What’s in a name?

Published 12:21 pm Thursday, April 28, 2016

We will soon be celebrating the annual Heart of Virginia Festival, which began in 1978.

Prior to the launching of the Heart of Virginia Festival, there was an ongoing art show held annually at Longwood College (now University). This event was sponsored by a local association of artists. Prominent in that work were Martha Pennington Louis and Beverly Bass. Mention of the art show is made here, as they became a part of the new festival.

The community festival was given impetus by “seed money” and other support from what was then known as the Virginia National Bank (formerly Peoples National Bank and later Bank of America). At that time a core group of community volunteers helped with the initial plans. The Town of Farmville was very helpful, as it continues to be today. One issue to be resolved was what to call the event and Hunter Watson, a member of the group, suggested it be named the “Heart of Virginia Festival.” Hence the name!

And speaking of names! In 1925 a new name suggested for the town of Farmville was not so successful. (This information was gathered from two anniversary programs of the Farmville Lions Club, the 75th anniversary in 1998 and the 80th anniversary in 2003.)

The following account was originally submitted by the late Lion Charles F. Lane:

“The activities of the Lions have been a major success story, however there have been some failures or near misses. Back as far as 1925, it was recognized that there was a need for more job opportunities in Farmville. So there was a movement to change the name of Farmville, which to many gave a connotation of a village of farmers, to one that might appeal more to other types of industries. The idea was debated and numerous letters were sent to The Farmville Herald on the subject. Finally Lion Southard Shields came up with a name that ended most of the arguments. He said that since Farmville is located near the apex of Prince Edward, Cumberland, and Buckingham counties that the first two letters from each be combined to name the town “Pecubu” (Peekaboo). This opinion stymied further

debate and little was heard about a name change thereafter.”