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June 14, 2010
By HOLLY KOZELSKY - Bulletin Staff Writer

Saturday was a big day at the Smith River Sports Complex, but not because it was the second day of World Cup play. Instead, a wedding was held at the soccer complex.

The bride and groom, Virginia Thornburg and Brandon Duncan of Danville, aren't even soccer fans. They just liked the setting.

"She's wanting (a) red and white country" setting, said the bride's mother, Pamela Thornburg of Martinsville. With the fields, the red and white building "and the rock walls, it works."

Red and white decorations adorned the gates leading to the park. The ceremony was held in the courtyard in front of the two buildings, and Elder Edneecas Law presided.

The groom, a drag racer in his mid-20's, rode in on his motorcycle. The bride, 21 and a 2007 graduate of Bassett High School, entered from the pavilion and met him in front of the center landscaped circle. Rows of chairs were set up for the groom's family on one side of the circle and the bride's on the other. They planned for 75 to 100 guests.

"We were looking around for different objectives. At first she wanted the redneck type" of wedding, but phased out that idea in favor of a country feel, Pamela Thornburg said. "She was coming by there (the soccer complex) one day and we saw it. It just dawned on us, why not? It looked like it would fit everything: playground for the children to keep the little ones occupied, and area for the adults to dance, and we don't have to worry about alcohol," which is not allowed there.

The courtyard was roped off for the wedding, and the outer areas of the park remained open to the public.

After the ceremony, the reception featured a traditional Southern barbecue dinner and dancing.

The family was happy with the arrangement, and they hope others try it for family events, too. "It shows people there's other uses for the complex than just for sports," Thornburg said.

Thornburg has two other children. "One had a church wedding, and the other one had one at the (Philpott) dam. Between the three, I think Virginia's is going to be the most unusual," he said.