The upcoming Brookneal Fest has been rescheduled to Saturday, Oct. 12, 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. During the planning sessions, it came to light that the original date of September 7 would conflict with the North Halifax Volunteer Fire Department’s annual fundraising Marathon that will also celebrate the 42nd anniversary of the department. “There’s no way we want to conflict with that,” says Brookneal Chamber of Commerce Vice President Wayne Tribble.
The chamber recently let Brookneal Town Council know that they will revive Day in the Town in a manner of speaking. The new day of fun will be called Brookneal Fest.
The planning committee is meeting regularly to organize all of the good things happening on this day.
While at council, Tribble explained that they were following other towns’ lead that holding a big festival is a good way to bring in lots of visitors to the town to increase business for all. “Altavista has Uncle Billy’s Day, Appomattox has the Railroad Festival, and Halifax has the Heritage festival, just to name a few,” he said.
Plans are to block off Main Street from Smith Street up to the end of the street at Guthrie’s Hardware. Also included would be E. Rush Street and the connecting streets around the old bank, town buildings and The Union Star.
“We want to get San Soucy to be here to do tasting and sell bottles of their wine. Staunton River Brewery will be selling beer.”
Plans are being created to carefully monitor beer sales with no more than four beers per person allowed and age verification required. Staff will be stationed at various areas to keep people from sneaking in outside alcohol.
Plans include live music to play throughout the day. There is no admission charge to attend and local restaurants will be offering food for sale.
The street will be lined with a variety of vendors. Tribble added, “The chamber has talked about offering a free one year membership to any vendor buying a spot that day.”
As with any event, there is a lot of work that goes into planning. The chamber has been talking to Tonya Massey at ABC and with VDOT on the streets closing. Barricades will be erected at the appropriate places (the town offered free use of their own barricades).
No coolers or outside beverages will be allowed.
Town Manager Russell Thurston has been working with the chamber on setting up the festival and will provide a checklist to help the process.
Chamber President Lori Shepherd asked if they could borrow the town’s picnic tables. Tribble also added that the company they rent port a johns from will be responsible for trash clean up.
He said, “The chamber is working hard and would like to attend council meetings every month. We’re all in this together. We want people to come to Brookneal. Some of us don’t like offering alcohol, but that is a part of society and draws a crowd.”
Thurston expressed his appreciation at the chamber picking up the event (with a limited staff) now that the Day in the Town has been discontinued due to short staff. The day previously was held the first Saturday in May. There was no event in 2019 with most of it being rained out when it officially closed in 2018.
Do you want to be a part of Brookneal Fest? Contact Tribble or President Lori Shepherd for more information.