For years, Derek and Allie Mannon dreamed of owning Derek’s family farm but couldn’t figure out a way to make it happen. The farm had originally belonged to Derek’s great grandfather and operated as a dairy farm for many years. After his passing, Derek’s grandfather, C.E. Mannon, had several head of cattle he used as a hobby and pastime when he wasn’t attending his other professions as high school guidance counselor or local preacher. Derek had grown up helping his grandfather on the farm with cattle and mending fences, creating memories and establishing roots on the property long before he met Allie. After they were married, Derek and Allie lived in the farm house that was originally built by Derek’s great grandfather, B.T. Mannon. Both being sentimental, building their own family memories amongst so much family history truly felt special. After Derek’s grandfather passed away the farm went up for sale. From that moment the couple knew that owning the farm would be a dream they needed to make happen.
In December of 2013, The Mannons experienced a tragedy like no other. A house fire started in the bedroom of their six month old daughter. Thankfully everyone escaped without harm but the house they adored was a total loss. This only deepened their affection for the property. They worked relentlessly to figure out ways to make the farm theirs. Both already owned and operated their own separate businesses, but the dairy farm that had originally been run by Derek’s great grandfather gave the couple an opportunity to combine their talents. It also would allow them to share a love of entrepreneurship with their four children and establish a new family business that they all could work towards together.
In June of 2018 their dreams crystallized into reality when the purchase of the eighty-four acre farm was realized and the creation of an event and wedding venue – The Eighty Four began. Derek’s craftsmanship and expertise in construction and Allie’s years of experience in the wedding industry would be showcased with The Eighty Four.
Promptly after completing the purchase, renovations began on the farm’s 1946 dairy barn to turn it into a wedding and event venue serving the New River Valley. The vision was to keep the original bones of the structure but add modern touches throughout to speak more to Derek and Allie’s personal style. This meant adding a gorgeous, 3,500 square foot patio with a retaining wall on the backside of the property. A handcrafted timber-frame pergola will span the entire retaining wall. Cafe string lights will drape across the patio to provide a romantic feel as the event’s guests dance the night away. A beautiful deck overlooking the patio provides access to the barn’s loft and the original silos on the property were renovated and turned into the property’s restrooms. With timber frame features throughout, white, crisp walls and modern industrial light fixtures, the look is timeless and different from anything else you will find locally.
After almost two years of renovations and construction the Mannons are anticipating an already busy inaugural season of events in 2020 and looking forward to even more bookings in 2021. The couple has taken great pride in the sweat equity that has been invested in the property that they lovingly refer to as “the farm”. They continue to use the opportunity to teach their children about hard work and the insight into owning your own business. You’ll find them many evenings working together as a family of six on cleaning up the property or finishing up a project. Their four children, Knox, London, Mabry and Boone prefer summer work nights that involve watering the grass with sprinklers over the shed cleanouts of winter. But regardless, building a legacy together is what’s important to Derek and Allie.
Allie loves the idea of The Eighty Four being a one stop shop venue. So, the booking also includes a wedding coordinator, wedding timeline, and parking attendant as well as many rental items like all tables and seating. The included wedding coordinator will be present for the rehearsal and for the day of the event to make sure that all is seamless, taking worry and stress away from the family and allowing the opportunity to truly enjoy the event. The venue will accommodate many types of events with the focus being on weddings.
Ultimately, the Mannons hope that anyone that contracts them for their event will see the love that has been poured into “the farm” and their desire to share that with anyone who hosts an event with them.