Supervisors give official nod to festivals in Ruckersville

By Susan Gibbs

The Greene County Board of Supervisors took only minutes to unanimously approve Carroll and Lynette Morris’ request for a special use permit that would enable festivals on their land along US 33 East in Ruckersville.

The county has issued approvals and clearances for events in the past. The request supervisors heard at their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, March 27, was for a consolidation of that paperwork into one special use permit.

“I appreciate the fact that over the years Mr. Morris has allowed the county to use his land,” said Supervisor Jim Frydl, shortly before the vote was taken.  “I don’t think that (generosity) has been fully appreciated. I want to say that publicly.”

Discover Virginia Wine Fest

“Echo that comment,” said Supervisor Eddie Deane.

Frydl and Deane were referring to the 184 acres on US 33 East in Ruckersville, conveniently located just a mile and a half from that road’s intersection with US 29 that have been the site of the Mid-Atlantic Power Fest, numerous wine festivals, and a chili cook off.

The new special use permit, which will not transfer with land ownership, allows for a maximum of 15 recreational events per year.

“The proposed use is supported by the Comprehensive Plan,” Svoboda informed supervisors. “It has been successful in attracting tourism (to the county).”

Indeed.

For the past six years the Morrises have allowed the Discover Virginia Wine Festival to be held on the acreage. For the past three years, it has been the site of the Mid-Atlantic Power Festival, and last year it became the site of the Discover Virginia Chili Cook Off.  All show signs of becoming annual events.

The seventh annual Discover Virginia Wine Festival is slated for Saturday and Sunday, April 21 and 22.  Signs are up around the county, and its Web site is open for viewing at www.discovervirginia.net.

The event, which is all about tasting Virginia wines, also features food, music and children’s activities – all in a family setting.

The fourth annual Mid-Atlantic Power Festival will be held Tuesday, June 12 through Saturday, June 16.

This event, which is being advertised at www.mapfest.net, features carnival rides, a demolition derby, monster trucks, truck and tractor pulls, motocross, and more.

Last fall the county hosted its first International Chili Society chili cook off on the Morris land. Cooks from around Virginia came to test their skills creating traditional red chili, chili verde, and salsa. Winners of ICS-sanctioned cook offs qualify to compete for cash prizes and awards at the World’s Championship Chili Cook Off.  The event also included music and other entertainment, as well as appearances by Miss Chili Pepper and Mr. Hot Sauce. A date has not yet been set for this year’s cook off, but information, as it comes available, can be found at www.discovervirginia.net.

Board Vice-chairman Davis Lamb made the motion that the requested special use permit be approved, and Deane seconded the motion.

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