Community service is what the Fulks Run Ruritan Club is all about. Established in 1958, it is still going strong, and always open to recruiting new members.
When the original Ruritan organization was founded in Virginia in 1928, it was all male members. Nowadays, women are more than welcome and an active and integral part of the club.
As stated in one of its commemorative booklets, “The word Ruritan is a combination of the Latin words for open country, “ruri”, ad small town, “tan”. The slogan of Ruritan is “Fellowship, Goodwill, and Community Service.”
Garnett Turner and Andrew Thomas established the first Fulks Run Ruritan Club meeting March 27, 1958, with 35 of the 38 new members in attendance. By May of that year, the first Lawn Party was established as a community fundraiser.
As founding member Garnett Turner wrote in a 2008 commemorative booklet, “By not having a local organization to speak for us, the county sort of neglected us in community improvements, We’d been neglected so long in the Gap, that when we got the club going, we needed a lot of things. It’s the old saying, the wheel that squeaks the loudest gets the most grease! We did some squeaking. For several years we asked the county for some large projects. One was to improve the Hollow Road of about two miles. This was done and the road surface paved. The club was also instrumental in getting the Fulks Run Elementary School and two large bridges across the North Fork of the Shenandoah River – one at Dry River and one back of Fulks Run Grocery. The Highway Dept also improved the highways crossing these bridges. The county government was composed of some Ruritan members with a “sympathetic ear” when we appeared before the various county boards.”
Improving and helping the community, as well as individuals, has continued with the Ruritan Club over the years. Members come and members go, but new members, both young and old are always welcome to join.
The club has a lot of projects in the works for this year. As usual, the annual July 4th Yard Sale will be happening as you read this article! There will be many vendors with bargains and treasures galore, and food concessions, including fried country ham sandwiches from Fulks Run Grocery/Turner Hams. Vendor spots are $20, and Thursday June 30th was the first day to stake out a spot. Breakfast sandwiches start at 6am. The traditional chicken BBQ will only be sold at the Ruritan Park that day, $5 per half. If you want to be an early bird to shop the bargains, bring a flashlight, although it is daylight now by 530am! As the day progresses, in past years, the line to get in to park has snaked from the Fulks Run Elementary School into the park! So get there early! The Ruritans also hold a well attended Fall Yard Sale in September.
The annual Fulks Run Lawn Party will be held July 21st -23rd. It is the FR Ruritan Club’s single largest fundraiser, held on the 55 acre Ruritan Park on Hopkins Gap Road, right off Rte 259. It is well attended every year! Plus, the Fulks Run Beauty Pageant is back! It will be held Thursday, July 21st during the Lawn Party. See the Fulks Run Ruritan page on Facebook for entry information. Enjoy music, food, games, fellowship, and friends, all week long!
Another favorite event coming up in July is the Annual Bill Harter Memorial Commercial, Antique Truck & Tractor Show. There are two additional classes added this year – Classic Pickup Truck and Diesel Pickup Truck. Lunch available and music by Sissy Raye. This will be held July 30th, 8am-3pm. All proceeds go to the Ruritan Club for the betterment of the community. Call 540-478-2551 for more info on the show.
A recently completed new project was tearing down the old playground equipment, and replacing it with new. It has been set up, just in time for school’s summer break and is being enjoyed by the kids! The Ruritan Club is always accepting donations to help with this and future improvements to the park. You don’t have to be a Ruritan member to donate.
The club does so much for the community, their fundraising proceeds go toward student scholarships, books and supplies for FRES, helping local residents in need, annual distribution of Holiday baskets to local widows/widowers, yearly rabies clinic, and more.
The Club is presently working on expanding the playground, putting in a walking path and some benches. The members also maintain the helicopter emergency landing pad that was installed in the park, made possible through Fulks Run Ruritan fundraisers.
There are two large covered pavilions available for rent for family gatherings and functions. Weekend rentals are $50. Reservations can be made by calling the Fulks Run Grocery at 540-896-7487.
More projects to benefit the community are in the works, so stay tuned!
If you would like to help the Ruritans with their community work and upcoming projects, think about becoming a member, or send a donation to Fulks Run Ruritan Club, PO Box 742, Fulks Run, VA 22830. You can follow them on Facebook and keep up with events in Amanda Ritchie’s monthly Ruritan column in this paper.