Monday, May 16, 2011

Friends of Feathers

At one time Harrisonburg was known as the “Turkey Capital of the World.” In the late 1930s and early 1940s Harrisonburg hosted a turkey festival complete with a parade and a festival queen.

In 1967, a group called Friends of Feathers staged their first annual get together to celebrate the turkey industry. This event was held on April 28, 1967 at Belle Meade Restaurant.

In 1968 the event included a parade at which Peggy Simmers served as Egg Princess.

The 1969 get together included Dr. Carl S. Winters as speaker. The June 1969 edition of “The Virginia Poultryman” noted that guests at the dinner were “greeted at the door by four pretty girls in real feathered mini-dresses (pg. 4).”

In 1969 the Friends of Feathers event was preceded by a 3 day Folklore and Poultry Festival sponsored by the Virginia State Poultry Federation, Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce, and Shenandoah Valley Folklore Society. The festival included music, food, craft demonstrations, and antique-displays.

May 3-9, 1970 was recognized as “Friends of Feathers Week” by Virginia Governor Linwood Holton.

At the 1970 Poultry Festival Parade the Indian Maids of Ft. Defiance High School were awarded the prize for Best Majorette Group and Elkton High School won the award for Best High School Band. The parade was capped off by a concert performed by Del Reeves in Court Square.

The Virginia Poultry Federation continued to hold the large scale annual Friends of Feathers events through the mid-1990’s. Today the group still hosts the Friends of Feathers Golf Tournament.

You can read more about the Friends of Feathers events from 1967 to 1991 in the library’s scrapbooks at the downtown Harrisonburg branch of Massanutten Regional Library.

Do you have memories from these events to share with us? If so, please use the comment box below this entry so the library community can benefit from your thoughts.

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