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Smithfield celebrates Bria’s return

Published 10:25pm Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The town of Smithfield is planning a party Saturday to welcome home one of its favorite daughters, schoolgirl Bria Kelly, from her stint on NBC’s “The Voice.”

Smithfield Foods will host the homecoming at its corporate headquarters, 200 Commerce St., from 1 to 3 p.m.

Smithfield Events and the Smithfield and Isle of Wight Convention and Visitor Bureau are also helping organize the celebration, said Martha Russ, assistant to Smithfield Foods President and CEO Larry Pope.

“What we want is for this to be an all-American, apple pie-type celebration in our town to honor this local girl who has represented our town well,” Russ said.

A two-car motorcade down Main Street — Bria Kelly in one car, her parents Bob and Jan Kelly in the other — will kick off the party, according to Russ.

A “welcome program” at the company’s expansive grounds will follow, attended by Smithfield Mayor T. Carter Williams and other dignitaries, she said.

“It will conclude with Bria doing a 30- to 45-minute concert,” Russ said. “All this will take place right here at our building and our lawn.”

Kelly will meet and greet fans and sign autographs after she performs, and Smithfield Music will be selling her CDs, Russ said.

“Then we’ll be serving hotdogs,” she added.

Parking at the Smithfield Foods corporate headquarters is closed to the general public; parking is available at Smithfield Little Theater and other public lots in downtown Smithfield.

Lawn chairs and blankets are permitted, but leave umbrellas and tents at home.

“People here in Smithfield are very excited about Bria,” Russ said. “I think we will have a pretty big crowd.

“I don’t think it will be limited to just Smithfield — we have just had one inquiry from Richmond.”

Kelly was a top-ten finalist in the sixth season of “The Voice,” bringing a lot of attention to Smithfield.

“We want Bria to know that we appreciate that, and that her hometown is there to support her going forward in her music career,” Russ said.

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