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What do you do when you want to have a reunion for a large family? You build a venue

In World
May 30, 2024

ZANESVILLE − Julie Irvin chuckles a little when she recounts how her and husband’s new wedding and event venue, Belle Brooke Ranch at 1185 Holders Lane, came to be.“It didn’t start out as a business at all,” she laughed of how she and her husband, Daren, actually got the venue going, breaking ground in July of 2020. “We have a very large family — my husband is one of 10 children, and our immediate family is 60 strong and growing. We’ve outgrown everyone’s homes to have a party. So, the original plan was to build a small building we could host our family celebrations. And that‘s how it started.”The Genesis HealthCare employee said the next thing that happened was someone asked if they’d be willing to rent the soon-to-be-built building.

The Belle Brooke Ranch started as a family venue but turned into a business. Show here are the owners, from left, Daren and Julie Irvin, and their daughters, Sklyar and Sydney.

The Belle Brooke Ranch started as a family venue but turned into a business. Show here are the owners, from left, Daren and Julie Irvin, and their daughters, Sklyar and Sydney.

“That’s when the concept changed,” she said, adding they began taking reservations in mid-November and have already booked weddings into 2026. “So, we went at it as something for our family, but it became a very real business. Darren (a general contractor) and I have owned several residential rental properties and we sold those to build the venue.”The venue sits on a small dead-end road with a country setting that is 10 minutes from I-70 and South Zanesville, as well as Maple and Underwood avenues.According to the Belle Brooke Ranch website, the venue’s décor is inspired by the west and “surrounded by lush landscaping and rolling hills in the heart of southeastern Ohio.” It goes on to say that the 8,400-square-foot facility accommodates up to 250 people for a formal indoor reception and many more for outdoor receptions using the covered pavilion and decks around the pond. The ranch also features a custom indoor fireplace and gazebo.

The Belle Brooke Ranch sits on a small dead-end road with a country setting that is 10 minutes from I-70 and South Zanesville, as well as Maple and Underwood avenues.

The Belle Brooke Ranch sits on a small dead-end road with a country setting that is 10 minutes from I-70 and South Zanesville, as well as Maple and Underwood avenues.

“We are in the final stages of construction now,” said Julie, who is preparing to open for the 2024 season. “We’ve literally built the venue from the ground up.”She said they’ve had a great response since opening for bookings in November, even getting an out-of-state booking, site unseen.“The weddings are the big focus. That’s mainly what people are booking,” Julie said. “We do have some smaller parties, graduation parties, family reunions, class reunions, but we’re interested in also doing corporate events. We’d like to pair with some businesses to do holiday parties or summer and company picnics.”She added they don’t have restrictions on food — or much else.

Then custom built indoor fireplace is a focal point inside Belle Brooke Ranch.

Then custom built indoor fireplace is a focal point inside Belle Brooke Ranch.

“My policy is we want you to bring whoever you love from the food to the DJ.”She said they’ll add a memory garden and they offer a petting zoo for field trips.“My daughter is a fifth-grade teacher and she brought 50 students to the venue for the farm experience,” said Julie. “We walked them through the petting zoo, played farm bingo, and had a picnic lunch. It was a fun day for the kids.”It’s fun for Julie, too, who said it brings her so much joy to see people enjoy the family farm.“We just love to share the venue with guests,” she said. “We just want them to come and feel welcome and enjoy the space as much as we do.”

This article originally appeared on Zanesville Times Recorder: Belle Brooke Ranch began as a family project, but it became a business

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