Swing your partner, and be an RLEP partner, on Sept. 25

On Sept. 25 in Sperryville, the steps of Rappahannock Central become a stage and the parking area a dance floor. Staff Photo/Roger Piantadosi.

From contributed reports
Traditional Appalachian music, an apple theme and plenty of dancing and fun are on tap at the second annual barn dance benefiting the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection (RLEP).

This year’s event on Sept. 25 kicks off at 7 p.m. and concludes at 10. It ‘ll be held at Rappahannock Central, 3 River Lane, Sperryville. Tickets are $25 per person.

“Apples are the natural choice for the time of year and this place we call home, so we felt it was only fitting to make them a major part of the year’s event,” says Monica Worth, RLEP president.

An apple dessert bake-off is part of the night’s festivities. Everyone who enters this event will receive two free tickets to the dance and be eligible for the grand prize of $100. The contest will be judged by a chef, a local celebrity and an apple producer. Registration in advance is required. Contact the RLEP office at 540-317-1449 and leave a message with the name of the dish you plan to enter, your name, address and telephone number. Be sure to say you are entering the bake-off. Dessert entries should be brought to the dance at 7 p.m. for judging at 8:30.

“Of course there will also be bobbing for apples and other fun and games, as well as a special tasting of a wide range of heirloom varieties from a local orchard,” Worth adds. “The barn dance is the featured Saturday evening event of the two-day Rappahannock Farm Tour, so we hope visitors will attend as well as locals.”

The Trouts, a group of regional musicians, will provide the music for the dancers. The band includes Rannie Winn on whistles, Lyt Wood on hammer dulcimer and banjo, EJ Burke on banjo, mandolin and guitar, Ellen Snyder on fiddle, guitar and vocals and Doug Marshall on guitar. Well-known caller Rob Craighurst will also be on hand.

The site of the dance, Rappahannock Central, is a former antiques market in Sperryville being redesigned and rebuilt as a synergistic gathering spot, with a farmers cooperative market, art studios and gallery and dining facilities. The barn-like structure has had a long and storied history as the county’s old farm co-op and once served as a packing shed through which tons of local farm produce passed on the way to market. Visit Rappahannock Central’s Web site at www.rappcentral.com for more.

Dancing for the event will be under the stars, in front of the building’s broad steps, weather permitting. “But there is plenty of room inside on the first floor if it rains,” says Worth.

RLEP is also offering, on a limited basis, opportunities for event sponsors who want to host their own indoor “tailgate” parties at the dance. For a donation of $500, sponsors will also receive 10 tickets to the dance, prominent acknowledgment in a variety of high-profile venues, and a special RLEP gift.

“Sponsors may bring their own food and drink or we can arrange catering services,” Worth says. The regular ticket price of $25 includes soft drinks and light snacks. A cash bar will also be available.

RLEP is celebrating 40 years dedicated to preserving the rural character and natural resources of Rappahannock County. For tickets, sponsorship information or details on the barn dance, or for more information on RLEP, visit rlep.org or call 540-317-1449. Tickets can be purchased online through the Web site, via phone or at retailers throughout the county.

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