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First Deltaville Seafood Festival ‘a major success’

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The first Deltaville Seafood Festival attracted over 5,000 visitors and was held on the grounds of the Deltaville Community Association (above) and the Deltaville Maritime Museum. (Photo by Stephen Blue)

by Larry Chowning

The decision by the Deltaville Community Association (DCA) to beat the July 4th heat by not holding a Heritage Day celebration this year and, instead, host the first Deltaville Seafood Festival on Memorial Day weekend was a move that appears to have paid off for everyone, including the 5,000-plus visitors who enjoyed the festival on Saturday.

“The weather was wonderful and the event was a major success!” said Carolyn Schmalenberger, festival chair and president of the DCA, which sponsored the event.

“I was extremely pleased as to how things came together,” she said. “The success of the Seafood Festival is a reflection of increasing dedication and enthusiasm by a first-rate DCA volunteer team that has worked together for six months to make it all happen. We are just ecstatic over the positive response.

“We had determined a couple years prior we weren’t going to continue with Heritage Day,” said Schmalenberger. “It just got so hot in July and trying to have a parade with the obstacle of having one road in and one road out of Deltaville, we determined Heritage Day and the parade had outlived their time.”

After last year’s Heritage Day, DCA members conducted a brainstorming session and decided they were going to do something different. “We had already told our Heritage Day vendors we were going to hold an event on Memorial Day weekend and hoped for a little cooler weather,” she said.

Schmalenberger said that the success of the festival was directly due to the organizational structure that included six committees. Beth Hurd was in charge of planning; Kevin Wade, logistics; John Koedel, finance; Schmalenberger, finding sponsors; Raynell Smith, Lud Kimbrough and Bill Powell, waterfront; Keith Ruse, in-town activities; and Middlesex County Sheriff David Bushey, public safety.

“Sheriff Bushey was amazing and tremendously helpful through the planning and during the event,” she said.

DSF2014 from Thomas McMurtrie on Vimeo.

“Part of the success of the festival has to go to our outstanding marketing team,” said Schmalenberger. “Debra Usry, Jenny Crittenden and T.G. McMurtrie did an outstanding job.

“This could not have happened without the support of Middlesex County and a collaborated effort with the Deltaville Maritime Museum,” she continued. “We also had really good support from VIMS for the educational piece that was conducted at the museum. The boat rides and other waterfront activities added so much to the festival.”

The main sponsors of the event were Middle Peninsula Insurance, J&W Seafood, Deltaville Maritime Museum, and the Virginia Marine Trades Association.

Schmalenberger said the festival is a fundraiser for the DCA. “We needed a strong fundraiser to support the DCA and its campus, which includes the pool, tennis courts, basketball court, community center, annex buildings and ballpark. There is a lot of real estate to be looked after for us and for the next generation.”

Schmalenberger said a special thanks goes to the “Hurd family,” which allowed the use of its large field for parking; Jimmy Fitzgerald for use of his electric car to transport the handicapped; Evelyn Turner and friends for manning the DCA sales table where they sold concert tickets and Deltaville books; Benner English for assisting with handicapped parking; Matt Walker for driving his luxury golf cart from the ballpark to the village, transporting folks who needed assistance; and the Lower Middlesex Volunteer Fire Department for use of its large field for vendor parking.

“I also want to thank the Southside Sentinel for getting the word out,” she said. “I don’t know what this county would do without you. We can’t tell you enough how much we appreciate what you do to support our county.”

posted 05.28.2014

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