There are plenty of alternatives to a walk in the (still closed) park this week, including:
¶ RAAC’s free Second Friday at the Library lecture series, which features bestselling author Tom Oliphant (talking about his new book, “Baseball as a Road to God”), is 8 p.m. Friday (Oct. 11) at the Rappahannock County Library. (Visit raac.org for more information, and while you’re there, take note of upcoming presenters in the series, including author Marion Winik (“Highs in the Low Fifties”) Nov. 8, photographer Doug Norton Dec. 13 and bestselling author Norm Ornstein Jan. 10).
¶ On Saturday (Oct. 12) from 5 to 9, Hearthstone School holds its Oktoberfest at the school (11576 Lee Hwy., Sperryville) with a hearty German buffet meal, beverage and dessert for $15 per person ($5 for ages 10 and younger), plus a cash bar. Kids activities include a moon bounce, crafts and movie time. Check with Hearthstone School at 540-987-9212 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
¶ The Castleton Community Volunteer Fire Company has a fundraising spaghetti dinner and movie night on tap Saturday (Oct. 12) at the fire hall (593 Castleton View Rd.). Dinner is $8 ($4 for ages 4 to 12) and starts at 6. The movie, “Despicable Me,” starts at 7. Call 540-937-4110 for more details.
¶ “Stand Up & Be Heard: One Little Song Can Change the World” is Kid Pan Alley’s newest program, and a day-long songwriting and character-development workshop at Rappahannock County Elementary School on Monday (Oct. 14) marks its debut — and ends with a 2 p.m. concert open to all. During the performance, children who wrote verses to existing songs in the program will have the opportunity to perform them on stage with the Kid Pan Alley artists, including founder Paul Reisler. The RCES program was made possible by a Claudia Mitchell Fund grant. More info at kidpanalley.org.
A unique production of “Gilbert and Sullivan and the D’Oyly Carte Tradition” comes to the Theatre at Washington on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 20. An earlier version was received with great enthusiasm when it was performed at the Smithsonian last year.
The show is a narrated story, with musical highlights, of one of the most successful theatrical partnerships in history — that of lyricist and playwright W.S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan. Their collaboration began with “Trial by Jury” and included “The Mikado,” “HMS Pinafore” and “The Pirates of Penzance,” to mention just a few of the 14 comic operas they wrote between 1871 and 1896. The popularity of the works, beginning in the Victorian era, with Queen Victoria herself being among the charmed audience, has continued to the present.
All aspects of Victorian society were subject to lampooning by the gifted satirist Gilbert: the rigid class system, government and the social order, monarchy, the concept of equality, inheritance rights, lawyers and the judicial system, and the Royal Navy.
Nick Olcott, the brilliant writer and director based in Washington, D.C., produced the script for the show, narrated by Lew Freeman, he of the “commanding stage presence and a rich baritone voice,” according to The Washington Post. Freeman joins tenor Doug Bowles and soprano Kari Paludan, along with pianist Alex Hassan, in bringing enchanting music, hilarious anecdotes and insight into why Gilbert and Sullivan are beloved by performers and audiences throughout he world.
Tickets for the 3 p.m. performance are $25 ($10 for students 17 and younger). For reservations, call 540-675-1253 or email TheatreVA@aol.com.
Oct. 19 is a Saturday, but you’ll want to drive slow on that stretch of U.S. 211 between the high school and the Blue Rock Inn — or, better yet, pull over. On your left, at Rappahannock County High School, you’ll find the RCHS Fall Festival and Cornhole Tournament going on from 11:30 to 3:30, a fundraiser with students offering everything from carnival games, yard sales, car wash, popcorn, moon bounce and pony rides to the cornhole tournament itself. (Haven’t registered your cornhole team yet? Contact Karen Sanborn at 540-227-0745, ext. 3465, or email@example.com.)
On your right, take note of the distinctive red Virginia Airborne Search and Rescue helicopter — and note that it’s not checking whether you’re speeding (which you aren’t, are you?) but rather offering 10-minute rides for all who reserve ahead, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The rides, departing from the Blue Rock Inn property across from the high school, are $25, and are part of a Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office’s fundraiser for the Children’s Foundation/Shop With a Deputy program. You’ll need to sign a waiver and set up your appointment beforehand: Contact the sheriff’s office at 540-675-5300.