LAWRENCEVILLE – The weather was perfect on Saturday, Oct. 12, for the 2019 Taste of Brunswick Festival held this year at the Lawrenceville-Brunswick Municipal Airport. It was the first year the festival was held at this location. Lots of planning was done regarding traffic to handle the large volume of vehicles.
Sheriff Brian Roberts was delighted with how everything went and thanked his staff, the Virginia State Police, and the Virginia Department of Transportation. We asked Sheriff Roberts to estimate the number of people who attended.
Sheriff Roberts stated, “My team marked off the various parking areas days before the event. Based on those calculations, we estimate we parked around 3,000 vehicles. If you average that each car had 2-3 people in them, one could estimate that we had 7,500+ people in attendance.”
When asked about what he thought about the festival overall, he stated, “I promise we can’t safely or legally park 3,000 vehicles at the previous venue. I loved it, and it was an amazing turnout. It got a bit warm. Some people got too hot. There are things that we will continue to improve on, but I heard nothing but great comments. If the festival stays at this location, I would love to see the Board of Supervisors make some investments for restroom facilities for all these festival events.”
A total of 26 stewmasters participated in the Brunswick Stew Cook-Off sponsored by the Brunswick Stewmasters Association. The winners were first place - Clark Bennett, Danieltown Stew Crew from Blackstone; second place - Aaron Gibson - In honor of Chunk Gibson, from Richmond; third place - Mike Browder, Planters Road Stew Crew from Dolphin; and fourth place - William Slayton from Chesterfield. The winner will be asked to cook Brunswick Stew at the Capitol for Brunswick Stew Day on the fourth Wednesday of January.
Planning for the festival begins in March. Members of the committee are: Sylvia Allen, Earl Blick, Chad Clary, George Daniel, Lois Daniel, Christie Hales, Dixie Walker, the Honorable Bernard Jones, Michael Grimm, Dr. Alfonzo “Fonz” Seweard, Vondrenna Smithers, Dr. John Sykes, Anthony Taylor, Nancy Watson, Roger Wray, Wendy Wright, Julian Moore and Wendy Grimm. Donnie Edmonds served as emcee and offered the invocation.
The Brake Tyme Band from Henderson, North Carolina performed from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Don Brake said they were thrilled with the response from the audience and thoroughly enjoyed the festival.
Geraldine “Cake” Woodley beautifully led the audience in singing the National Anthem. She reminded everyone to be thankful for the freedoms we enjoy.
Supervisor Dr. Barbara Jarrett – Chair, Brunswick County Board of Supervisors, offered a word of welcome.
“Welcome to Brunswick County and Southside Virginia. On behalf of my colleagues, I welcome you and hope you enjoy the festival, and all that Brunswick County has to offer. We know you will enjoy some delicious Brunswick Stew. Again I say welcome,” Dr. Harris said.
Dr. Quentin Johnson, President, Southside Virginia Community College, said it was his first festival and looked forward to tasting Brunswick Stew. He thanked the faculty, staff, and students at SVCC for their warm welcome. He encouraged everyone to see what SVCC has to offer.
You saw a lot of families at the festival. Ages ranged from tiny babies to more mature guests. When asked about the new location, everyone I asked liked having it at the airport. They commented on the flat ground that made it easier to maneuver if you are in a wheelchair or motorized scooter. Several people told me they enjoy sampling the different Brunswick Stews. I talked to people from Chesapeake and Chase City who had heard about the festival.