The Grand Cotton Festival was held 1938-1941 and again in 1946 after World War II to showcase the area’s textile manufacturing industry and to celebrate the emergence from the Great Depression.

I’m more intrigued than ever, and look forward to learning a bit more about the town and this festival. Does anyone else have more information? Share it in the comments!

12 thoughts on “Queen of the Cotton Festival – 1941

  1. Christy says:

    Hi –
    I don’t know much about the festival but Gastonia is right outside of Charlotte. I live in Atlanta but basically lived in Charlotte for 6 months for work a while back. Charlotte has some fun spots and a neat Downtown area.
    Have fun at the festival if you attend!

  2. Beckysews says:

    Sadly, like much of the South, Gastonia is not the textile mecca it used to be. Do they still have the festival?
    If you do go you have to make a pilgrimage to Mary Jo’s. The most wonderful fabric store in the whole wide world!
    Holler if you need a NC “Tour Guide.” I live in the middle of the state and “need” to visit Mary Jo’s ;-)

  3. Kit says:

    I live in Dallas, NC which is right next to Gastonia. In town there is a small historical museum with a very nice section about the history of textiles in our area. Part of the display includes one of the dresses worn for the cotton festival.
    Here is a link to the museum for more information: http://www.gastoncountymuseum.org/
    As far as I know, the festival is no longer being held.

  4. Rachel Hobson says:

    Wow! Mary Jo’s looks great! I’ll definitely have to check it out if I’m ever in the area. Thanks for the tip! :)

  5. Rachel Hobson says:

    Thanks, Kit! Fascinating stuff on that web site – some great pictures, too! I’m so intrigued by all this … must do more research. Thanks for the comments! Great to learn more. :)

  6. Holly Gault says:

    I haven’t read this one yet but here is a synopsis from amazon:
    Morsi’s fifth novel chronicles three generations of McKinney, Texas, beauty queens as they rediscover the strength of family bonds in the wake of disappointment. Cotton Queen runner-up and mother of reluctant queen Laney, Babs Hoffman is a World War II widow and a rape survivor who doesn’t come fully back to life until psychotherapy and feminism invent new possibilities for her. Laney, on the other hand, learns the hard way that liberation isn’t the be-all end-all: character counts, love skews everything and there are worse things for a woman to do than to put on a pretty dress.
    Don’t know if some of the history of the cotton Festival will come out in it.

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