Who We Are

History of the Crape Myrtle Festival

Crape Myrtle Festival in 1981

Crape Myrtle Festival (CMF) originated in the summer of 1981 as a small backyard gathering in Wilmington, North Carolina. The party quickly grew in size and moved to Chapel Hill, focusing on the needs of the local gay and lesbian community. In response to the emerging AIDS health crisis, CMF soon began concentrating on raising funds for the HIV/AIDS service agencies located in the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill area.

The small party evolved into a yearly festival, increasing the donations given by individuals and corporations supporting its goal, and culminating in a Grand Gala celebrated in the last weekend of July. By the early 1990s, special events such as educational seminars, sports tournaments, and musical concerts preceded the Gala, resulting in a week of CMF activities.

In 1992 a group of dedicated individuals initiated the process of incorporating CMF as a recognized North Carolina non-profit organization. By law, these individuals became responsible for setting policies and drafting necessary documents. CMF received state recognition as an official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in May 1993.

As the 1990s passed and the new millennium began, CMF continued to fine-tune its mission statement and broaden its focus to additional health needs found within the gay, lesbian, and transgender communities. For over two decades, it has heightened positive awareness and promoted fellowship in these communities located within the Triangle area. As we stay focused on our goals, CMF will continue to expand and identify new areas in which fundraising efforts make an impact on the community.

Invitations from Past Festivals