It’s summer lawn party season in the Valley.
For a handful of days, locals are given the chance to partake of homemade foods, family-friendly activities and visit with friends.
“It’s like a big yearly reunion for a lot of people,” said Charlie Craun, volunteer at the Bridgewater Volunteer Fire Company and lead organizer for the department’s upcoming lawn party. “You’ll see people you haven’t seen all year.”
This year, that tradition continues.
The Bridgewater lawn party, hosted by the BVFC, will be held July 16-19 at Harrison Park, adjacent to the Bridgewater Town Hall building. The Grottoes lawn party, hosted by the Grottoes Volunteer Fire Department, will take place July 30-Aug. 2 at Mountain View Park. And the Mount Crawford lawn party, thrown by the respective town’s Ruritan club, is slated for July 10-12 at Ruritan Park in Mount Crawford.
The Bridgewater lawn party holds significant meaning for Craun, as he’s attended the celebration each year since he was old enough to walk, he says.
“I grew up at this lawn party,” said the now 47-year-old. “The great thing about [the lawn party] is it’s been a family-involved ordeal for as long as I can remember.”
Craun’s father helped initiate a car show, which he says is a popular aspect of the four-day event each year.
This year’s show, which will boast dozens of vintage automobiles, is slated for 8 a.m. July 19.
And that’s not the only attraction to which folks can look forward.
On July 16, amusement rides — including a Ferris wheel and rollercoasters — will be available for children to ride with the purchase of an activity bracelet; cost is $15.
A host of parades will take place as well, including a tractor, antique car and firefighter’s parade, which will feature the volunteers of the town fire department.
Live music will be featured throughout the week, courtesy of local bands The Hackens Boys, EZGO Band, and American Brewed.
Food will be available for purchase each evening. All proceeds benefit the BVFC.
“This is our biggest fundraiser each year,” said Craun. “We always put on a good show.”
For Grottoes local Wanda Rittenhouse, the best show came 10 years ago.
In 2004, the Grottoes lawn party first began what has since come to be known as the Summer Bash Raffle. With the purchase of a $25 ticket, locals are entered for a chance to win prizes ranging firearms to ATV four-wheelers.
The Summer Raffle Bash is one of many attractions at this year’s lawn party, which Rittenhouse says has been an annual town festival for more than 55 years.
Each night, activity bracelets will be sold for $15 each, the bearers of which will be allowed on amusement rides — provided by Fun-Time Amusement — for the evening of purchase.
In addition to live music, a fireman’s parade will be held, which allows locals to showcase a float or other entry of their choosing.
“We’ve had a man showcase his fire engine collection to another person riding a funny bicycle,” added Rittenhouse.
Proceeds from the event benefit the GVFD.
“The town has been really supportive of this event,” said Rittenhouse. “It’s nice, wholesome fun that the entire family can enjoy.”
Each event is free and open to the public. Additional parking spaces will be available at Turner Ashby High School for Bridgewater event; a shuttle bus will bring individuals from TAHS to Harrison Park.
Contact Matt Gonzales at (540) 574-6265 or firstname.lastname@example.org