Cigarette advertisement, c. 1937 Courtesy: South Boston-Halifax County Museum
The National Tobacco Festival
Tobacco has been a major staple of the economy of
Halifax County and the state of Virginia since 1700. Originating in
1935 in the small town of South Boston, the National Tobacco
Festival was conceived by two local businessmen as a way to promote
the superior quality of the local leaf. The first festival queen
was Miss Westwood Byrd, daughter of U.S. Senator Harry Flood Byrd.
The three-day festival featured pageants, parades, beauty queens,
band competitions, clogging and fiddling contests, and Hollywood
stunt men performing daring feats. Believing that it had outgrown
the small town of South Boston, its organizers held the last
festival in South Boston in 1941, the next year moving it to
Richmond. Project documentation includes photographs, a report
describing the history and significance of the festival, original
festival programs, a pageant script, newspaper clippings, and a
Tobacco Festivals, 1935-1941, assembled from
old 16 mm film clips.
Originally submitted by: Virgil Goode, Jr., Representative (5th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.