BRI Unveils New Logo for Birthday

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  • The 50th anniversary logo for the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum.

  • Interim President Mirta Martin, center, and Tim Tatum, Franklin County Supervisor from the Blue Ridge District, left, reveal the new logo for the 50th anniversary. BRI Director Bethany Worley stands behind the podium at right, while Vice President of Academic Affairs, Kevin Reilly, far right, looks on.

  • Joe Dashiell, Senior Reporter for WDBJ7, covers the 50th anniversary celebration.

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Lindsey M. Foster, Editor

This year marks a milestone for one of the well-known additions to the college. Fifty years ago in 1973, the Blue Ridge Institute was established. Along with this, the BRIM is also celebrating the 50th year of the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival.

To celebrate this milestone, there was a press conference on Feb. 21 in the BRI to celebrate 50 years of the museum.

“It feels very satisfying,” said Bethany Worley, Director of the BRI.

In the early years of the Blue Ridge Institute, Roddy Moore, Director Emeritus of the BRI, was added to the staff.

“I’m just glad that I had the opportunity to be here to work with the college and the community,” Moore said. “I’m celebrating the traditions within the community.”

For the past 50 years, the BRIM has become a staple to the campus and community.

“It’s a huge part of the college’s identity,” said Kevin Reilly, Vice President for Academic Affairs.

This staple has brought a certain uniqueness to campus.

“Few institutions are ever able to celebrate the 50th anniversary of anything, let alone of an entity that is so essential to Ferrum College,” said Mirta Marin, Ferrum College Interim President. “Every institution shares similarities, but Ferrum College has one thing that no other college in Virginia has, and that’s the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum.”

To add to the celebration, Joe Dashiell, Senior Reporter for WDBJ-7, covered this milestone.

“Those have been some of my favorite stories of all time, covering stories about the blue ridge traditions, getting to meet the people who are keeping them alive, and then airing them for our viewers to see,” Dashiell said.

Dashiell has been attending the Folklife Festival for about 35 years of the 50.

“Of all the stories I’ve covered over the past 42  years as a reporter, these are some of my favorites,” Dashiell said. “To see the Blue Ridge Institute and the Folklife Festival celebrate their 50th anniversary is just a great joy.”

Preparation for the 50th Folklife Festival began the day after the last one, and officials plan to have more additions to the festival this year.

“Of course, you’re going to have the music and the storytelling and the bands and moonshine tasting area and the coon dogs and horses,” Worley said. “There’ll be some different treats for everybody, which we’ll talk about at another press conference.”

Additionally, there were two new logos created for the BRI; one for the 50th anniversary, and another for the BRI in general.

“It was time for a change,” Worley said. “The last one we have had since the 80s.”

The logo created for the 50th anniversary combines both the museum and the Folklife Festival, as it has the museum and moonshine.

“Based on our Google analytics, 90% of the people look for us, and they’re searching for moonshine,” Worley said.

The BRI has also developed a  new website over the last year.

“There’s so many things we do, and things are constantly changing that we want to let people know who we are,” Worley said.

On Oct. 28, the 50th-anniversary celebration of the museum and Folklife Festival will officially take place, and the staff will continue to prepare.

“I’m just ready to celebrate all year long,” Worley said.