Fauquier County, Virginia’s fertile and beautiful Piedmont Region, was the scene of a breakout festival weekend benefiting the Farmer Veteran Coalition’s Fellowship Fund. The inaugural Veterans Day Celebration was held at 4Js Farm & Brewery, a Veteran-owned small business on the leading edge of agrarian and agri-tourism multi-endeavor small holdings.
The event raised $4,500 for the fund through sponsorships, donations, T-shirt sales, and the donation of $1 for every pint of its Veteran-themed beer, SNAFU American Strong Ale. Additionally, FVC received a $500 donation from American Legion Post #72 Warrenton.
Opening on July 4, 2023, in Warrenton, Virginia, 4Js Farm and Brewery is committed to sustainable environmentally friendly agricultural, industrial and familial self-sufficiency – a major tenet of which is creating strong local community relationships.
Owner Jonathan Waldron said, “We have almost 50 acres, and we figured everybody likes beer. I knew we could do something that fit with the character of the land.”
His wife Jessica added, “We want to invest in keeping the environment and our land as it originally was. … we live here, we’re part of the community and we want to make sure we’re being smart about what we’re doing.”
The community responded, and 4Js has been operating full steam ahead since the day it opened. Right down the road, a traveling band called The Hobo Mariners makes its home in The Plains. The Hobos – Michelle and Captain Rich – first visited 4Js Farm Brewery four weeks after it opened.
Over a couple of beers, the new neighbors discussed ideas for a benefit show celebrating Veterans Day and it didn’t take long for plans to coalesce.
The Hobo Mariners have an ongoing musical relationship with Farmer Veteran Coalition – Virginia and its treasurer, Lt. Col. Chris Jacobson, ret., and in 2017 were honored to be part of the making of the “American Farmer” video, and the subsequent live show with Mason Brown & The Shiners.
Jacobson heard of the plans and accepted an invitation to partner with 4Js and The Hobo Mariners; the event took off.
Farmer Veteran Jonathan Waldron had the brilliant idea to brew a special batch of beer – SNAFU – using Veteran-grown hops from Yakima Chief Hops, and he donated a portion of each beer sold of the whole batch.
Powerhouse farmer’s wife Jessica reached out and quickly had a list of local businesses to sponsor the event. Diverse community support was a hallmark of the event, as Jessica and the Hobos engaged volunteers for the event-packed weekend.
Liberty High School brought its JROTC for a sunset presentation of the colors along with a local member of Bugles Across America playing “Assembly” and “Taps.” American Legion Post 72 and its Auxiliary were invaluable, the Waldrons said.
Chris Ramblin’ Jake, as he is known onstage, and the Hobos provided a superb show for the event. Three large bands, a trio, a duo and two solo acts played from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. The lineup included musicians, several of whom are Veterans, from area counties York, Floyd, Prince William, Warren, Gloucester, Pittsylvania and the home county of Fauquier – all of whom donated the entirety of their travel and performances.
A poster displays the sponsors that helped make the Veterans Day Celebration happen.
The first Veterans Day Celebration at 4Js Farm and Brewery created immeasurable goodwill and momentum within the community for FVC Virginia and this thriving example of a Farmer Veteran-owned and operated small business.
Jonathan and Jessica Waldron put together a team that worked so well together that literally every person who participated left 4Js asking, “When is the next one?”
“It’s been our honor to raise funds and awareness for FarmVetCo,” wrote the Waldrons in an email to Farmer Veteran Coalition. “Chris Jacobson has been a phenomenal partner for advocacy and enthusiasm, and we can’t wait to work together in 2024.”