THIS SUNDAY: Digitally remastered film of 1939 Tulip Festival premiers at Turnage

Published 1:55 pm Friday, June 7, 2024

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On Sunday, June 9, Beaufort County residents will get their first look at the digitally remastered film of the 1939 Tulip Festival. The premier is made possible through a collaborative effort between the Beaufort County Arts Council, the Historic Port of Washington Project, and the Brown Library.

“It made all of the sense in the world to open the venue for groups like the Historic Port of Washington Project to be able to tell stories of our history in a space that is so representative of our history,” said Bronté Labbé, visual arts, and marketing director for the council. “I hope the Tulip Festival screening is the first of many opportunities for collaboration with the Historic Port of Washington and the Brown Library. We will continue to use the space to tell more stories about our history, the arts, and celebrate them in a special way.”

Brown Library historian Stephen Farrell said the film was in a tin can in the library’s history room. Farrell was able to borrow a projector from the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to see what they had. “Ray Midgett with the Historic Port of Washington Project and I sat down and discovered we had the color version of the festivities from 1939,” said Farrell. “Not wanting to damage the film in any way, I reached out to the Wilson Library in Chapel Hill and was able to get the film digitally copied for free. Ray was then able to go in and enhance the video and improve its overall quality and also added music. We were also able to identify many people in the video by looking at digitized copies of stories that had appeared in the Washington Daily News. We hope people will come out and support this collaborative effort to preserve our culture, promote our history, and draw tourists to the area. This has been a long time coming and we look forward to future opportunities.”

The doors will open between 12:30 pm and 1:00 pm on Sunday. Visitors will have the opportunity to look at all of the exhibits provided by the Historic Port of Washington that will be on display. They will include many artifacts from the 1939 Tulip Festival along with newspaper clippings and photos. There will also be folks who marched in the 1939 Tulip Festival parade. The film will begin at around 2:00 pm. “This will be a great opportunity for people to mingle and engage with some local history,” said Labbé. “During the showing of the film people will have the opportunity to ask questions beyond just watching. I’m excited about it all. It should be fun!”