BROWNTOWN — A cool breeze floated through the Browntown Community Center Association field on Saturday as dozens of families celebrated the 17th annual Redbud Festival.
Keeping the old schoolhouse turned association center up-to-date isn’t easy, Joanne Koszyk, president of the association said. The Redbud Festival acts as part fundraiser, part community celebration.
“This helps pay for the upkeep of the building throughout the year,” she said. “It gets the community together … That’s what it’s really about, is getting us together.”
For new and old residents alike, the festival helps connect the dots between people and neighbors in Browntown.
Larry and Addie Elliott moved to Browntown part-time 20 years ago and then made the move permanent seven years ago. Larry Elliott said the festival goes to support a good cause, but it’s mostly an excuse to get together.
“The flowers are here, the pollen is here, it’s a good time,” he said.
Scattered around the playground and packed tight inside the building itself, vendors stood with a wide assortment of wares.
Julia Cipriano has an apiary and wholesale plant store. She said she came to the festival six or seven years ago but this was her first time bringing something to sell.
Cipriano spread out jars of honey and jam on her table and set plants all around. She said she needed to move some of her honey and plants so the festival fit in perfect.
Koszyk said the Redbud Festival was the thing that drew her to Browntown. She was living in New York but after visiting Browntown and going to the festival, she said she sold her house and moved down. Now she’s organizing the annual event and trying to draw the community closer together.
“This is a very close-knit community,” she said. “[It’s] a very positive environment to live in.”
Kathy Deason, a festival volunteer, said the Redbud Festival reminded her of the small towns where she grew up in the Midwest.
“I like the small town atmosphere out here,” Deason said. “We just really enjoy each other’s company. It’s a nice way to get out and enjoy getting to know new people.”
Sequestered from the busy town of Front Royal, Browntown sits in a bowl, Koszyk said, with a mountain view everywhere you turn. The scenic view, blooming redbuds and friendly neighbors all came together to make the festival a special event.
“It’s just a great day to be in Browntown,” Koszyk said. “Any day is a great day to be in Browntown, but today is especially great.”