Lope Fest Venue, Food Highlight Well-Known Location

   Written by on July 13, 2017 at 9:44 am

Lope Fest - ReeseHALIFAX COUNTY – Tickets are going fast for this year’s Virginia Cantaloupe Festival, and with good reason.

Lope Fest, as it’s known to many, has become a summer event Southern Virginia residents don’t want to miss. Now in its 37th year, the Virginia Cantaloupe Festival has seen increased popularity, including a continued uptick in sponsorship and tickets selling out farther in advance of the event date.

A large part of this event’s ambiance, so to speak, is a great combination of food and venue – both of which are long-standing elements of Halifax County and Southern Virginia.

An event ticket includes admission, beverages, entertainment and, of course, food. Halifax County Chamber of Commerce believes the presence of familiar, well-loved local items on the menu helps highlight the bountiful agriculture of Halifax County.

Chad Francis who serves as Vice President of Halifax County Farm Bureau is also serving on the Chamber’s Virginia Cantaloupe Festival planning committee and he’s been working to make sure this year’s festival menu is as locally-based as possible.

“The festival being held in July really allows us to take advantage of using local produce as part of our food offerings, especially those famous Halifax County cantaloupes,” Francis said. “I’ve traveled a lot of places, and often when people find out I’m from Halifax County, they offer a lot of praise for our Halifax County cantaloupes if they’ve had the pleasure of enjoying one.”

According to Francis, Halifax County Farm Bureau – through the locally owned and operated Reese Farms – will be providing all the cantaloupes for the event. In addition, they will also provide locally grown corn which will be available during the festival. Francis also worked with the Chamber to procure this year’s BBQ from Smithfield, a recognized BBQ staple in Virginia.

Reese Farms is well-known in Halifax County and many of the same people who will enjoy Reese Farms products at the festival have likely bought locally grown products from them at their farm stand on US Route 360. The family, including Hudson and Pat Reese, Don and Sara Reese and Jay and Rosemary Reese, are familiar faces in the community.

“Jay Reese has been a fixture of Halifax County Farm Bureau a long time,” said Francis. “He’s given a lot of hours throughout his life and served in numerous leadership roles to represent southern Virginia in the agriculture industry. The whole Reese family has always been so involved in leading agriculture and they are an important part of Farm Bureau and Halifax County.”

Francis said he’s glad to see a strong relationship between the Chamber and Halifax County Farm Bureau knowing that both groups have common goals – shining a spotlight on what makes Halifax County great and always working to move forward.

“We are proud of what we have in Halifax County, including what can be grown, and there’s no better way to show off what we have than to make it part of our Virginia Cantaloupe Festival,” Francis said. “We are really pleased to have their family, and their produce, as part of the festival again this year.”

The location for enjoying this amazing food is important to festival-goers as well, and Halifax County Chamber of Commerce has worked with Berry Hill Resort and Conference Center again this year to bring the festival to life on the lawn.

Berry Hill, with its tree-lined driveway and 650 acres of scenic land, is a well-known venue in Halifax County. Berry Hill takes the style, charm and tranquility of the past and transforms it into a venue where visitors don’t hesitate to sit down and stay a while.

“Berry Hill is a beautiful location for the festival. People really seem to like the space to stretch out and enjoy good music, the shade of those beautiful trees and the overall festival environment we are able to create at Berry Hill,” said Virginia Cantaloupe Festival Committee Chairperson Nancy Long.

Long also echoed Francis’ enthusiasm about the importance of showing off things that are representative of Halifax County.

“Part of what brings life to this event is the focus it puts on Halifax County,” Long said. “The festival is capable of showing off the great things we have here, everything from locally grown produce that creates an amazing menu to sponsors who create an awesome support system in this community.”

The 2017 Virginia Cantaloupe Festival will be held Friday, July 28, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., at Berry Hill Resort & Conference Center. The Switch will take the stage at 5 p.m. to kick off the festival. Headlining the event is The Embers. Advanced tickets for the festival are only $35 and may be purchased at the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce, Halifax County-South Boston Visitor Center, WAKG, or online at www.valopefest.com.

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