West Rowan Home and Garden recognizes real-life Wonder Woman during Mother’s Day Festival
Published 12:08 am Sunday, May 8, 2022
MOUNT ULLA — As an only child, Brandy Smith always dreamed of having a house full of kids when she grew up.
“I got it,” Smith said.
Smith is the biological mother of one son and is currently fostering three other children, with plans to adopt the oldest. Her passion for raising kids and ability to “thrive in chaos” is why Smith was recognized on Saturday as Wonder Woman of the Year by West Rowan Home and Garden.
The Mount Ulla store and community hub hosted a Mother’s Day Festival complete with a bouncy house, vendors and a performance by the West Rowan Elementary School Ukulele Club. A costumed Wonder Woman snapped photos with kids.
“It’s our way to give back to the community,” said Elsie Bennett, owner of West Rowan Home and Garden.
Bennett solicited nominations for the Wonder Woman of the Year on the store’s Facebook page and plenty came in. What separated Smith from other great nominees, Bennett said, was the fact that she was nominated by multiple people independently of each other.
“(Smith) was nominated by two different people who didn’t know the other had nominated her,” Bennett said.
Smith was put up for the award by both her childhood friend and her mother, Linda Layok. Layok is a proud mom.
“The thing about Brandy is, I raised her as a single mom and now here she is with all of these kids doing so good,” Layok said. “I look at her and she just amazes me. She just proves it can be done. She’s got so much patience and love for these kids it’s amazing. And they love her too.”
Smith and her husband, Evan, started fostering children over a year ago after the initial wave of the pandemic. She said the process of being a foster parent wasn’t as grueling as some claim it to be.
“If you open up to them, it is a very easy process,” Smith said.
The family enjoys excursions, including picnics at local parks and camping trips. Smith and her family stopped by West Rowan Home and Garden before heading to the mountains for the day.
Above all else, Smith said the kids just want to be treated like kids.
For winning the Wonder Woman of the Year title, Smith will receive a $50 shopping spree at the store.
There were plenty of other festivities taking place at the store. Inside the antique barn, about two dozen students from West Rowan Elementary School performed a number of songs using their ukuleles and voices. Alex Day, the music teacher who runs the ukulele club, said his pupils have been practicing together since the start of the year. In front of their families, including many moms, students played songs including “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and “Don’t Worry Be Happy.”
The club will perform together again at Earth Day Jam at Bell Tower Green on Saturday.
Also in the antique barn, featured artisan Joe Owen showed off his handcrafted furniture. The retired woodworking teacher specializes in functional reproductions of furniture that would have been commonly used in the 1800s and 1700s. Owen’s cupboards, benches and more can be found anytime at the store.
Inside the store, Linda Holshouser and Darcy Ward battled for the title of best baker with two delicious cakes. Under a light rain outside, vendors sold food and merchandise and a bouncy house gave kids a place to play.
West Rowan Home and Garden will host a similar festival for Father’s Day on June 11.