A Dream of Loveliness PDF Print Email
Written by Hope Trent   
Friday, September 16, 2016 12:53 PM
news clipping about 189

Kirmess (kermess, kermis)



1. A local, outdoor fair or festival

2. A similar entertainment, usually for charitable purposes

In December of 1896, the NSCDA-NC hosted a week-long kirmess in the opera hall of Wilmington (Thalian Hall). The purpose of the event was to raise money to erect a monument honoring Cornelius Harnett, a Revolutionary patriot from Wilmington. Harnett was one of three delegates representing North Carolina at the Continental Congress from 1777 to 1779.  After being captured in a British invasion, Harnett died from the harsh conditions of his imprisonment.

The Society’s kirmess consisted of a series of stage productions representing the cultures of the many nations across the globe. The opening night of the show featured a variety of dances, tableaux (groups of models representing scenes from history), and processions. “The Swedish Christmas Eve Dance,” “Japanese Court Dancers,” and “Ancient Athenian Feast”  are examples of the many performances enacted that night. With over 200 participants, the Society was able to put on a successful show that was enjoyed by many.

The event inspired one newspaper editor to challenge 10 Wilmington men to raise or donate $50 for the Society’s monument. The editor declared himself as the first to accept the challenge.