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Sixty years of Lotus Festivals at Tabernacle Methodist

An American lotus photographed at Lotus Park on July 3, 2015. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

An American lotus blooms at Lotus Garden Park in the Sigma section of the Virginia Beach on Friday, July 3, 2015. Nearby along Sandbridge Road from the park, where the plants have long been a draw for nature lovers, is Tabernacle United Methodist Church. For 60 years, the church has celebrated a Lotus Festival as a fundraising event and community gathering. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE

SIGMA — There was a time when the annual festival celebrating the American lotus was a much more involved to-do, but members of Tabernacle United Methodist Church still celebrate with a luncheon and sale not far from where the native plants bloomed in July.

Members of the church cooked and served, and a line began to form, 89-year-old Norwood Land said he’s been coming since the celebrations started 60 years ago as a fundraiser for the church. 

“I was born right next door,” he said, before listing a few positives about the event: “Friendship, fundraiser, home-cooked food.”

Garland Eaton, 91, recalled when the festival would go on for some time and a Lotus Queen was choosen. In a hallway, photographs from past festivals included images of queens, parades and gatherings, including images of many members of the church and community who attended the event at Tabernacle this year.

But the luncheon remains a tradition that brings people together for food and fellowship, members noted, as well as to commemorate the lotus that lives nearby.

“They’re usually a beautiful yellow flower,” Eaton said, “and they cover that creek.” 

 Laura Peters, 40, of Sigma, serves food during the luncheon that gathered members of the church and the surrounding community together at Tabernacle United Methodist Church. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

Laura Peters, 40, of Sigma, serves food during the luncheon that gathered members of the church and the surrounding community together at Tabernacle United Methodist Church. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

Norwood Land

Norwood Land

Garland Eaton

Garland Eaton

The Independent News

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