Friday, June 21, 2013

Virginia Festival Obtains Grass Roots Community Support

Aporkalypse Now
Thanks to all the competitors coming out to cook at the KCBS BBQ competition. All are helping us with our cause.  This one: Aporkalypse Now just won at  Swinetastic 2013!

I wanted to give a great big thank you for everyone who is helping me get this festival going in Winchester--well, I call it Winchester but it's really the tiny hidden unincorporated town of Clear Brook that houses the old Frederick County Fairgrounds. 

jay Dickeys
Thanks to my vendors like Jay Dickey's Sauces who are coming out to sell their wares!

I explained to the Winchester Star that when I was 19 I set up a food stand and started my career there. The fair used to be jammed with people and they would come from neighboring counties. It's a tradition, the old Frederick County Fair.  It's not the newest fairgrounds, or the biggest,  but it's the one that means something to me.  It's country.

kirsten sowers
Kirsten Sowers, is coming all the way from Philadelphia in the middle of her vacation to perform for us.

I really couldn't do it without all the help from the bands or the community. People don't realize how much effort or cost it takes to have a festival.  You have bands to pay, a soundman, ASCAP & BMI fees (even after you pay the bands to sing), security, permits...............

mik woodworking
MIK Woodworking helped us set up our cornhole area!

..............  fairground rental, insurance, dumpsters, cleaning, port a johns, attractions advertising, radio ads, cable tv ads,tshirts, flyers, signs,  and trying to get an electrician to modify or generators to give enough juice to your competitors, oh my gosh it all costs a pretty penny.

centennial Broadcasting
Centennial Broadcasting was willing to work with us. Shout out to Mario Ordonez. The other station thought $67 for 15 seconds was a great deal. Um, no, those dollars need to be raised for Cancer Care pal!

Johnny Blue
Thanks to all the local companies like Johnny Blue for helping us by giving us a great deal!

You try to cover some costs from vendors, sponsors, or admission but in this case we've decided to drop so many free passes or discount coupons just to get the community involved. On top of that, a portion of the gate we feel strongly should go to the Clear Brook Volunteer Fire and Rescue because volunteer firemen don't nearly get enough thanks period.  Additionally some of the gate will  help the local Clear Brook church who is helping  us with the parking.
Clear Brook Volunteer Fire and Rescue

The local Exchange Group is doing the alcohol sales and they do a lot of good for the community. Come out and support their organization.  As for the food, we are giving a portion of that to CancerCare, so we hope you will come, drink and eat!  

Frederick COunty Virginia
Did we mention we will have deep fried oreos and kettle corn ?

So how do you come out on top so that you can donate a nice sized chunk to charity? You hope for good sunny weather and lots of Community Support.  I was in shock that even people from Pennsylvania wanted to help me - they were willing to donate generators (Keystruct) if I needed them or propane (Thanks Suburban Propane).

Ask Neal
Companies like AskNeal, helped reduce their normal rates to help us with this festival.

Countless hours, planning, and still so much to do.  So why even do it?  

cynthia mclain
My wife (left) learned how to cook from her mother (right). She had her when she was 21.

For us, it's personal.

When my Mother-in-Law told us she had colorectal cancer in September 2010, she had decided to go thru chemo and get a small tumor removed. Routine operation, and she was in good health. She cooked for a living, loving her job and the town of Danforth, Maine where she lived. Two weeks before Christmas in December 2010, her surgery was a success in a Maine hospital. She was declared cancer free--the tumor removed and her lymph nodes were clear. Plans to take her home the afternoon of the next day were foiled when they got the call later that evening that she was dead from unknown circumstances. Even after an autopsy, no one to this day will ever know why.   

Cancer Festival
Sending light to all of those battling or that have lost someone to cancer.

My mother in law told me when she died, not to mourn or have a funeral. Have a damn big party, lots of food and music and celebrate her life.    We couldn't seem to regroup fast enough when seven  months almost to the day, my wife's stepfather took his own life. After 33 years of marriage and a broken heart, he drank himself to death, taking off his wedding ring and writing a note. He could not bear life without her and carried her tin of ashes with him wherever he went.   Our family was in turmoil.  When you are faced with something so horrible, it is sometimes hard to shed light on it. 
virginia spice company
CF Sauer helped us with banners, free spices, and more. Thank you!

Our first ever is dedicated to her. and that's what we are doing.  That's why we are putting our money, and our soul in it. It's purely a do good festival.   We've  cut our competitors off to give them personalized service.  We've not sold tickets to avoid passing ticket fees to the public. We've gone grass roots and knocked on doors of businesses in Clarke, Stephens City, Winchester, Martinsburg, Inwood, Clear Brook and Shepardstown to tell them about this.

Signet Signs
Signet helped us with a giant sign, reducing it by LOTS off the regular pricing. That's community support!

If it's a success, we will damn sure make this an annual event. We would want to choose different area non profits each year to help. 

Hatfield Quality Meats
Thanks for big names like Hatfield for believing in us!
It's a hell of a lot of work, and it's not going to be perfect, but it's going to be our best shot of giving something back to the world and the community.  Turning a bad situation into something good.

Around the Panhandle
So much support from West Virginia, and from  Around the Panhandle Magazine, check them out here!

Thanks to the companies who helped me with donations for the public, the hotels for giving great discounts, and for all the help I received from Richard Leight and the Frederick County Fair board.

Grand Rental Station
Grand Rental Station has helped with product donations.

So the next two weeks I will spend modifying the Frederick County Fair into Virginia's hottest new festival......I will be busy as all get out and unable to talk to you guys.   I hope to see you there.

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