LAPB Announces New Laketoberfest Event and More

By Linda Salisbury

Yes, you can mix business with pleasure! The Lake Anna Business Partnership (LABP), a business group that has promoted the lake region for more than a decade, is adding to its activities by developing even more events that are fun and give back to the community. So said Marie Snyder, an LABP board member and part of the events committee.

Stephanie Koren (left) and Marie Snyder, members of the events committee of the Lake Anna Business Partnership, pose together at a recent meeting (submitted photo).

Snyder said that the group’s plan is to organize family-friendly activities during various times of the year and raise funds from the events to contribute to worthwhile causes. “We want to be more philanthropic,” Snyder said from her Lake Anna office, which adjoins her large linen supply room. She was eager to share the line-up of planned events for 2019, although many details are still being worked out by the committee.

Like many other members of the networking business group, Snyder has a full-time job. So does Stephanie Koren, also a board and committee member. She and her husband Jon own Lake Anna Tractor and Hardware (named LABP 2018 Business of the Year). Teisha Ingraham is the head of the committee. Ingraham plans to open A Knot in Time, a wedding venue/corporate venue at Lake Anna in September.

Once the events are set in motion, board and partnership members help out and take charge of specific activities such as the Sunset Concert Series. Ingraham added that volunteers are always needed.

Snyder said that one of the newest events is Laketoberfest, slated for Oct. 12 at Lake Anna State Park. This event replaces Grapes & Grains, a wine and beer festival that another group had sponsored for several years in a different venue. The LABP had intended to host it in 2018 but logistics didn’t work out, Snyder explained.

Members of the Lake Anna Business Partnership and the community are photographed after they won awards at the January 2019 meeting. Many contributed to the group’s volunteer efforts (photo by Linda Salisbury).

This year’s emphasis will be different, however. The key new ingredient is chili. Yes, chili! While vendors sell their beverages produced at local vineyards, a cidery, and a new brewery, area fire and rescue departments and others will showcase their culinary talents and special recipes in a chili cook-off. There will be public sampling as well.

“We have to be like a festival with a little bit of everything,” Snyder said. So, activities will be targeted for all ages, from bounce-house type fun to games like Jenga (a popular block-stacking game) or Yardzee (similar to the game Yahtzee, but played outdoors with large dice). The committee is also thinking about how much kids enjoy being involved in creative activities. Sand art and face painting might also be part of the day’s happenings at the waterfront. Additionally, the committee plans to have bands entertaining during the day, Snyder explained.

The 3,000-acre park has 10 miles of lake frontage, plus campsites, cabins, yurts, trails, and more. It is one of Virginia’s 37 state parks and is considered a recreational treasure by both locals and visitors, making it a popular venue for festivals and triathlons. It was also the site of the 2019 Feb. 9 Polar Plunge, sponsored by The EOD Warrior Foundation and supported by the LABP.

Pictured above is Stephanie Koren, a Lake Anna Business Partnership board member and member of the events committee (photo by Linda Salisbury).

Snyder said the 2019 lineup of events that are open to the pubic begin on May 11 with the free annual Spring THING! This is an opportunity for local businesses and community resource groups to have a table or tent to showcase their products, from builders and the Louisa Arts Center to real estate agents and locally-focused merchandise like T-shirts.

May 11 is also the opening night of the annual Sunset Concert Series, which is free and open to the public at Anna Point Marina. Steve Harler, Jacob Martin, and Jacob Conley are LABP organizers of this popular event during the summer season at the lake.

On May 12, while the big tent is still up, the committee is planning a first-time activity for kids ages seven and under. Area youngsters will be invited to dress as gnomes or fairies to show off their costume creativity in the afternoon. “It’s not a competition of dancing or speaking, just a dress-up contest,” Snyder said. “And they can create a fairy garden.” Snyder also explained that there may also be a wedding fair in one corner of the big tent.

On June 22, during the National Campout, LABP hopes to organize a cardboard boat regatta. In this event, contestants will aim to reach a finish in their homemade crafts, but with predictable sinking feelings for many contestants.

On Sept. 17, LABP plans to again test the miniature golfing talents of local teams of adults and kids at the course at Tim’s at Lake Anna. The event has been so popular that the hours will be changed this year to an earlier start, said Snyder, because the next day is a school day. In prior years, the growing number of teams meant that the tournament lasted increasingly late into the evening.

Snyder said that the partnership hopes to add a tribute to veterans in November. This might include a 5K run in honor of/memory of veterans and a free dinner for vets on the day before the Thanksgiving.

Jacob Martin (left) and Steve Harler head up the Lake Anna Business Partnership’s Sunset Concert Series (photo by Linda Salisbury).

As fresh ideas keep rolling out of the events committee, Snyder said the group wants to organize a special holiday event on Nov. 30. The committee is considering the  plane, train, and boat arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus to Lake Anna. As envisioned, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be dropped on either side of the lake and must reach each other by boat and tractor (train) until they help light a Christmas tree. Snyder said they are hoping to have a tractor parade as part of the festive event.

Snyder stressed that these are family events. “We want to have events for all kinds of people, for the retirement communities and families [around the lake and beyond],” she said. “We want to get people of all ages together.”

This is a sentiment echoed by other members of the LABP as they add community service and projects to their busy schedules. The 2019 board includes Mark Smith (president), Stephanie Koren (vice president), C.C. McCotter and Lelia Winget-Hernandez (co-secretaries), Dave Moberly (treasurer), Tammy Boxley, Gene Newman, Marie Snyder, Larry Simpkins, Steve Harler, Jeff Martin, Jacob Conley, and Cindy Dove.

The members represent large and small companies from real estate, banking, restaurants, and caterers to entrepreneurs and cleaning or paving services.

Mark Smith, LABP president, officiates at the LABP January meeting (photo by Linda Salisbury).

Snyder sees LABP as a way to not only volunteer, but also to network and help others. It has been professionally and personally beneficial. She said at almost every event, she meets someone new and learns about what they need. This gives her an opportunity to help others.

The nonprofit organization was founded in 2001 to promote business and responsible growth while preserving the beauty of the Lake Anna area. Its stated mission is “to promote a strong and growing business community serving the lake region, and to work with organizations throughout and beyond Virginia to increase interest in the lake as a tourism, investment and residence destination.”

Besides businesses, the membership from the three counties surrounding the lake (Louisa, Spotsylvania, and Orange) also includes retirees and other associate members. These individuals meet once a month at various venues with caterers or area restaurants dishing up a full meal. Speakers at the monthly meetings may be those sponsoring the evening, officials explaining new zoning or development plans, or candidates for public office.

Koren, who served as Louisa County supervisor representing the lake area, in recent years spearheaded development of a small area plan for the lake to look at demographics and needs, including recreation. “We are a gateway to Louisa County,” she said.

The numerous LABP community events underscore that sentiment.

For more information about LABP, e-mail info@visitlakeanna.org.

Marie and Paul Snyder arrive at the January Lake Anna Business Partnership meeting (photo by Linda Salisbury).