Twenty days. Less than three weeks. 480 hours. That's how fast Noah Fest 2012 came together to become a successful, fun, family-friendly event that will hopefully continue for years to come.
Last week, we posted about the town of Bedford coming together for Noah Fest 2012 - and now we're showing off great photos and reporting back on the amazing time had by all at this event.
Getting there was easy enough and you can't beat the view. Surrounded by mountains in Sedalia, VA, Mountain Run Farm is a charming piece of land that urges celebration with friends and family. It's a beautiful setting and when the sun began to go down and streaks of pinks and purples appeared across the sky, it made me love our mountains that much more.
Then I realized just how many people were actually there through the day. There were plenty of people who came and went, but also tons of people who'd arrived before me and were still there at the end. They'd come to hear the bands, eat good food, and most importantly, show their support for a great kid who mostly wanted to run around with his pals. Noah granted me enough time for a quick photo, but that was the stillest I saw him all day as he had an entourage of friends encouraging plenty of fun (and mischief, by the looks of their game-playing in the woods with acorns).
With items like locally published books, handmade furniture, canvas photos, specially made Christmas wreaths, jewelry and so much more (seriously, there was so much I know I missed a ton of it with all the people in the shelter looking at it), the silent auction was a bona fide hit. Last I heard, the silent auction alone brought in well over $7,000. That's not counting the donations from the front entrance table, the food vendors, bake sale, T-shirts, chapsticks, and magnets, or the dozen other things available at the festival.
Even when the temperatures dropped into the evening, people stayed, content to stand by the roaring campfire (and yes, there were even marshmallows!). With plenty of beer to go, there was still a big crowd through to the end, wrapped up by rock band Dirt Road Travelers, whose drummer is Noah's dad, Mike Okuley.
The fact that this whole event came together in a mere twenty days is simply astonishing. When I ran large events back at my college, it took me an entire semester to put those things together. But for this to be done in twenty days is nothing short of tough determination and a solid community of close friends and giving folks who want to do good things for others.
A note from Teri, Noah's mom, says it all:
Dearest family and friends. My words will never adequately express the appreciation and gratitude that I feel this very moment. I am simply overwhelmed by the outpouring of friendship, love, and support. My heart is full and my cup overfloweth and I will forever be grateful for the many acts of selfless love for my sweet Noah. I believe that yesterday was a defining moment for us all - a moment to remember that kindness, charity, and sacrifice for others is without a doubt alive and well. MUCH MUCH LOVE TO EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU!
It's truly amazing to look at the Noah Fest Facebook page and see all the outpouring of support and love, both from those who attended and those who wished they could. Being even only a small part of it made me feel incredibly lucky to be part of the Southwest Virginia community!
For those still interested in donating to Noah's cause to beat the heck out of Stage 2B Hodgkins Lymphoma: Noah Okuley Benefit Donation Fund at Wells Fargo...Account #1020479273 you can donate at any Wells Fargo Branch. 100% of all donations go directly towards the costs associated with his medical care and treatment.