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How it started....
Inspired by the vast number of blueberry farms in the area, the North Carolina Blueberry Festival was first organized in 1967. The Chamber of Commerce recruited a committee of local businessmen to instigate and implement the event for the White Lake and Elizabethtown area. The festival committee relied heavily on commerce and civic organizations to provide financial means from donations. The Elizabethtown Jaycees led by example, hosting the Miss NC Blueberry Queen Pageant, a week before the festival. With entertainment, a parade, vendors, and special events, the Festival drew thousands of visitors to the Lake. The White Lake Ski Heels, performing Cypress Gardens style ski shows, were the weekend's greatest draw. With skiers spinning 360 degrees off the top of 6-feet tall ramps, three-tier human pyramids, beach-start barefoot water skiing, and a hang glider launched from a towing boat, the Ski Heels were a show stopper. The Festival continued until 1974, when the Arab oil embargo dramatically curtailed travel throughout the country. Consequently, the Festival organizers cancelled the event. 

In 1976 the Ski Heels hosted the first
East Coast Delta Wing and Glider Championship
on June 12. Pilots from across the southeastern
United States came to compete. The East Coast
Delta Wing and Glider Championship, eventually
shortened to East Coast Hang Gliding Championship, thrived from 1976 until 1982. 

Three years into the event, The Elizabethtown - White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce approached the Ski Heels about developing a festival around the hang gliding tournament. Consequently, in 1979 the community sponsored the first annual White Lake Water Festival which still exists today. 
Competitors came from all over southeastern US.
This information was provided by a local historian, Cathy Faircloth Kinlaw. To learn more about the history of White Lake, look for White Lake a Historical Tour of the Nations' Safest Beach on Barnes and Noble.
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