Saturday I drove through the most beautiful countryside of Virginia that I have ever seen. My destination was Paris, Virginia where the Liberty Farm Festival was being held. Along the way there were numerous winding roads, large trees with spreading branches (soon to turn autumnal), quaint towns, pubs and taverns and even a phone booth from London! I'll be back with my family!
At last I arrived on a most lovely farm. Honestly, we all commented this corner of Virginia was the prettiest we've seen. We were in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains on a beautifully maintained farm, with a quintessential farm house with barns and silo near a pond.
Most unique though was all the security. Secret service agents were everywhere because Vice-Presidential nominee Mike Pence was coming to speak. In fact it was a day to hear many candidates in the various races of Virginia. The speaking line-up included 3 candidates for governor, 3 for lieutenant governor, 3 for attorney general, and scores of others. It was quite interesting to see all the action. Despite all that, everything was run well and all the people were quite nice. I'm not a crowd person at all, but this was a nice group of people to be with. Also all of the security seemed to energize the place. I can honestly say there was nothing stressful this day. It was all fun!
My objective, though, was to find the Convention of States booth where I'd be volunteering. I couldn't find it anywhere. I eventually figured out why. They were still setting up. Even though they arrived early, they had to wait behind the entry point so the secret service scouted the area. While the guys assembled all the big modular tubing that would hold the huge banners, I laid out the free pins, pamphlets, etc on the tables, along with the petitions waiting to be signed. If you'd like to sign the petition for your state, you can do that on-line, here.
Soon after we had everything set up, Michael Farris arrived. He is one of the co-organizers of the Convention of States and would be speaking on Article V of the Constitution later that morning. (I found out that an on-line video is forthcoming. When I find that I will link it here.) Our Founding Fathers wrote Article V for the people to call upon their state legislatures (hence our petitions) to call for a Convention of States to propose Constitutional Amendments so that the states can rein in an out of control federal government (like dealing with the national debt). When I helped the COS booth at the Prince William County Fair all the COS organizers asked me how I found out about Convention of States and I told them about this, this, and this...all places where Michael Farris spoke about Convention of States. Although I've met Mr. Farris numerous times, I don't expect him to remember me since we always meet in a crowd. Anyway the organizers were all saying, "Wow! You've met him?" "Um, yes." lol So this was a great opportunity for some of our state COS organizers to meet him, at least the ones who hadn't met him yet. They asked him to autograph some of his books and I was wondering, "We could have brought his books to have him sign them?" lol (I've blogged about a few of his books that I have.) Then they assembled in front of the banner for a photo shoot. I walked out to watch all the fun when the event organizer called to me, "Laurie, come join us!" Well...OKAY!!!!!! You see, I feel rather geeked out to be with this group. I admire their work greatly. I get all tongue-tied when I try to talk about COS to the public at events. I feel more comfortable handing out a few pins, answering some easy questions, then directing bigger questions to the organizers. (So if I can volunteer for COS so can you!) They are so articulate! I learn so much from being around them! Also I've been following Michael Farris for over 20 years, so this was pretty cool. Here's a picture of the group. I'm in the front row with the white hat. I'm next to this event's organizer. I'm in front of Michael Farris. My fearless leader took the photo with all the different cell phones he had been handed.
After a couple of hours of working at the Convention of States booth and meeting some great people, the next team came on duty so I went out and about to see what was going on. I think I missed the pumpkin chunkin'. I've never even heard of that but rumor had it that pumpkins were labeled with political agendas that angered most voters. They would then be catapulted and smashed to smithereens. I meant to get video of that and really have a creative blog post...but I think I missed that! lol Because there were loudspeakers set up around the booths, I heard a lot and felt part of the action the entire time. But now I could take pictures of everything I had been listening to!
I was quite impressed that there was shade everywhere. Large shady trees with wide spreading branches (I'm guessing old oak trees) shaded all of our booths. That was especially wonderful because it was an enormously hot day...iIn the 90's with high humidity. A bit hot for this time of year in Virginia, but I'm from Texas so it felt like home. The stage had a tarp over it so there was lots of shade for the speakers. Also the sitting area had a tarp so there was shade for the audience too. They had hay bales to sit on. All hay bales were taken so I found a spot in the front stage right on the side of the hay bales. The breeze was wonderful and made the heat quite endurable! We don't get breezes like this in the Texas heat so I don't complain too much about Virginia heat. lol
There was lots of great music from a few different groups. I think these are the Four Calling Birds...at least 2 of them.
Then we had a memorial service to remember 9-11. We sang "God Bless America."
This is retired Admiral Ace Lyons. He shared the story of one of his colleagues who died on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania on 9-11.
This is Trevor Loudon. He caught my attention because he is from New Zealand but he had an interesting comment that I usually here only from some Americans. He said American Exceptionalism must continue to exist. The world needs it. If America falls into the abyss of socialism, all the other countries will too. However if America remains exceptional, the other countries have hope.
During one of the "speeches" (they were all about 5 minutes long) there was a fun parachute drop! This was actually planned to coincide with one particular speaker while he was at the microphone. Turned out they were part of his team.
Then there was a long break while lots of secret service agents got into place. One thing I learned. Everything I've seen of secret service agents in the movies is spot-on. Despite attending events with 2 past presidents and being surrounded by secret service agents then...this was more...and actually quite exciting! Obviously a certain vice-presidential nominee was on the way. Here is Indiana Governor Mike Pence arriving on stage with his wife.
Well, what can I say? Pence was great! He was a tough act to follow. I stuck around for a few more speeches. Michael Farris had spoken earlier while I was working at the booth. I guess Ken Cuccinelli had spoken earlier too. I did see him being interviewed by a Charlottesville radio station.
After a final visit with the Convention of States crew...
...I drove back home through the lovely Virginia countryside. I was surprised to hear that this was the first Liberty Farm Festival event. It was managed quite well, and I'm a picky person, so I was impressed. I hear they are planning another event next year. The theme of the event was "Farming, Family and Freedom." Apparently there were lots of things for the kids to do. The one activity I am aware of is a tractor that pulled multiple little cars (like a train) that all the kiddos road around the farm. I know if I was still a little one, I'd have ridden that all. day. long.