Generous donors put their stamp on new stage

Published 5:23 pm Friday, September 8, 2023

By Mason Mayes, Dylan Mayes, Charlie Redman and Alex Jones

Contributing writers


Residents of Smithfield may have noticed some new bricks around the LOVE sign adjacent to the new Main Street Square stage in front of The Smithfield Times. 

The engraved bricks, which were sold to individuals and organizations for $50 each, helped cover a funding shortfall for the gazebo-style stage, which hosts the Downtown Smithfield Summer Concert Series and other events.

The stage was made possible by a Virginia Tourism Association grant, Town of Smithfield funding and a donation by TowneBank. Monies were not the only thing donated. Mark and Joanne Hall donated a handicap lift to assist performers in getting on the stage. Former Smithfield Mayor Carter Williams donated dozens of hours of his time as project manager, saving thousands of dollars on the replacement of the 36-year-old stage, said Connie Chapman of the Smithfield-Isle of Wight Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Unexpected expenses had left the project at a standstill, Chapman said, when officials were inspired by a previous fundraising project: engraved bricks along Main Street during extensive streetscaping work in the 1990s.

They settled on selling 300 spots so they would be easier to read. The 300 bricks sold in less than a week. They were sent to America Laser Arts in Downtown Smithfield for engraving, ensuring they would be legible for generations to come. 

Each of these bricks has a story; one is courtesy of Margo Huff of Virginia Beach. 

According to Chapman, Margo described Smithfield as her family’s “happy place” and wanted to do something special for her husband, Don, who passed away. 

Seeing the bricks as an opportunity to honor her husband, she wanted their names engraved on one so whenever she visits Smithfield, she can remember the times they had together and know that they will always be a small part of the town they love. 

The brick project raised $10,500, enough to finish the stage. The last engraved bricks were laid last month.


The authors are members of Boy Scout Troop 24 in Wakefield. They earned their journalism merit badge during a July visit to Smithfield.