Gates open Thursday (July 4) at 1 p.m. for Rappahannock County’s July 4th celebration, the annual benefit for the Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department down at Thornton Hill Racecourse (4137 Sperryville Pike, Sperryville). There’s music, amusements, food (including free oyster tastings), tailgating, a cash raffle with a top prize of $7,500, and, of course, fireworks at dusk. Word is Rappahannock’s state senator, Mark Obenshain, the Republican candidate for Virginia attorney general, will be in attendance. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 540-987-8124 or visit sperryvillefire.com. Admission is $25 per car.
The big ball games are this Friday-Sunday (July 5-7) at Stuart Field in Amissville, when the Rappahannock Culpeper Baseball League hosts the Virginia Babe Ruth District 9 tournaments for 9U and 12U teams.
Both those Rappahannock teams kick off the tournament Friday at 6, both playing against Winchester. (Visit rappculpbaseball.com or call Mary Gray at 540-229-9058 for more details.)
Meanwhile, check out how the youngest member of the Rappahannock Culpeper 9U team, Sam Vandrey (that’s him here), made it to Nats Park in Major League Baseball’s Pitch, Hit & Run competition.
Looking for other things to do this weekend?
The Laurel Mills Store’s First Friday Fish Fry is 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. this Friday (July 5) at the store on Laurel Mills Road, with frog legs, catfish, coleslaw, sea salt chips, watermelon or cantaloupe slices, iced tea and root beer floats for $10.99. For more information, call 540-937-6154.
At River District Arts in Sperryville, there’s an Artisan Market Trunk Show going on Friday-Sunday, with special deals offered by a dozen or so of RDA’s resident artisans (not including the artists studios, which will be open right next door). DuCard Vineyards is pouring wine on Saturday and Sunday, Grand Slam BBQ has pulled pork sandwiches on Saturday, when Ben Stowe will also entertain you with his fiddle on the porch from 2 to 4. RDA’s “Spontaneity!” watercolors exhibit is still on, featuring works by Mary B. Allen, Trish Crowe, Carolyn Grosse Gawarecki and Chee Kludt Ricketts, and Jan Allmon has a solo exhibit of oil paintings in the River Gallery. Call 540-987-8770 for more information.
Next door at the Middle Street Gallery, the nonprofit artists’ cooperative in Sperryville, the gallery’s second annual members’ theme show starts tomorrow (Friday, July 5) and runs through August. The theme this year, and the title of the exhibit, is “Obsession.”
Each member interprets obsession in his or her own way. Jackie Labovitz is indulging her love of butterflies with an all-butterfly collection; Jo Levine is showing photographs of Italian architecture by creators who were obsessed with the designs of their structures; Gary Anthes exhibits photographs of a single Rappahannock tree he has photographed repeatedly over the years; and Thomas Spande shows obsession, not with subject matter, but with technique, with paintings made from thousands of tiny lines.
What unites these disparate works? “It is passion that drives obsession,” member Helen Berliner says.
The gallery is holding an opening reception for the artists and the public from 3 to 5 p.m. next Saturday, July 13. Light food and drink will be served. The gallery is currently in a new member drive and invites prospective new members to visit the gallery at that time as well.
The gallery, located at Rappahannock Central at 3 River lane in Sperryville, is open 10 to 5 Friday-Sunday. For more information, visit middlestreetgallery.org or call 540-987-9330.
— Gary Anthes
Johnny Beard, a seventh-grader from Sperryville, was one of three campers from Rappahannock County at this year’s Trout Unlimited Tri-State Youth Camp from June 23-28.
Held at Graves Mountain Lodge in Syria, the camp recruits the majority of its two dozen participants from Virginia, Maryland, D.C. and West Virginia, but its growing reputation also attracted campers this year from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New York, Texas, Maine — even Puerto Rico and Alaska. All come to spend an exciting week amid the mountain streams of Shenandoah National Park and environs.
Students’ experiences in our mountain stream environment help them to become skilled anglers and experienced conservationists. Campers learn firsthand from officials of the National Park Service, professional conservationists with state natural resources agencies, environmental educators, professional fishing instructors and guides and experienced members of Trout Unlimited.
In his application to the camp, Johnny said, “I just moved here from Arkansas and I want to know more about my new surroundings. I love being outdoors and adventuring in the woods, and though I have spent many hours in the woods of Arkansas, I would like to experience my new backyard and learn as much as I can about it. I would like to have fun and make new friends this summer.”
“One of the best indicators of the success and value of the camp is the more than 20 of our campers who have reported that they were so impacted by their Tri-State experience that they have gone on to enter college programs in pursuit of a professional career in environmental sciences, such as fisheries biology, fish and wildlife management and natural resources education,” said camp director Paul Kearney.
Nearly all youth who attend the camp indicate that it gave them a greater understanding of the importance of the TU mission of conservation, and the motivation to both protect our natural resources and continue to fish and enjoy the outdoors. There’s more information about the camp online at tucamp.org.
— Beverly Hunter
Like to have your own personal tarot card reading on the banks of the Thornton River? This Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m., Triple Oak Bakery hosts tarot reader Melanie Climis, who’s been reading cards for 30-plus years, and who will tell you about your summer, your love life, your career choices or . . . exactly what it is in the oven at Triple Oak that smells so good right now. Call the bakery at 540-987-9122 or email Melanie at email@example.com to make an appointment.