How it Began...
Up until 1968 no AA Conventions were held from November to April anywhere in the Southeast nor, in fact, anywhere east of the Mississippi. Consequently, many AA friends from different states eagerly looked forward to attending the conferences and weekend gatherings in the months they were available, but felt their absence during the other months.
One weekend in early 1967, several members from Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, Chapel Hill, and Burlington got together for a causal “no fills” weekend of relaxation and fellowship. Accordingly, they booked the entire top floor of the Jack Tar Hotel in Durham. This was an all-suite floor including the Presidential Suite, with each suite renting for $8.00 per night. As they were socializing, they decided to have an AA meeting and before their weekend was over, this one meeting had been expanded to three. This sparked the idea for a weekend conference to fill the gap in such get-togethers during the cold, wintery months. The Jack Tar Hotel in Durham seemed like a good place for such a conference, so the group unanimously agreed to meet again later that year to plan the event.
In October 1967, the group of eight men assembled at the Jack Tar Hotel to work out details for the new conference. They decided to recruit a dynamic young woman AA member they met from the Hotel staff, apparently believing - it never hurt to have an “inside” source. This rounded out the nine member planning group that served as the first Board of Directors and paved the way for the Tar Heel Mid-Winter Conference to come into being over the weekend of January 19-21, 1968.
The fledgling Tar Heel Mid-Winter Conference continued to be held at the Jack Tar Hotel annually from 1968 until the Hotel was demolished in 1973. Totally in keeping with our experiences today, the early conferences were not without controversy. When the hotel announced a fifty cent increase to the $6.00 single / $8.00 double room rates, an immediate outcry was heard and one of the Board members was dispatched immediately to work with the hotel and negotiate a reduction in the drastic increase.
The conference subsequently moved to Greensboro, to Winston-Salem, to Raleigh for one year, back to Winston-Salem and since 1991, has reminded at the Hilton North Raleigh. Today we enjoy many conferences throughout the year in the U.S., many of them patterned after the Tar Heel Mid-Winter Conference.
There is one member of the original Board of Directors still serving. With your active support and participation, the current Board is committed to assuring that the Tar Heel Mid-Winter Conference continues to enrich our Fellowship as it has from 1968 in the spirit of Love and Service.