32 years salute growth of annual Muncy Valley Hospital Auxiliary Lawn Party
MUNCY – Conversations flow in the breeze; laughter brightens the slightly grey clouds; old friends shake hands as new strangers exchange smiles. The strong aroma of beef barbeque and smoked sausage swirls in the air; enthusiastic vendors greet visitors with smiles and handshakes. A large hospital towers over the scene as friends and family came once again to the annual Muncy Valley Hospital Auxiliary Lawn Party.
On June 20, 2015, the Lawn Party committee pulled multiple communities together once again for the 32nd annual Muncy Valley Hospital Auxiliary Lawn Party, containing exciting events such as a silent auction of art and antiques, as well as musical entertainment continuing throughout the day.
From breakfast that started at 6:30 a.m., all the way to 4:00 in the afternoon, many people gathered for another family-fun experience in front of the Muncy Valley Hospital. “This is our largest fundraiser,” Muncy Auxiliary president, Joanie Wallis smiled. “We have twelve different event chairpersons at the party itself,” David Wallis, 2015 Lawn Party Chair explained. “Most have been here for several years.”
David Wallis recalls as he is smiling, “It all started as a small lawn party with vendors, food courts, and raffle tickets. Now, it’s grown to 23 vendors, a Chinese auction, and a silent art auction. There are also five churches involved as well as five service clubs.” The growth of the annual lawn party is no surprise to many vendors. “We’ve been doing this for eight to nine years,” a vendor for Nancy’s Country Baskets replied. “We look forward to this every year. There’s good food and good energy.”
“You see a lot of people you don’t see very often,” Karen Spring, chair of the silent art auction, commented. “It’s a good day to come out, visit, and eat.”
“It takes a lot of planning,” Joanie Wallis admitted. “We start the planning in January,” David Wallis explained. Though it takes months of preparation and advanced planning, the couple said they are happy to be a part of this endeavor. “There is great support from this community all around the neighborhood,” Mr. Wallis commented. “There’s tremendous support from the hospital personnel and maintenance.”
Throughout the years, the annual lawn party has contributed all the money it’s made to the Muncy Valley Hospital, and the past three years the proceeds have been given towards the Emergency Department expansion and renovation. “Every year, we raise about $25,000; our best year was 50,000 dollars,” David Wallis proudly explained. “Over the years, we’ve raised an excess of 600,000 dollars.”
Wallis continued to express his thanks for not only the help of the hospital, but the county as a whole from Muncy, to Hughesville and Montgomery, even to Montoursville, people rush in to enjoy their day, as well as donate a little bit of their money for the better cause of the hospital.
“What’s incredible is that we’ve never been rained out,” David Wallis laughed. “We never once closed down because of the weather.” Although grey clouds loomed over the hospital this year, still no rain poured down upon the lawn party. “It’s as remarkable as anything,” Wallis admitted. “I love to watch the changes that come to the hospital,” Joanie Wallis further explained, as well as the growth of the Auxiliary. “We’re 104 members strong, and we’re always encouraging membership.”
Thirty-two years ago, a handful of people gathered together and began an annual gathering of entertainment, food, and community. On June 20, 2015, another successful gathering took place, right in front of the hospital.
Nostalgia swam in the air as old memories resurfaced once again. A good deed that started thirty-two years ago continued to grow until there were more people than could ever be imagined. “As successful as we’ve been, I can’t say that we’d do anything differently,” David Wallis concluded. “It’s all been a community effort,” right from the very beginning.