This year's theme for Archives Month is “The Lighter Side of Tarheelia: Fun, Frolic, and Festivals in the Old North State.” Today's post is contributed by Grace May at the Forsyth County Public Library.
October is Archives Month - woohoo! It's a month about remembering the importance of historic documents and records. Here at the Forsyth County Public Library's Archives, we have great collections that reflect the history of our county. In celebration of this, I've looked through our collections to find some fun items. Turns out lots of people have fun at festivals, so here we go.
The Arts Council Collection (201501) has boxes and boxes of documents and ephemera. 86 boxes to be exact. You can find information on the founding of the council in 1949 to the 1988 Mayfest International. Speaking of the 1988 Mayfest International in Winston-Salem, did you know that the Arts Council helped fund the event?
Mayfest International was a celebration of international cultures, food, and customs. There was a cooking contest, homemade goods available for sale, and craft demonstrations. This means you could see how to make origami, eat Puerto Rican bacalaitosfritos (fish fritters) then Italian cannolis (fried pastry filled with cream), and pick up Liberian fashions and jewelry - all in one day!
The Mayfest International Festival happened every May in Winston-Salem for 15 years until 1991 when it was canceled. There had been major financial losses for the sponsors in 1990, the Arts Council included, and they put the festival (along with another annual festival called Carolina StreetScene) "on hold." They had hoped to find more sponsors or somehow renew interest from the community, but these festivals never came back.
Not current enough for you? Well, we do have the Hispanic League Collection (201805). The Hispanic League was established in 1992 to help better the lives of the Hispanic population of Winston-Salem. That same year, they had the first Fiesta. They've continued to have a Fiesta every year. It happens during Hispanic Heritage Month (mid-September to mid-October).
It's a free event offering live music, other entertainment, food, crafts, and even recently a mini carnival. In the Hispanic League Collection, you can find promotional materials, funding and financial documents, planning records, maps of the event, correspondence, and more on these absolutely fantastic Fiestas. See below for a video from their YouTube account recapping the 2021 Fiesta. Hey, maybe even try and make it out next year!
Fiesta 2021 Recap