Day in the Country

Published 12:28 pm Saturday, May 2, 2009

A bright sunshiny day, warm temperatures and a slight breeze were the perfect components to make Saturday’s 35th annual “Day in the Country “at the Zuni Presbyterian Homes and Family Services one of the largest in the history of the center.

“According to the number of raffle tickets we sold, there were just over 2,000 people here,” said Jim Dubinsky, president of the Kuwaye Steering Committee. “We can’t remember ever having a crowd larger than this.”

The event, held by the staff and residents of the school, is to give families, former students and friends a chance to visit and tour the campus. The school trains young, mildly retarded adults to eventually live, with little supervision, on their own.

The Kuwayes, a part of PHFS, promotes goodwill and educates the community about the opportunities available at the Zuni facility.

On the day’s agenda, one event initiated by Dubinsky about three years ago was the quilt auction. Its auctioneer has always been former director Robert Bishop, who was, of course, on hand this year.

“This seems to draw a certain number of people,” Dubinsky said, adding that this year’s auction brought just under $1,500 for five quilts, which will go toward the school’s operating budget.

“The largest one, which was a queen size, brought $550.”

Dubinsky said all the quilts were donated, three from a group of Amish ladies in Pennsylvania and the other two from quilters in Virginia Beach.

He added with a smile that it would be nice if some of the quilting groups in Western Tidewater would donate some of their work to the auction.

“We’re already planning for next year, which will be the fourth Saturday in April” he said.

Aside from the auction and raffle, at which a number of other items were either sold or won, the day held something for everyone. There were bingo, hay rides, a miniature horse show, the Peanut City Cloggers, antique automobiles and, especially for the kids, face painting, bubble blowing and a Moon Bounce.

There also were several craft vendors, while food and drink were abundant. Dubinsky said he’d like to especially thank Bookbinder’s Restaurant in Richmond and Superior Foods in Suffolk for donating food.

Events coordinator Jane Massie said everything went off as planned.

“There were three bands, from a jazz band to church groups, and special music from Scotty Blue, a former resident of the center.”

Massie added that sales at the greenhouse and gourmet peanut shop were about normal.

Auctioneer Bishop, director of the homes for more than 35 years, once said: “We don’t ever try to make a profit at these outings. It’s mainly public relations—we just want people to have a good time.”

Judging from the looks of the crowd, it would seem the day was indeed a success.