Photos and story by Karly Cordell / Contributing Writer
Murfreesboro citizens enjoyed food, drinks and live music at the Oaklands Mansion’s Summer Picnic Party and Fundraiser on Friday.
The Oaklands Mansion party and fundraiser is held to both raise money for the property’s changes and updates as well as an attempt to better connect with the local community.
At $75 per ticket, citizens were able to enjoy live music performed by WOLF 359, an open bar presented by Prichard’s Distillery and southern fried chicken and catfish provided by Uncle Bud’s.
“We hold these events to get our local community here at Oaklands,” said James Manning, the Oaklands Mansion executive director. “Visitors come see us every day for our tour of the mansion, but it takes something special to get our local residents here on the grounds.”
The party and fundraiser is one of many events held throughout the year to encourage local citizens to visit the grounds. Other events include Oktoberfest, the Candlelight Tour of Homes and Autumn and the Oaks.
“Each one of these events helps us keep the doors open,” Manning said. “Tourism doesn’t pay the bills. It’s our community that keeps coming back over and over again by supporting Oaklands. That’s who sustains us.”
The mansion’s summer party is one of its primary fundraisers throughout the year.
“We like to hold the fundraiser in the summer when there’s not as many nonprofits trying to compete for the same dates in the spring and the fall,” Manning said.
“Some people say, ‘Oh I’ve been to Oaklands before,’ but it changes all the time,” Manning said. “We change the house for each season, we add to the collection and there’s always contemporary exhibits to see.”
The mansion just completed the outdoor classroom behind the mansion, and Manning hopes to see more involvement with Murfreesboro’s younger crowd in the future.
“This will help us learn more about the people who lived here at Oaklands and be able to interpret better the lives of the people who were actually doing the work on the plantation such as those who were cooking and preserving the foods,” Manning said. “Children need to learn how our food grows from gardening to cooking to preserving the produce.”
For more information on upcoming events, visit www.oaklandsmansion.org/events-calendar.
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