NOTE: The Rappahannock News’ usual Fourth (Estate) Friday public story conference is cancelled this month; we’ll be back with coffee and conversation on Oct. 25, at a location to be announced in this space in the Oct. 24 edition.
Meanwhile, Sperryville’s Fourth Friday open-late shopping activities resume tomorrow (Sept. 27) from 5 to 7 p.m. at Coterie. Bring the kids and family: Coterie’s ever-artisanal crew will be busy making scarecrows and celebrating the coming of fall, and handing out maps to guide you through the farm tour and festival (see below). Call Coterie at 540-987-8249 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details about goings on there and around the Sperryville Schoolhouse this weekend and beyond.
There will be at least 31 participating venues — and two days of cooperative weather, it looks like — for this weekend’s Rappahannock County Farm Tour & Festival. The venues include 10 farms, five orchards, two country stores, four wineries and four purveyors of gourmet and specialty food — plus a restaurant, three producers of specialty beverages, a spa, an artist cooperative and lots more.
Then there’s the Artisans’ Market at Avon Hall (craftsmen, art, organic produce and a wine tasting) and a weekend-long Civil War encampment at the county’s Visitors Center — complete with a parade into the town of Washington at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, and a ceremony at the Civil War Memorial on the courthouse lawn.
There’s more about the Civil War activities, the farm tour venues and artisans on the event’s Facebook page (search for “Rappahannock County Farm Tour”). The tour itself is self-guided and free. A comprehensive guidebook is available online and in print at four locations during the weekend: Wits End Farm in Amissville, Merry Moo Market in Flint Hill, the Artisans’ Market at Avon Hall in Washington and the Sperryville Corner Store.
Over at Belle Meade School and Farm, always an enthusiastic participant in the farm tour weekend, there’s lunch of farm-raised foods, hayride tours, beekeeping demos, pony rides and and animal visits from 10 to 4 Saturday, with the afternoon events topped by their annual “Chef Cook-Off,” with area chefs competing to produce winning dishes using farm-fresh products. For more information on Belle Meade, visit bellemeadeschool.org or call 540-987-8790.
The Rappahannock Association for the Arts and Community (RAAC) is showing Ron Maxwell’s newest film, “Copperhead” at 8 p.m. next Friday (Oct. 4) at the Theatre on Gay Street. The film, which follows an upstate New York family during the Civil War, stars Francois Arnaud, Lucy Boynton, Casey Thomas Brown, Billy Campbell and Peter Fonda.
Immediately afterward, there will be a question and answer period with Maxwell’s spokesman, John Henry. The film is rated PG-13. Admission is $6 for adults ($4 for students) and the concession stand will be open for popcorn, candy and water.
For a review of “Copperhead” and other upcoming events, visit raac.org.
Robert Schumann’s Quintet for Piano and Strings performs a free concert at 4 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Theatre. A reception at Tula’s off Main, right next to the Theatre, takes place immediately afterward.
Members of the Madison Chamber Players will perform several other works as well, including a sonata for violin and piano by Schubert and solo piano works by Bach and Ravel.
The group often performs in Madison, at the Homestead, the Library of Congress and many other venues, and is led by violinist Daniel Pierson, a member of the celebrated U.S. Army strings. Pianist Jim Allison is a graduate of the Peabody School of Music in Baltimore and is the program manager at WETA radio. Other players include violinist Michael Hansen, cellist Richard Skarnes and violist (and Rappahannock County resident) Alfred Regnery.
The public’s invited to a “September Clays” fundraising shoot this Saturday (Sept. 28) at the Sperryville property of Bill Fletcher for Del. Michael Webert (R-18th) of Fauquier County, who’s running for a second General Assembly term in the district that includes all of Rappahannock County. Special guests include Rep. Robert Hurt (R-5th); admission and a shot at the clay targets starts at $150. Contact Webert campaign manager Nick Blessing at 540-216-8231 or email@example.com.
The Rappahannock Lions Club’s annual ChiliFest and grand raffle fundraiser returns Oct. 26 at the Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department. Enjoy great chili and peak autumn color with family and neighbors in support of the club’s service projects.
Griffin Tavern returns to defend its title in the commercial division against the Flint Hill Public House, Thornton River Grille, the Country Café and the Blue Rock Inn. Last year’s homemade chili winner Johnny Jenkins’s returns as well.
The fun begins at 4 p.m. with a chili sampling at the fire hall, followed by the crowning of the winning chilis and the Grand Raffle drawing at 6. Raffle participants have an excellent chance to win or split $5,000, as only 150 tickets will be sold. Raffle tickets are $100 and include a chili sampling for the whole family. General admission is $20 per family.
To purchase raffle tickets, contact Frank Raiter (540-937-7958 or firstname.lastname@example.org) or any local Lion. Professionals and self-styled chefs who want to participate in the chili cook-off (with up to six quarts) should contact Lions Rob Taylor (540-987-8891) or Gordon Axelson (540-987-9366).
Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum has announced that it will present Patrick O’Connell, chef/proprietor of The Inn at Little Washington, with its highest honor at its annual gala Nov. 4: The Grand Visionary Award.
The Museum selects its Grand Visionary honorees for their courage as innovators and in recognition of their life’s creative work in furthering human dignity, beauty and social justice.
“I’m greatly honored to join such a diverse and well respected group of international visionaries,” said O’Connell, referring to past Grand Visionary honorees that have included Archbishop Desmond Tutu, civil rights activists Julian Bond and wife Pam Horowitz, Nobel Prize science recipient Peter Agre, Body Shop founder/activist Dame Anita Roddick and comedian Lewis Black. “This is a delightfully unexpected and meaningful acknowledgement because it recognizes my life’s work as an art form. I have always felt that the restorative and transformational quality of a dining experience has rarely been fully explored or appreciated.”
Museum founder and director Rebecca Hoffberger has been a long-standing admirer of O’Connell’s work. “Everything that can be asked of a work of art — originality, passion, transformation — has been the life’s work of extraordinary Chef Patrick O’Connell. Patrick makes guests who save for a year to bring a loved one to his famed Inn feel every bit as cherished and welcome as visiting dignitaries and royalty. Both healer and humanitarian, humorist and guardian of nature and animals, Chef O’Connell elevates all aspects of his art to create a slice of Heaven right here on earth.”
All proceeds from the museum’s Grand Visionary Gala Celebration benefit its unique educational programming and exhibitions. The Gala is AVAM’s annual major fundraising event — never stuffy and ever playful, reducing even Archbishop Tutu to both tears and laughter.
Gray Ghost received top honors at three consecutive competitions, taking home best in class, platinum and gold awards. Their 2012 Gewurztraminer won “Best in Class” honors at the Indy International Wine Competition, with the highest rated Gewurztraminer in the competition; the 2011 Reserve Chardonnay won platinum at the 2013 Virginia Wine Lovers Wine Classic competition.
Their seven golds and two silvers made the winery one of the highest-rated Virginia wineries in the entire competition. Gray Ghost has swept the Virginia Wine Lovers Wine Classic competition every year it has entered. Gray Ghost also received gold on the 2011 Ranger Reserve, silver on the Gewurztraminer and four bronze medals at the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, increasing their 2013 medal count to 76.
The winery’s tasting room (14706 Lee Hwy., Amissville) is open 11 to 5 Friday-Sunday. Contact Gray Ghost at 540-937-4869.