When an employee leaves a job, their coworkers tend to recognize their time at the company with a small get-together or happy hour. Not in the Town of Lovettsville. There, the Town Council frequently sets aside whole days to celebrate the work of its tenured and accomplished public servants.
To recognize people who’ve “put a significant amount of time and effort into the town,” Mayor Nate Fontaine said the council often either declares specific days for those people or simply passes resolutions highlighting their service to the town. In both situations, Fontaine and the six council members deliver the proclamations round-robin style, each reading one of the “whereas” sections.
Fontaine said council members even throw in a few jokes to keep the formal government proceedings lively. “We try to put some fun in there so it’s not just ‘here’s your day,’” he said.
The commemorative days don’t carry over from year to year. Rather, they’re one-time celebrations attached to a single day in history.
Last May, the Town Council voted to name May 26 “Tiffany Carder Day” after the former vice mayor who served on the dais for eight years.
A month later, the council on one night voted to declare two days for two separate people—June 30 as “Bobby Zoldos Day” in honor of three-term mayor Bob Zoldos, and Aug. 25 as “Kim Allar Day” in honor of the six-year councilwoman and former chair of the LOVE America Events subcommittee.
That same night, the council voted to recognize Tony Quintana for his three months on the Town Council and three years on the Planning Commission.
In August, the council voted to declare Oct. 20 as “Samuel A. Finz Day” in honor of the former town manager who helped the town implement its first ever Fiscal Policy.
In December, the council voted to name Dec. 16 as “Woodgrove Championship Day” in honor of the Woodgrove High School varsity football team, which won the Virginia High School League Class 4A Championship that month after a 7-2 regular season record.
On Valentine’s Day this year, the Town Council voted to name March 22 as “Victor LoPreto Day” to honor the 12-year Loudoun County Sheriff’s deputy first class who acted as western Loudoun’s community resource officer for six years. The council chose March 22 because that was the day LoPreto was sworn in as a Fairfax County police officer 37 years earlier.
A month later, the Town Council voted to name March 26 as “Mike Senate Day” in honor of the 10-year councilman, vice mayor and former Planning Commission and Parks Committee chairman.
Aside from naming days in honor of its own, the Town Council has also named places for them.
On the same June night last year that the council voted to name a day for Zoldos, it additionally named the grassy area inside the Town Square as “Zoldos Square” and renamed the “Squirkle”—a resident nickname for the road system that directs northbound and southbound Rt. 287 traffic around the Town Square—to “Zquirkle.”
Those names were fitting to declare, considering it was Zoldos who helped propel the town’s day-naming proclamations when he was elected in 2012. Zoldos said while the Town Council passed similar resolutions during Mayor Elaine Walker’s time, he wanted to do more of it once he was elected, since it’s a “nice ceremonial thing” that “makes peoples’ days.”
He said the tradition picked up speed once he and council members saw how happy they made former councilman Jack Burden by naming a day for him and realized they could keep doing that for more people at no cost to the town.
“We hit it right on the mark there,” Zoldos said. “It seemed like the perfect thing.”
Zoldos’ drive to reward town leaders for their service led to the most famous naming in Lovettsville history—a temporary renaming of the town to Capitalsville in May 2018 to recognize the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Final.
Originally suggested by Zoldos in his Friday email newsletter, that rename later brought about 2,500 Capitals fans to the town green to watch game five of the championship match—the game that clinched the championship for Washington.
Lovettsville isn’t the only western Loudoun town declaring days and naming places for people—it’s just the most active in doing so. The Town of Purcellville also has a bit of fun in that department.
In 2017, the Town Council voted to declare May 1 as “LVHS Boys Basketball Team Day” in honor of the Loudoun Valley High School boys’ basketball team’s 2017 Virginia High School League 4A State Championship, which it achieved with a 30-1 regular season record.
Seven months later, the council voted to name the newly-built Dillon’s Woods picnic pavilion in the Fireman’s Field complex for Wendy Smith, a longtime Loudoun County Parks, Recreation & Community Services employee who spent decades serving the community.
In Lovettsville, Fontaine said that recognizing people for their accomplishments and service within the community aligns with the #LovettsvilleLiving hashtag he developed with his wife, Lizzy, whom he often refers to as the First Lady of Lovettsville.
That campaign frequently sees Fontaine recognizing residents for their achievements and significant life events, like Boy Scouts achieving the rank of Eagle Scout and residents welcoming newborn babies into the world, and town. “There’s enough negative stuff going around, you got to be able to keep the positive light on things,” he said.
Fontaine said he feels that recognizing people for their contributions to the town is something future Town Councils will continue to do.
“I don’t see anything in the future that would make them stop,” he said. “Lovettsville’s got that special feel to it.”