Friends of Turkey Run Farm presented their first rental check to Interior Secretary James G. Watt Friday night at a fundraising gala for the rustic colonial park.
Turkey Run Farm was formerly run by the U.S. Parks Service but now has been taken over by a private group that includes a number of prominent Northern Virginia.
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) who has been active in helping raise funds, said the group expected the evening to net $15,000 to $20,000. "We've already raised $35,000 before tonight," he said.
Former Army secretary Martin Hoffman, said, "You will find a lot of people who are saying it's perfectly reasonable that federal funds not be used to support a local facility, when private contributions can do it. I think it's a nifty demonstration."
"I told my breakfast meeting this morning there is a need for more cooperation and exchange between the public and private sectors," said Robert Andrews, a Republican candidate for the House of Delegates whose kickoff for the campaign in the 49th District had been held that morning.
Music for the occasion was provided by the strings of the Turkey Run Musick Group, including Susan Lundin and Cathy Hess of Madison High School, Claire Friedman of Rocky Run Intermediate School and Moira Skinner, a recent McLean High School graduate.
Bonnie Villette, a singer with the group, said she had brought a letter to hand to Watt, who has stirred controversy with his environmental policies.
"It's a letter asking him to love the land and not business," she said. Of the gala, she added, "This is a positive side of people of all persuasions working together. It gives me hope."
The Potowmack Ancient Fife and Drum Corps, in 18th-century garb, marched and played during the festivities prior to the check presentation by the group's president, Joe Harsh.
Patrons who strolled through the pasture beside the yellow refreshment tent included Del. Vincent Callahan (R-Fairfax), Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), Fairfax County Board od Supervisors Chairman John F. Herrity (R), Redskins Dallas Hickman and Mark Murphy, and Lynda Johnson Robb with 3-year old daughter Jennifer.
"Five years ago I was over here (at Turkey Run Farm)," she said. "Mother was staying with us and I told her, 'Mother, use your influence,' and we saved the farm then."
Lady Bird Johnson, wife of the late president Lyndon Johnson has been visiting the Robb family off and on to assist in the gubernatorial campaign of her son-in-law, Lt. Gov. Charles S. Robb.