"Hello," said the earnest gentlemen to the young man sipping a soft drink. "I'm Kenneth R. Plum and I'm running for the House of Delegates in the 18th District and I'd like your vote."
"Glad to meet you," said the young man as he shook Plum's hand. "I'm Pat Holland and I'm running for sheriff in Alexandria."
"Henry Howell?" said the woman in the plaid Bermuda shorts and straw hat. "He part of the Roy Clark family?"
That's the kind of day it was at the People's Festival in Falls Church yesterday, a day-long outing in Henry Howell's campaign for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.The sun beat down as hard aa the rock musicians did on their drums and at times there seemed to be more candidates for the House of Delegates than there were hamburgers and hot dogs.
Depending on whom you talked to, the People's Festival was (a) a fund-raising effort, (b) a chance to get the undecided vote to meet the candidate, (c) a stroking session for Howell volunteers, (d) a chance to leak good news about Howell's financial situation.
The good news, according to Bill Rosendahl, executive director for the Howell campaign, was that late Friday a financial angel, Bob Bales, a real estate developer from Glade Springs, Va., had come up with $75,000 for the Howell campaign, enough for a last-minute media blitz in key points in the state.
"It's the break we've been looking for," Rosendahl said, but after that things got a little confusing.
Actually, Rosendahl said, Bales had promised to give $25,000 and raise the rest. The check, Rosendahl said, was in the mail. Actually, he said a check for $15,000 was in the mail, and $20,000 (including $10,000 Bales will have raised by then) was to be wired to the Howell campaign on Tuesday.
Unfortunately, Rosendahl said, it would be best not to ask the candidate to comment on the windfall funding, because he didn't know about it yet. "I was planning to tell him about it on Monday," Rosendahl said.
Bales could comment, Rosendahl said, except that he was at the Indianapolis 500. His phone on Glade Springs, said the long distance operator, was broken.
Meanwhile, standing a little back from it all was Mabel Braja, her first husband, Joseph Braja, and her second husband, Raymond Pierce. "It's a long story," she said.
Anyway, Mabel Braja, Joseph Braja and Pierce had seen an ad for the People's Festival, they said, and when they noticed that the Roy Clark Family, stars of TV's Hes Haw, was going to be there, they came. The Ray Clark Family was there, Clark wasn't, but Henry Howell was. "I didn't know this whole thing was for him," said Mabel Braja, who said she is about to open a pizza restaurant in Alexandria. "But I met him in a drugstore once and he's a real fine gentleman."
"I'll vote for anybody who's a Democrat," said Raymond Pierce, a painter. Informed that Howell's opponent in the June 14 primary, Andrews P. Miller, was also a Democrat, Pierce said, "Who's he?"
About 200 people showed up for the gathering, for which just about everything from the music and the food to use of the house and eight acres of lawn had been donated. The house belongs to Boyd Hogge, a retired real estate developer, lay minister, attorney and Howell supporter who wore a Miller for Governor button on his hat. "That's for Henry," Hogge said. "When he's not looking I'm going to stick it on the back of his pants. A governor's got to have a sense of humor."
Not only the Roy Clark band but two local bands, Pacer and Dragonfly, donated their time as well. "The motivating factor is exposure," said David Cohen, the bass player and one of the vocalists for Pacer, "But we heard him rap a couple of times and he seems an all right dude. If we didn't get good vibes from him, we wouldn't do it."