The Rapp for April 9

Another one of those . . .

. . . weekends, that is, when the weather sounds promising and there’s enough happening to keep everyone busy (except whoever promised this weekend to finish the taxes or clear more brush from the fence line, or both).

The weekend’s events — detailed on page 3 in the Events column, and in greater volume online at rappnews.com/events — include RAAC’s first-ever Film Festival in Little Washington (see Countryside, page B1, for a full schedule); the local Democrats’ annual Blue State Bluegrass Brunch Saturday, with appearances by 26th district state senate candidate April Moore and local nonpartisan candidates (and music by Smiggy Smith, who is not, as far as we know, running for anything); and PEC’s and the Rappahannock Historical Society’s sure-to-be-enlightening “Mountain Heritage” event Saturday in Sperryville — where there’s also nearby an artists’ reception at Middle Street Gallery and an open house at Hearthstone School the same day. And let’s not forget the ever-popular annual Womanless Beauty Pageant fundraiser at the Flint Hill fire hall later that afternoon.

Live woods walking

Rappahannock County residents are among those listening to Virginia Master Naturalist Harry Puffenberger during a Working Woods Walk in January at James Madison’s Montpelier. Pat Temples
Rappahannock County residents are among those listening to Virginia Master Naturalist Harry Puffenberger during a Working Woods Walk in January at James Madison’s Montpelier.

The next Working Woods Walk, through the Demonstration Forest at James Madison’s Montpelier, is 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 19 — led by Virginia Master Naturalists along a trail that showcases various forest and habitat tending methods, with hands-on (or boots-on) learning about conservation and cultivation strategies from Madison’s time through the present. The hike is $10 ($5 with admission to the mansion tour); ages 5 and younger free. The walk is a Virginia LEAF (Link to Education About Forests) program; for more about it, visit montpelier.org/visit. (If weather threatens, call 540-672-2728, ext. 141 or 252.)

Virginia’s climatologist in Warrenton

Celebrating Earth Day with talks by top scientists is becoming a regular part of Warrenton’s spring season, and this year, Jerry Stenger, the Virginia state climatologist at the University of Virginia, will give a free 7 p.m. talk on Friday, April 17 on the state’s weather and climate. The presentation will cover what scientists have seen in the past and expect in the future. This is the second annual Earth Day event on the science of climate change; it’s again at Highland School’s Rice Theater.

Stenger has studied Virginia’s weather and climate for more than 30 years, and has been the state climatologist since 2007. A top area of his expertise is extreme weather events of Virginia’s past.

State Climatologist Jerry Stenger discusses climate change and weather expectations April 17 at Highland School’s Rice Theater in Warrenton. Courtesy photo
State Climatologist Jerry Stenger discusses climate change and weather expectations April 17 at Highland School’s Rice Theater in Warrenton.

“This is a great opportunity to learn what could be in store for Virginia and our region. To know what the range of possibilities are, we need to know what has happened in the past. Jerry Stenger is an expert on that,” notes Judy Lamana, a member of the Warrenton Climate Change Group, which is sponsoring the event.

Local farmers as well as landscapers and home gardeners will want to hear Stenger’s views of our current Piedmont weather and what can be expected later this year for spring and summer.

Stenger will also reveal if scientists know what has been causing our long, cold winters, and will tell us whether we can expect more of the same in the future. Stenger will also comment on our summers — whether scientists predict they will be mild and warm, or hot and humid.

For more information about the talk by Stenger, “Virginia’s Climate: An Interesting Past, An Uncertain Future,” contact Judy Lamana at 540-270-2950.

‘You Can’t Take It With You’ at RAAC Theatre

The cast of YCTIWY rehearses at RAAC Theatre, including (seated, from left) Sam Clifton, Mimi Forbes and Howard Coon, and (standing, from left) Bob Hurley, Andy Platt, Mike Mahoney, Brendan Martyn, Lakota Coon, Gary Grossman, Stephanie Mastri, Patty Hardee, Dontez Harris and Carolina Leonard. Raymond Boc | Rappahannock News
The cast of YCTIWY rehearses at RAAC Theatre, including (seated, from left) Sam Clifton, Mimi Forbes and Howard Coon, and (standing, from left) Bob Hurley, Andy Platt, Mike Mahoney, Brendan Martyn, Lakota Coon, Gary Grossman, Stephanie Mastri, Patty Hardee, Dontez Harris and Carolina Leonard.

