Virgilina's 'Summerfest' Draws In Record Crowd

Virgilina, VA - A small town in Halifax County drew in thousands of people Saturday, part of the 32nd annual Summerfest celebration. The event is all about music, food and family fun. It's also a time for people to show appreciation for their local volunteer fire department. Florence Avenue was closed and decorated with food, fun and families. "We have a parade, we have stew, we have chicken, barbecue, all kinds of vendors. We have a street dance tonight, we shut the street down, you know, we kick the cars out of here, people dance till about 10 o' clock tonight, we have live music all day long," said Casey Brewer, President of the Virgilina Volunteer Fire Department. Folks say they look forward to this time of the year and that Summerfest is their official kick-off to the summer season. "It started out, it was just a small bluegrass festival and it just kind of grew from there," Brewer said. Natarshia Lassiter grew up in Virgilina and has been to every single Summerfest, since it started 32 years ago. Although she no longer lives in the area, she keeps the tradition going. "It's like four and a half hours from Baltimore, Maryland and I do the trek every year I leave at 4 o' clock in the morning to get here before the parade begins," Lassiter explained. The Virgilina Volunteer Fire Department is thankful for the dedicated attendees over the years like Lassiter. On average, the fire department garners in $15,000 from the event. "It cost about $80,000 to maintain operations for this department. As you can see it's barely a drop in the bucket for the amount that we need to keep the doors open. But we are partially funded by the state, so it helps a lot. But it's more or less about asking the community for help and being able to have some fun at the same time," Brewer said. Organizers say the crowds gobbled up 200 gallons of stew and 300 pounds of pork Saturday, keeping the volunteers busy.