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Forsyth County’s 100th Anniversary

More than 100,000 people jammed the downtown streets on May 12, 1949.

Forsyth County celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding in 1949. Plans for the celebration began as early as January 1949, when the Centennial Beard Committee was formed by local artist Joe King. The Committee was known as the “Bushgrowers” and was active in planning activities for the centennial, including a train excursion to Wilmington on April 30th.

Other activities for the centennial included the publication and sale of a county history book titled Forsyth: A County on the March, a costume square dance, a costume ball, an arts and crafts exhibition, a night of opera, a festival symphony concert, burying a time capsule, a parade, a drama about Forsyth County, and a performance of Verdi’s Requiem.

Winston-Salem police estimated that more than 100,000 people jammed the downtown streets on May 12, 1949 for the festivities of burying a time capsule and a parade. A steel cylinder filled with artifacts about the county was buried on the courthouse lawn, to be opened on May 12, 2049. The centennial parade lasted one hour and fifteen minutes, and had 35 floats, seven bands, dozens of vehicles, and hundreds of costumed citizens that walked or rode the route from Broad Street to Fourth to Main, ending at Salem College.

The Centennial Committee

James A. Gray Jr. was chairman of the Centennial Committee. Among the honored guests on the reviewing stand were Governor Kerr Scott, Mayor George Lentz, City Manager C. E. Perkins, Representative Thurmond Chatham, House Speaker Kerr Ramsay, actress and Winston-Salem native Kathryn Grayson with husband Johnnie Johnston, UNC football star Charlie Justice, and local and county officials.

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