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The successful eradication of the boll weevil and the construction of new cotton gins has led to a resurgence of cotton planting. For example, Halifax County, which planted 16,400 acres in 1985, raised 59,900 in 1995.
Settled by Quakers in the 1700s, the Perquimans River town changed its name in 1861 from Newby's Bridge to Belvidere. The river was an important route in the early days, but now most activity takes place at Layden's Supermarket or Red's Trading Post.
Edenton, in Chowan County, was the state's first colonial capital. A number of colonial buildings, including the Cupola House and St. Paul's Episcopal Church, remain and are part of the attractions that draw over 30,000 tourists to the town each year.
Born on Christmas Eve, 1922, near Smithfield in Johnston County, Ava Gardner achieved movie stardom in films like ON THE BEACH. The Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield contains numerous momentoes of her career.
Brightly colored lights are a part of Christmas traditions, and a number of towns, including McAdenville, Lillington, and Wilmington, have impressive light displays. Wilmington is home also to the state's largest Christmas tree.