The North Carolina Gourd Society (formerly the Gourd Village Garden Club) first met in Cary in 1937. The oldest chapter of the American Gourd Society, it is among the oldest garden clubs in North Carolina. Early festivals were held in the school cannery, a dry cleaners and a furniture store. Over the years festivals have featured dolls, a gourmet gourd buffet, hard-working, practical gourds, Mother Goose gourds and many others.
Gourds are grown as garden novelties for their strange and wonderful shapes, as craft material and musical instruments, as well as practical, working implements. The smallest can be the size of a marble and the largest a 200-pound armful. A household necessity since the beginning of civilization, gourds still are used today. Many growers raise birdhouse gourds as homes for purple martins, colorful ornamentals to decorate our Thanksgiving tables, and luffa sponges are popular bath time buddies. What U.S. gourd growers call gourds are three different plants. All are cousins of squash, some closer kin than others.
Membership in the North Carolina Gourd Society is $12 and includes four issues of the society's quarterly newsletter Gourd News. The newsletter contains dates and locations for the quarterly meetings of the North Carolina Gourd Society, officers and general membership in central North Carolina, along with information on the Western Carolina Gourd Patch, and is filled out with interesting and timely articles for gourd crafters and growers alike.
Click HERE to see our current by-laws. The North Carolina Gourd Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation dedicated to the culture and heritage of gourds in America.
North Carolina Gourd Patches
Triangle Gourd Patch
The Triangle Gourd Patch continues to grow AND has their own web page at: Triangle Gourd Patch website.
Contact Ellen Healy (919) 996-9192 for more information about the Triangle Gourd Patch and its future activities.
The Triad has two active patches that cover the Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and High Point areas. The basics and intermediate work are taught every other month (starting in January) on the third Tuesday of that month at the Flower and Garden Building of the Dixie Classic Fair Grounds in Winston-Salem. The even months feature an advanced workshop in Judi's Summerfield, NC studio north of Greensboro. Contact Judi Fleming for more information.
The Far Western North Carolina
Gourd Patch meets on the 3rd Wednesday of each month from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at the Shooting Creek Fire Dept. Community Room. Shooting Creek Fire Dept. Community Room, - 18 Eagle Fork Rd. - Hayesville, NC 28904.
This location is east of Hayesville, N.C. off of Hwy 64. Members come from over a hundred miles in all directions from east Tennessee, Georgia and western NC. The patch is open to the public and only requires each participant to donate $5 per meeting to cover the cost of renting the space. Every month a technique or project is presented for a minimal cost, generally $5-$10. Notices of the meeting project are sent out over e-mail at the beginning of each month so that supplies can be gathered up and gourds prepared. All are welcome and can call Betsey Sloan at: (828) 349-0941 for more information and directions.
Star Fleming is very interested in starting a "Beach Patch". If you live along the North Carolina coast and would like to check it out, please contact Star Fleming. Her phone number is: (252) 264-4649.
2017 North Carolina Gourd Arts and Crafts Festival
The 76th Annual North Carolina Gourd Festival will be November 4-5, 2017 in the Holshouser Building on the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, North Carolina. This year's theme is "Under the Sea". Details and links to maps are on the "Festival" page.
For your entertainment, we have added many pictures of past NC gourd festivals to this website. Click here to see them.
Marvin Johnson Gourd Museum
In 1965, Marvin and Mary Johnson established their gourd museum in a small building on their farm in the Kennebec community, just north of Angier, NC. Marvin grew over 200 types of gourds on the farm and, between them, he and Mary traded gourds and seeds with people in countries all around the world. The museum let them share their treasures with the public and admission was always free.
After more than 40 years, the farm was sold. In 2006 the town of Angier, North Carolina stepped forward to provide a new home for The Marvin and Mary Johnson Gourd Museum and, in the Johnsons' tradition, admission is still free to the public.