Warnerettes founder receives Farmington Historical Commission award

Governor Warner Mansion volunteer Sharon Bernath on Wednesday received the Farmington Historical Commission’s Dick Carvell Award.

Sharon Bernath receives the Dick Carvell award from Laura Myers
Historical Commission chair Laura Myers presents the Dick Carvell Award to Sharon Bernath Wednesday during the City of Farmington holiday party. (contributed photo)

Presented during the City of Farmington’s holiday party at the Huron River Hunting & Fishing Club in Farmington, the award recognizes someone who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to the preservation of Farmington history. Among other community activities, Carvell was a long-time member of the Historical Commission and involved with the Governor Warner Mansion from the time it became a city-owned museum.

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Historical Commission chair Laura Myers said Carvell recruited Bernath, who helped bring back the monthly porch parties, started Children’s Day and oversees the flea market during Founders Festival, organizes and writes scripts for Ghost Night, and runs a moveable gift shop the Warner General Store. The retired school librarian often volunteers to give tours, especially for the many children who tour the Mansion each year.

But Bernath’s “crowning achievement,” Myers said, has been her founding of the Warnerettes Parasol Drill Team: 

Sharon Bernath Warnerettes Parasol Drill Team
Sharon Bernath beats the bass drum, keeping time for the Warnerettes Parasol Drill team during the 2014 Greater Farmington Founders Festival parade. 

“One day she mentioned that it would be nice to have a parasol drill team of women dressed as suffragettes to march in the Founders day parade. Within a few weeks she enlisted a group of women and ordered hats, umbrellas, and personally made the sashes with the lettering “Votes for Women”.

“That first year, a dozen well-rehearsed women stepped out in long black skirts, white blouses, and neckties to march, twirl parasols, campaign for voting rights, and support our own Fred Warner for governor. Sharon herself brings up the rear pounding out the rhythm on a big bass drum.”

Within a year, Bernath had 27 women on the team. The Warnerettes now march in Northville’s Victorian parade in the fall and Farmington’s lighted Christmas parade in December, with costumed women and children carrying signs and handing out candy and a Model T Ford carrying Fred Warner himself.

To learn more about the Dick Carvell Award, learn about previous winners and the Historical Commission, visit farmgov.com.

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