Holly Whitley owns Legend’s Pub, but she’s the first to admit that it does not belong only to her. It’s her friends and the pub family that make this watering hole a sanctuary for so many. The Gypsy Women are a big part of that family. Their history together runs long and deep. With a shared connection to the military, they came to Fayetteville as soldiers’ wives and daughters and never left. The Gypsy Women are known for their generosity and joie de vivre. This band of sisters has faced many struggles and shared countless losses and triumphs, but they’ve done it together. They know that life is short. They know what it means to take care of their own and they have a passion for making a difference in the community they call home. That is just what they do.
The Gypsy Women have a magical combination of strength and tenderness that has touched many in the community these past 20 years. They’ve raised money to help pay for medical treatments due to injuries and illnesses and helped families struggling to pay bills after suffering staggering losses. If there is anything this group of women understands it’s that life is short and we can all make a difference. For two decades now, Legend’s Pub Owner Holly Whitley and the Gypsy Women have hosted a Spring Fling. It’s a weekend-long celebration of the friendship, tenacity, kindness and generosity that thrive at Legend’s Pub. And just like every day at Legend’s, everyone is welcomed with open arms and open hearts. This year the Spring Fling runs May 6-8.
The event benefits Stan Stewart, a longtime Legend’s Pub patron. Stan recently sustained injuries in a crash. “Stan is such a friend to us. He’s supported so many of our events. Whenever we asked for a hand with anything, Stan was right there,” said Whitley. “Now that he needs our help, we want to be there for him. There is something that just feels right about helping one of your own and we are glad to do this for him.”
Planning three days of fun is a tall order, but Whitley and her crew have it down to a science, and in the end it comes down to the generosity of the many volunteers at Legend’s when It’s time to get things done. “There are a few of us who get the ball rolling, but when it is time to put things together, there is no shortage of people willing to help,” she said. “I can’t tell you how many times I hear ‘What can I do to help?’ and that is such a wonderful feeling. From my daughter Christy, who has been by my side helping me for many years to Priscilla and Nancy and so many others. I can’t even tell you how many wonderful people have stepped up to help over the years.”
The fun starts on Friday night with a pre-party and pool tournament. The tournament starts at 8:30 p.m. Saturday’s activities kick off with the Stan Stewart Poker Run. It’s kickstands up at noon for a fun-filled afternoon of riding with the last bike in by 5 p.m. for the auction, raffles and dinner. “We are going to raffle off a Harley T-shirt quilt and a few other fun items,” said Whitley. “The auction is always a lot of fun, too. We have one friend of Stan who made and donated a cigar box three-string electric guitar for the auction. I’ve got some motorcycle paintings too. We are still taking items for auction. Donating to an auction that helps someone is the best way to regift items that may not suit you.”
On Sunday, don’t miss the bike show and cook out. “Because this coincides with Mother’s Day, we are also doing a Mother’s Day Giveaway on Sunday,” said Whitley.
In 20 years of hosting Spring Fling events, Whitley has never kept a tally of the money she’s raised. For her the joy is in knowing that all the hard work she and the other volunteers have put in have made a difference for people in the community. “I don’t know what we have raised over the years, but I can tell you that the last two years, we brought in more than $50,000 at each event and that feels good because all of it stays in the community,” she said. “We don’t give to large organizations. We give to local nonprofits and families. That is where our heart is.”
Last year’s Spring Fling raised money for hyberbaric treatment for veterans. The year before that it was literacy and education that benefitted from the event.
The Spring Fling is just one of five or six runs that Legend’s hosts each year. “We do some other smaller fundraisers throughout the year,” said Whitley. “But we have a lot of fun, too. Our friends and patrons are always there for us. Every time we ask, they are there to support us so it is important to give back to them, too. We have things like Valentine’s Day events and Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. My kids, Christy and J.D. have celebrated the last 19 Thanksgivings at Legend’s. We set out a long table and serve turkeys and hams and everyone brings their favorite side dish to share. It’s nice to be able to celebrate like that with friends.”
You don’t have to ride to come and enjoy the Spring Fling festivities and make new friends in the process. There is no such thing as a stranger here, and many are lucky enough to join our ever-growing family. The welcoming smiles, cold refreshments and easy camaraderie make for easy conversation and life-long friendships. Call 864-2364 for more information