If you think your family is quirky, chances are you don’t have anything on the Sycamores, the family at the center of the play “You Can’t Take it With You” (YCTIWY). They and their houseful of fellow eccentrics are happily mad despite the Depression and the world around them. The RAAC Community Theatre will present three performances of the play May 1, 2 and 3.

Set in the West Side of New York City, the three-act comedy was written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. “The play is about a family of loveable individuals pursuing their own interests, even if they seem to be a little crazy,” says Peter Hornbostel, the play’s director and RAAC Theatre artistic director. “The characters march to their own drummers. They may be unconventional but they are generous with the rest of the world, without judgment of others.”

YCTIWY premiered on Broadway in 1936 and won the 1937 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The cast of the RAAC production features many Rappahannock audience favorites, as well as some new faces. “The cast seems to be having as much fun as the Sycamores,” Hornbostel said. “They are having fun being crazy, and also like the Sycamores, they welcome new people into the group.”

Performances at 8 p.m. May 1-2 and 3 p.m. May 3 are $15 at the RAAC Theatre (310 Gay St., Washington). For reservations and information, visit raac.org/raacwp/community-theatre or call 800-695-6075.

Give Local grows, and grows closer

With the second annual Give Local Piedmont event less than a month away, excitement from the 133 participating nonprofits and community members throughout the four-county area is palpable. As the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation’s May 5 event draws nearer, organizers say the goal of raising $1 million in a single day seems more than just possible but probable.

Fauquier Health Foundation has again stepped up to offer a $100,000 bonus pool to be shared proportionately with all nonprofits, according to their donation totals. An additional $30,000 in cash prizes will be awarded as well.

Two sets of grand prizes in the amounts of $5,000, $2,500, and $1,000 will be awarded to the top three nonprofits (with annual revenues totaling less than or more than $250,000, respectively) that receive the highest number of unique donations of $10 or more. This differs from last year’s prize structure, which awarded one of the $2,500 grand prizes to the nonprofit that raised the most money.

Nearly all other prizes are based on the number of unique donations as well, except for four $1,000 “Power Hour” prizes that will go to the organizations that raise the most money during specific hours throughout the day. Each nonprofit can earn up to two prizes, or a maximum of $5,000 in prize money.

Not only has the number of participating nonprofits increased by about 25 percent from last year’s inaugural event, there are 42 organizations that have registered for the first time this year.

On May 5, all eyes will be on the leaderboard at givelocalpiedmont.org, which will post donation totals in real time throughout the day, beginning at midnight. Pledge to be part of this historic day that will benefit our incredible nonprofits, and by extension our community as a whole.

Small barn, great books

The Rappahannock Library’s Book Barn, open 9 to 3 every Saturday, offers a treasure trove of books old and new for sale at low cost. Touted wide and far as one of the best “used” book venues in this area, it is staffed each week by a knowledgeable staff headed by Helen Williams and Lois Snead, dedicated longtime leaders-members of the Friends of the Library.

With the advent of spring, Book Barn has many good books available about gardening to consider, along with works by top-selling authors, children’s books, history, biographies, novels — you name it. Recent “estate donations” of books will soon be available on shelves. Indeed, all the offerings of the Book Barn are well worth a “stop-and-look-see.” Each week there are specialty sales of items too long on the shelf and of antique books or those of interest to specialty buyers or book collectors.

Nestled next to the Rappahannock Library (4 Library Road, Washington) and adjacent to the Visitors Center off U.S. 211, it’s a fun place to visit. See you there on Saturday!

— Kathy Christie

Belle Meade’s benefit trail ride

There may still be room for you on a spring trail ride this Sunday (April 12), starting at 10 a.m. and sponsored by Belle Meade School’s equestrian club and Thornton Hill Fort Valley Hounds (THFVH), with lunch to follow hosted by Belle Meade School.

Fabulous views of Old Rag and the surrounding area are on tap for multiple groups, including a walk/trot group, a hill-topper group (add cantering) and a possible hunter group (jumping), all led by club members and volunteers. Recommended donation of $20 ($15 for ages 10-17, $10 for ages 9 and younger). Contact Alex Forte or Lauren Hammer at alex@bellemeadeschool.org (540-987-8970) or lhammerrides@gmail.com (540-222-8200).

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