Sweet Briar, Amherst County revive community celebration

Posted on October 17, 2016 by Staff Writer

Sweet Briar College is hosting a special event with Amherst County in recognition of the relationship between the two communities. Sweet Briar’s Amherst County Day will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, on Sweet Briar’s quad. The rain location is Upchurch Field House. Admission is free.

Bramble and Rose Librarian Joe Malloy (right) and studio art professor Laura Pharis will entertain attendees with their string band Bramble & Rose.

“The idea is to focus on family and community,” says Donna Dodd, assistant director of alumnae relations, who is organizing the event for the College. “It’s a day to express our mutual appreciation.”

Sweet Briar plans to set aside the fourth Saturday in October to make it an annual event. Last summer, President Phil Stone asked county officials to move its Sweet Briar Day from June 23 and combine efforts with the College to recognize a single day. The Board of Supervisors recently approved the date change because the College is not in session on June 23.

“Amherst County and all its citizens are so important to Sweet Briar,” says Dodd, who is connected to both communities as an Amherst native and 2015 graduate and longtime College employee.

The goal of the collaboration is to maintain that connection “in perpetuity,” Dodd says. Nor is the event a new idea, she noted, recalling that Sweet Briar’s Amherst County Day was once a regular affair.

A quick search of the Amherst New Era-Progress website reveals that the first occasion was held in 1922 and the last in 1974. There was, according to a timeline of the county’s history published in 2011, a hiatus from 1942 to 1947 “due to wartime restrictions on use of rubber for auto tires and travel.”

The family-oriented festivities will feature live music, community business and nonprofit exhibitors, free eye screening through the local Lions Club, and children’s activities such as a bouncy house and face painting. Food will be available for purchase, but guests are welcome to bring their own picnics.

For more information, contact Dodd at ddodd@sbc.edu or (434) 381-6416.