While Olga and Corey Oakley may enjoy some chocolate on Valentine’s Day, they will most certainly talk about deer jerky, too, recalling how they first met.
Valentine’s Day is one of the days on which the Oakleys celebrate their love and affection for each other. They also consider the day they first met very special.
Finding love at Bonnaroo
Olga and Corey met at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival five years ago.
Several months after the couple met, Olga decided to make Coffee County her home.
Born in Ukraine, Olga spent most of her life in Chicago.
“I met Corey at Bonnaroo in June 2014,” Olga said. “I was with my friends from Chicago.”
Olga had just returned from a trip to Europe when her friends invited her to attend Bonnaroo with them.
“I had just graduated college and went on a trip to Ireland, Scotland and England … when my friends asked me if I wanted to go to Bonnaroo,” she said. “And 15 hours after landing in Chicago, I was in a car going to Bonnaroo.”
She met Corey on the second day of the festival, during Kanye West’s set.
“Corey was working at one of the stands, and I was with my friends – we just met the old-fashioned way, face to face,” Olga said. “We really seemed to like each other; it was pretty much love at first sight.”
The two felt an immediate connection, and over the next few days they met each other’s friends.
“Our friends met one another and hung out,” Olga said. “It was really nice, and we got to know each other. It was nice to see two groups of friends from two different regions, with different accents, meet together and have fun at Bonnaroo.”
Olga recalled one of the first questions Corey asked her.
“The first time I told him I was from Chicago, he said ‘Have you ever tried deer jerky?’ and I said ‘No’,” Olga recalled. “We knew at that time we had different backgrounds.”
Corey, who was born and raised in Hillsboro, showed Olga the festival grounds over the next couple of days.
“She was from Chicago, and she had been to Lollapalooza, but she had never been to Bonnaroo,” Corey said. “Here, we go to hunt and fish and do things like that and … in Chicago they are born and raised on concrete. So she comes to a farm, to a festival, where there were cows beforehand and where they cut hay, so I was telling her about farm life.”
That weekend, Olga and Corey watched several of the concerts and “found a really good rhythm together,” said Corey.
Becoming a family
When the festival was over, Olga went back to Chicago.
While the experience at Bonnaroo had become a part of the past, the affection Olga and Corey had for each other continued and became stronger, and the two began looking forward to a future together.
Olga moved to Coffee County in July 2015.
“We got married Sept. 9, 2017,” she said. “We have two children – Oliver, who is 3, and Olivia, our 6-week-old baby girl.”
‘Such a nice community’
Olga said she now enjoys the farm life.
“We have about 10 goats at home and live on 3 acres, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but for me from Chicago, it’s a lot,” Olga said. “It’s very quiet and peaceful.”
Olga works at the Hands-On Science Center and appreciates the Tullahoma community.
She has met a lot of locals through her job.
“Tullahoma has such a nice community,” Olga said. “People here know one another, and they support one another.
“It seems Tullahoma has one mission: to make everybody really happy and safe, and to nourish and educate children.”
The couple attends Bonnaroo every year.
“Since I moved here, we have been to Bonnaroo every single year,” Olga said. “It’s a lot of fun to go back – it’s very nostalgic and I love it.
“I still have my friends that come back every year for Bonnaroo. It’s so weird being on the other end of the spectrum – now I am the local. I live here, and they are visiting. I am the one showing them around.”
Going back to Bonnaroo is like celebrating an anniversary, said Corey.
“We take a picture under the arch every year,” Corey said. “It’s like the world is throwing us a party.”
Elena Cawley may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.