Sperryville column for Dec. 17

‘Wonderland’ in Sperryville

Sperryville is wearing out its welcome signs again. Can you help?Chris Green
Sperryville is wearing out its welcome signs again. Can you help?

Maggie Rogers of Central Coffee Roasters always has something unique to offer her patrons, so it is no surprise that she’s hosting a celebration the 150th anniversary of “Alice in Wonderland” Dec. 19-20, along with an end-of-year concert and an exhibit and sale of her fine art works.

A gifted coffee roaster, Maggie’s printmaking skills are also legendary. Hughes River Trading Co. is the studio and gallery housing her intaglio etchings, engravings and illustrations. Her roastery, the larger part of the same building on U.S. 211 west of Sperryville, is filled with wondrous brews and roasting beans, the intoxicating aromas of which will leading you to her doorstep.

She’s also the host of a concert series; folksy, intimate gatherings that bring in top-notch local musicians (including the Gold Top County Ramblers, who have a strong Rogers family connection) for an evening of coffee, biscuits, great music and good conversation.

For the “Alice in Wonderland” celebration on Saturday, Dec. 19 from 3:30 to 4:30ish, Smiggy, Howard and Andy, well-known Rappahannock musicians and residents, will narrate Lewis Carroll’s beloved masterpiece, and Maggie says “there will be teapots, tea and cream puffs, and storytelling accompanied with a little music, and refreshments.” From 5 to 9 p.m. a collection of etchings, engravings and drawings will be for sale and on display.

On Dec. 20, Central Coffee’s popular classical trio performs from 7 to 9 p.m. For more information, call Maggie at 540-987-1006.

Sign up to spruce up the signs

A number of years ago, a grant was awarded to improve Sperryville’s Main Street drainage and mini-sidewalk, and some monies were also utilized to build the beautiful Sperryville entrance signs posted on U.S. 522 near Route 231, and on U.S. 211 west of Hearthstone School and to the east near Waterpenny Farm. Community members have also been known to give of their time, including well known artist Davette Leonard, providing fresh paint and artistic brush strokes, and an anonymous donor paid to have the sign near Waterpenny Farm freshly painted.

However, the other two are badly in need of a spruce up. It’s been suggested that local businesses or organizations could step up to the plate and donate, or perhaps a collection drive could be orchestrated, or an individual or group might consider a little Christmas present for the town. Ideas?

Lions we have heard on high

The Rappahannock Lions Club recently held their annual Christmas dinner at Headmaster’s Pub, and it was a festive evening of camaraderie, great food and libations enjoyed by members and their spouses. The Lion’s Club is an extraordinary service organization, a worldwide grassroots society founded in 1917 by Melvin Jones, that embodies and embraces his philosophy that “you can’t get very far until you start doing something for somebody else.” The members of the Rappahannock Lion’s Club epitomize the association’s main tenets.

They help the local Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, help fund Eagle Scout projects, turn out in force to support Camp Fantastic, a unique camp based at the Northern Virginia 4-H Educational Center near Front Royal held annually to help children dealing with cancer.

The Lion’s are responsible for purchasing and installing the scoreboard at the Rappahannock County High School athletic field; for creating the beautiful garden at the Scrabble School, so beloved by the Seniors; manning the sight and hearing van that enables them to visit all local schools, both public and private, and supporting the annual Bland Music Contest in February. The last is a juried contest with thousands of dollars in scholarships available. Past winners include our own Lorraine Duisit’s two lovely children, Evan and Nicole Marie Espinola.

Other well-known Lions fundraisers include the annual ChiliFest and Grand Raffle. According to Don Audette, a 10-year Lions Club member and all around great guy, “You buy a ticket for $100 and that entitles you to the Chilifest event, voting for the best chili, having a good meal in the evening, and then to the drawing of a winning ticket for a pot of $5,000 by an intricate process of elimination which involves a lot of suspense, drama and elation.”

Of course, the making and selling of apple butter every fall is also a popular fundraiser and a beloved tradition. Who hasn’t stopped by the 211 Quicke Mart to purchase jars of golden yellow nectar from the cheery “apple squad.” The Lions fund five college scholarships, contribute to the Food Pantry and Senior Center, and indeed lend out their large tent to Headwaters and the Garden Club for their events.

They also paid for and installed a handicapped ramp for a local Sperryville resident, and provided a grant to the social services department that allowed the purchase and installation of 20 Guardian Alerts for seniors. In 2013, the Lion’s Club established a 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to Rappahannock County and its citizens.

What many may not know is that by ordering products on Amazon, and online at Walmart, Plow and Hearth and a number of other retailer sites, 4 percent of the money you spend goes to the Rappahannock Lions, funds that support the local volunteer fire stations. Upwards of $5,000 has been donated so far in this manner. To shop like a Lion, visit rappahannocklions.org/supporti.html to start.

And then — what are you waiting for? Become a member!

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