Central Ohio woman’s late husband inspires quest to buy restaurant sign

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — When Bevin Farrand learned about the latest restaurant closure in Central Ohio, she feared she would also lose a longtime tradition with deep emotional ties.

“I was so sad because it really was an important place for us and we really loved going there,” she said.

On August 31, 2011 Bevin met her future husband, Mark, for their first date at Brazenhead Irish Pub on Fifth Avenue. A fire had recently destroyed Bevin’s home in Chicago and she was temporarily staying with her mother in Upper Arlington when she decided to meet the man she was talking to on an online dating site.

“We just hit it off immediately,” Bevin recalled. “We shut the bar down, just had a really great time, a really great connection.”

Within several years, Bevin and Mark were married. Every year on the anniversary of their first date, they revisited Brazenhead and recreated the fateful meeting.

“Every year we would go sit in those seats, even if there was no one else in the bar. We would wear the same clothes. We were just kind of goofy that way,” she said. “It just became something we would do every year. We took our daughter a couple of years. The bartenders knew us and they’d be like, ‘Has it already been a year?’”

The couple snapped a photo on each occasion in front of the restaurant’s lighted street sign.

In 2019, their spirited adventures continued after the couple welcomed their second child. Mark surprised Bevin for her 40th birthday with a whirlwind 36-hour visit to France. While they debated leaving their children for the spontaneous trip, it was a unforgettable event and inspired the mantra “take the damn trip.”

They spent the following week with friends and family celebrating Thanksgiving.

“The day after Thanksgiving he just didn’t wake up,” she said.

Mark passed away unexpectedly from what Bevin would later learn was undiagnosed heart disease. Their daughter was nearly three and their son was ten months old at the time.

“Mark was my best friend,” Bevin said. “He was my cheerleader in starting my business and everything we did together.”

On August 31, 2020 Bevin spent one more anniversary at Brazenhead to honor their tradition. In October, she learned the restaurant would be closing permanently.

Searching for a way to hold onto the fond memories, she wondered if she could purchase a piece of memorabilia.

“Oh my gosh I would just love to have that sign,” she said. “Every year we’d take a selfie in front of the sign so you kind of see our relationship unfold over those pictures.”

Bevin posted her anniversary photos on Facebook and asked if anyone could put her in touch with the Brazenhead owners so she could inquire about the sign. Within days, users shared the post dozens of times across several Facebook groups and pages. Many strangers were commenting supportive messages and rooting for her on her quest.

“Just seeing this and understanding the emotional attachment, people have just wanted to be a part of it,” Bevin said. “I think that message of ‘You never know so you need to do the crazy thing’ has been something people can really get behind.”

Bevin’s new connections were able to put her in touch with the former Brazenhead business owners and the current proprietors of the building. Both informed her they couldn’t sell the sign directly and she would have to attend an auction to buy it.

When she relayed the news on social media, offers started coming in to help pay for the sign. Instead of accepting, she agreed to sell t-shirts with the “take the damn trip” mantra inspired by her last vacation with Mark. Proceeds will help purchase the sign. Bevin said she’ll donate any leftover profit to a friend raising money to adopt a child.

“This isn’t a business venture for me,” she explained. ”It’s just something I’m really passionate about, helping people understand that we never know and we can’t wait. We just need to do the crazy thing and we need to take the damn trip and be with our friends and family and the people that we love.”

The auction is Saturday. You can purchase your own t-shirt or connect with Bevin by clicking on this link.

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