Windsor Castle Park became a reality as the result of the vision of Joseph W. Luter lll, founder and former CEO of Smithfield Foods, who gave the park to the Town of Smithfield in May of 2010.
The beautiful Windsor Castle Park, located walking distance from Downtown Smithfield, lies along the banks of the river with the picturesque historic Manor House & Barns and provides the Town a fabulous venue for events.
In December of 2010, around a table at Smithfield Station, a group of civic-minded folks, who had a vision for utilizing the new park for successful fundraising events in the Town of Smithfield, met and formed the Smithfield Wine & Brew Fest Committee. We joined forces with the Smithfield Rotary Club, and began making plans for the inaugural Smithfield Wine & Brew Fest.
Held in April 2012, the first year was a success our community was proud of! Hosted by the Smithfield Rotary Club, and in partnership with sponsors and the support of multiple civic organizations, we were able to donate $43,500 back to the community. A few other facts to note: Total number of volunteers (132), sold-out crowd of 1600, lots of locals, 45% of crowd was from out-of-town, and (80) hotel nights were booked in Smithfield because of the festival. Tickets sales included all Coastal Virginia cities, plus Richmond, Charlottesville, Washington DC, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North & South Carolina, Georgia and Florida! Local businesses hosted wine related dinners, events and special sales that provided additional experiences for attendees.
During 2012-2013, the Smithfield Wine & Brew Fest made an investment in the expansion of the festival grounds with the addition of the Brew Village site.
We felt it was time to expand our offerings of events and in 2014 added two new events. Instead of just a wine & brew fest committee, we transitioned into being Smithfield VA Events. Besides planning our own festivals, we also provide support for other events held in Smithfield and Isle of Wight County. We filed for non-profit status and became our own 501(c) (3).
In January 2014, in conjunction with the Optimist Club of Isle of Wight, we held the first Smithfield VA BOB Fest & 8K Chilly BOB Roadrace. BOB = Bloody Mary’s, Oysters, BBQ & Brunswick Stew and they were all on the menu, along with entertainment by the fabulous 80's show band, THE DELOREANS. Oh, OH, OHH – it was all under a heated 10,000 sq. ft. party tent. There were 800 attendees, 160 runners, and the event sold out over a week in advance. BOB has grown a lot over the years and the tents we use to hold the festival have also gotten much bigger! BOB now has 2400 attendees and 65,000 sq. ft. of heated party tents.
In Sept 2014, we held the first Smithfield Va Bacon & Bourbon Music Fest. Where better to have a Bacon Fest, than in the town that really knows Bacon? No tiny little munchies of weird bacon here…we are serving LOTS OF SMITHFIELD BACON (we cook over a ton of it for this event). Everyone gets a 1/2 lb of fresh cooked bacon and a trip thru the Bacon Condiment Bar, Bourbon and VA Craft Brew Tastings, Bacon Eating Contest, Wine & other yummy food vendors & music on (3) stages.
As the restoration project of the Manor House & Barns at the park progressed, and as SVAE continued to grow, it needed an office and storage space for event supplies. We looked at a lot of options. Renting, building, using portable storage units - - all were considered. The archeological work for the restoration project discovered that originally there were two barns that used to exist on the property. As the VA Dept of Historic Resources restoration plan was finalized, it included the reconstruction of these two barns and the inside of the "old caretaker house" in Phase III of the project. SVAE approached the town, and an agreement for SVAE to fully fund the costs of reconstructing the two barns & the restoration of the interior of the caretaker house was reached. SVAE now leases both barns and the "old caretaker" house from the Town and uses them for office & storage.
What we do now...
We have over 9000 fest attendees annually, with 62% coming as tourists to our community. We have gone from donating $40,000 annually to over $200,000 annually. We have a grant application process each year and pick benefiting organizations. We work with over (50) organizations at each festival who receive donations based on the number of hours worked at each event. We donate tickets, tables & chalets to other local organizations who use them at their own fundraising events.
And then stupid covid hit. We had to cancel the 2020 & 2021 Wine & Brew, the 2020 Bacon and the 2021 & 2022 BOB Fest. It was rough, but we survived and hopefully will move forward with full seasons of festivals.
During the pandemic, we started a new small series of dinner/small events called the Manor House Dinner Club and also created the Sustainer's Society which is a way for folks to support us by donating directly to support our mission. We have decided to keep these programs and hope that you will check them out as well and consider donating directly to us.
Almost 1.6 Million Dollars in Donations...
Since April 2012, and thru the 2022/23 Season, SVAE has donated almost $1.6 million dollars back into our community . We have had over $7 million dollars' worth of economic impact. We are funding Phase III of the restoration project ($350,000) and in addition have donated over $150,000 to the Town of Smithfield for a fund to use to take care of the park, plus over $75,000 to the Windsor Castle Park Foundation to assist with park projects like the kayak shed, the natural children's playgrounds and coming soon, some park way-finding signage.
We do all of that, and pay for everything that we do. No tax-payer dollars are spent, or fees waived for our organization. We are 100% self-funded.
This annual trio of events has a little something for everyone! Mark your calendars, plan to get tickets early, and consider becoming part of our Sponsorship Experience or get involved with us by volunteering. We now have (15) Volunteer Board Members and over (25) Individual SuperStar Volunteers who assist us with critical leadership of specific areas of event production. We make donations back on their behalf to their favorite charitable organizations also. Or get your organization involved in volunteering and earn some money for your group!
We are proud of the impact we have on our community, and plan on being around a long time. Our reputation for putting on well-planned, first-class boutique events at Windsor Castle Park has made our tickets some of the hottest to get in Coastal Virginia!
Smithfield VA Events
Board of Directors
SVAE Board Members serve as Volunteers, dedicating many hours annually to ensure the mission of SVAE benefits our community.
Parks and Recreation
Town of Smithfield
Assist Fest Mgr/Logistics
Special Project Mgr.
Windsor Castle Park
705 Cedar Street
Smithfield, VA 23430
Smithfield VA Events
PO Box 133
Smithfield, VA 23431
SVAE Headquarters: (at the fest site)
Smithfield VA Events
302 Jericho Road
Smithfield, VA 23430
How to Contact Us:
Ticket or General Festival Questions Email: Info@SmithfieldVAEvents.com
Volunteers Questions Email: Volunteer@SmithfieldVAEvents.com
Chalets, Premium Tables & Sponsorships: Sponsors@SmithfieldVAEvents.com
Manor House Dinners Email: Dinners@SmithfieldVAEvents.com
Vendor Inquires - Click here for info about what we need and how to apply.
Need to Call? Call the Visitor Center at 757-357-5182 (they probably can help you, or they will have us contact you.)
#partywithpurposes #smithfieldvaevents #svaevents