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VARNAMTOWN—Twenty years ago, this Brunswick County fishing village elected to become a town.
On Sept. 20, 1988, 177 of Varnamtown’s 181 registered voters turned out to vote, with 102 voting “yay” over the 75 who said “nay.”
According to a front-page story that ran in The Brunswick Beacon, incorporation committee member Marion Davis was certain of “at least several” instances in the tight-knit community in which brothers were on opposite sides of the issue.
If you’re a “brother” in Varnamtown, there’s a good chance your name is Varnam, Varnum, Galloway, Dixon or McDonald.
Judy Galloway is mayor, and Ada McDonald is one of the town’s original aldermen still serving on the board.
McDonald’s husband, Doug, is organizing Varnamtown’s 20th anniversary celebration taking place this Saturday, Sept. 27, in Jesse R. Caison municipal park on Sabbath Home Road.
Those still wondering why the name for which Varnamtown is named is spelled two different ways get mixed answers.
“We don’t know how that happened,” said Doug McDonald, citing one case in which a sister spelled her name Varnam and her brother spelled his Varnum.
“They checked back as far as they could really check,” he said. “I don’t think neither one of ‘em could prove one another to be right.”
Another story has it “Varnum” evolved when someone failed to properly loop the second “a” in the name.
“I don’t know, but I tell you there was a squabble about it for a while,” McDonald said.
Otherwise, and except for McDonald’s team tug-of-war against the mayor coming up at this Saturday’s celebration, he said, “We all get along together like peas in a pod. Mess with Varnamtown, you mess with all of ‘em and everybody knows about it. When somebody’s sick, they all jump in and I don’t know of any other place where I’d want to live.”
Where he draws the line is the aforementioned tug-of-war slated for 1 p.m. A couple years ago, he said it was the main event in Varnamtown when Galloway challenged McDonald and lost. This year, she’s demanding a rematch.
“Everybody’s saying either Judy’s going to win or Doug’s going to win,” he said. “All the women are for Judy, and all the men are for me.”
It has spurred a bit of temporary town divisiveness, McDonald said.
“When that’s over, we’ll get back to lovin’ again,” he said.
Festivities commence around 11 a.m. with town officials speaking, food, music, face-painting and the tug-of-war. Horseshoes are scheduled for 2 p.m., followed by a softball game at 3 p.m.
“Anybody can come; it’s open for everybody,” McDonald said. “Just bring your chair or blanket or whatever you want to sit on.”
Even out-of-towners are welcome, he said.
“The only thing is,” McDonald said, “you’ve got to pull for my team."