A Bit of History
Long before the Autumn Glory Festival became an annual event, a group of turkey growers organized and promoted turkey dinners. The turkey dinners were an on-again off-again event until the Lions Club became involved in the 1960’s, said local historian John Grant. The idea of a large festival to attract visitors to the area remained popular and led to the start of the Annual Autumn Glory Festival, which now attracts more than 60 thousand each October. In 2004, the turkey growers were the Autumn Glory Grand Parade Marshals in recognition of the 50th anniversary of that first Garrett County Turkey Growers’ Festival. Turkey dinners remain an important part of those early celebrations and the Autumn Glory Festival which began in 1967. The early dinner was considered a big sucess, with volunteers serving turkey dinners to as many as 475 people. Many also sampled the smoked turkey, which was a new addition at the time. Wives of the Turkey Growers prepared the meal and 4-H members served people who came to the dinners from New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., Ohio, Pennsylvania and many areas of Maryland. In 2007 The Autumn Glory Festival was listed as the top fall festival in the world by the popular travel site MSN.com.