Each January, Zora Neale Hurston’s hometown of Eatonville, Florida, remembers its native writer at the Zora! Festival. It’s an appropriate time, as Hurston’s birthday is January 7, and she died on January 28.
Although Hurston was born in Notasulga, Alabama, she called Eatonville home into her teenage years. Located near Orlando, Eatonville is the oldest incorporated African American municipality in the country, a fact that surely influenced her work even as she found her way to New York and, later on, Fort Pierce, Florida, where she died.
Hurston didn’t achieve the fame she deserved while alive, but her hometown festival makes sure she’s remembered each year with visual arts, oral history, crafts, dance, film and literature. This year’s Zora! festival will also conclude a two-year celebration of Eatonville’s 125th anniversary and include an Africa Diaspora Pavilion, Art Stroll at the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts, an international forum on “Zora’s Eatonville” and the always popular HATitude party and luncheon, celebrating Hurston’s penchant for headwear on February 2.
The 2013 festival runs from January 26-February 3, coinciding with the Outdoor Festival of the Arts in Eatonville February 1-3. Admission is free for many events, and locations vary. View the full schedule here.
To find out more about Zora Neale Hurston’s hometown and Florida’s Dust Tracks Heritage Trail, which includes her home and gravesite, download the Deep South Literary Trail App.