I pledge my allegiance to many, many things in my life, but two stand out: my city and my daddy.
I like to consider myself a true Richmonder. My father moved here when he was a child and established himself well in this city, my mother moved here when she was nineteen to go to VCU. They’ve been here ever since. I graduated from my father’s high school’s sister school, which have been in Richmond since 1911 and 1922. We spent our summers at Granite Pool, located in southside with some of the city’s greatest artists and musicians (and lots of tattoos). When we weren’t there, you could easily find us at the Diamond, cheering on our Richmond Braves. My old job was in Richmond’s current baby, Sweet Frog, and my little Buford Road Pharmacy has been in beautiful Bon Air for over fifty years. I never want to leave Richmond.
I know you know I was a Daddy’s girl, so I’m not going to go into much detail now, but he was an even bigger Richmonder than I was (just give me some more time). He helped bring the National Folk Festival to America’s best kept secret/biggest hipster city, which then evolved into the Richmond Folk Festival, and Daddy never stopped volunteering. He loved Richmond with his whole heart, and wanted to help make the festival a great experience for everyone because he cared about every single person who walked through the gates. Daddy could often be found goofing around in his golf cart, giving people rides and having a damn good time. So when he died, the shortcut he often took (typical Daddy- making up his own shortcut) was consecrated as the Gary Gerloff Trail, only further immortalizing my larger than life father.
So when I saw the Folk Festival booth at the SOVO fair in August, I immediately put my name on the volunteer list. I owe it to this amazing non-profit to keep our family active in the festival and make it amazing, and I owe to Daddy to give back like he did at his favorite organization. A festival of world music, art, food, and culture? It’s a Gerloff family must! I got my obnoxious orange shirt today, and I hope you come visit me next Saturday and Sunday. I’ll be on the Bucket Brigade, asking for donations to keep the festival alive, and giving out awesome stickers to the donors. I may not be speeding past you in a white golf cart like Daddy, but I will certainly back up and talk to you, making sure you get the best possible experience.