It is the mission of the Smithfield VA Events to bring well organized, first-class events to the Town of Smithfield and in doing so, support local non-profits, charities, civic groups and strengthen our community by benefiting tourism and local business.
About Us & History of Smithfield VA Events:
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
Julian Evans & Jeff Phelps
Assist. Festival Coordinator &
Total Community Impact as of the
2022 WINE & BREW FEST IS
How it all started...
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 1800, 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 festival grounds with the addition of the expanded 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.
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 1000 attendees, 160 runners, and the event sold out over a week in advance. This event over the years has grown to over 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 BACON (we cook over a ton of it for this event). Every body 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. As the archeological work for the restoration project began, it was 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 3 of the project. SVAEvent approached the town, and an agreement for SVAE to fully fund the costs of the two barns & the caretaker house was reached. SVAE now leases both of the barns and the "old caretaker" house from the Town.
What we do now...
We have over 8500 fest attendees annually, with 62% coming as tourists to our community. We have gone from donating $40K annually to over $200,000 annually.
We have an application process each year and pick benefiting organizations. We work with over 60 local 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. Last year our "product donations" raised over $23,000 for other organizations.
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 have a full season of festivals for the 2022/23 Season. 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 making a donation directly to us.
Over One Million Dollars in Donations...
Since April 2012, and thru the 2021/22 Season, SVAE has donated over $1.3 million dollars back into our community . We have had over $6 million dollars worth of economic impact as well. We are funding Phase 3 of the restoration project and have donated over $100,000 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 this, make all those donations 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 in advance to get tickets and consider becoming part of our Sponsorship Experience or get involved with us by volunteering. We now have (15) Volunteer Board Members and over (20) 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.
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 and hardest to get in Coastal Virginia!