Volunteers make Old Farm Day possible

Submitted by Jackie Bland

What is a volunteer? One definition says it is a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task. Sometimes that is true, but today it is more often a person who has been asked to engage in a project or task. And that was primarily true in my case!

When I moved to Fluvanna County in 2012, there were a lot of rumors floating around about the newly built high school and when it would open, and questions about tax rates, pumping water to Louisa, and other issues. I wanted to learn more of the facts around these many issues, so I enrolled in the Fluvanna Leadership Development Program (FLDP) Class 12 (2014-15), where I got answers.

Our class project was to put on a volunteer fair for the county and I was involved in marketing that event. During the fair, while I was visiting with all the organizations seeking volunteers, one of the FLDP steering committee members said to me, “I want you to help with Old Farm Day.” And there it started.

Today, I am co-chair of Old Farm Day and one of my many roles is vendor recruitment, registration and interaction.

As a volunteer I engage with many dedicated folks, some of whom have been involved in Old Farm Day since its inception 23 years ago. Glenn Schumaker is one of those people. His parents, Ruby and Frank Schumaker of Glennacres Farm on Route 53, were part of the inaugural Old Farm Day Committee along with John May and numerous others. Glenn has been involved for most of those 23 years volunteering his time in a variety of ways, arranging for hay wagons and tractors to pull them, Gators for transporting guests and Old Farm Day volunteers, finding sponsors and so much more. Glenn is one of our go-to guys.

Another couple that has been involved for ages is Mary and David Tilman. Over the years they have been engaged in most aspects of Old Farm Day and they handle a lot of the logistical details, like ordering the tent for the stage, arranging for smaller tents, tables and chairs, notifying VDOT about our event, and lots more. They, along with Glenn and several others, have provided a lot of institutional knowledge to us newcomers.

Then there’s Sandy Hopkins, a relative newcomer to Fluvanna County and volunteer who built and manages www.oldfarmday.org, which has been up and informing vendors and visitors alike for the past three years. Sandy also helps the committee secure sponsors for the event. Sponsors really make a difference, as they help offset the risk if we have bad weather or low attendance. Sandy is active with the Farm Bureau Women’s Committee and is part of the team that has an exhibit at Old Farm Day.

In addition to the 20-person committee that organizes and executes the event, over 100 volunteers come from all generations: Girl Scouts, football players, Fork Union Military Academy cadets, moms, dads, students, grandparents and retirees. Each year we need help in the weeks leading up to the event to transport old farm equipment, the barrel train, ATVs, golf carts, hay wagons, and other items to the park. We also need help securing sponsors, marking spaces, erecting fencing, circulating flyers and posters, installing banners, and setting up some of our exhibits.

The day of Old Farm Day we need volunteers to work shifts at our various house exhibits, such as the pie and photo contests, the admission gate, our new tasting garden entrance, wine pick-up table, and quilt raffle booth. We also need folks to monitor and control each of the six sections of the event.

My husband and I personally find that our involvement leading up to and on the day of Old Farm Day is rewarded many times over when we see all the smiling, happy visitors and exhibitors leaving the park. Won’t you join us?

Anyone interested in volunteering should email info@oldfarmday.org or call the Fluvanna Historical Society at 434-589-7010.

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