Rockets over Rappahannock
Gates open at 1 p.m. Monday (July 4) for the Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department’s 10th annual Rappahannock County 4th of July Celebration at Thornton Hill Hounds Racecourse.
The annual event attracts upwards of 4,500 folks and includes one of the best fireworks displays around, in one of the most fetching spots in the region, for $25 per carload.
The festivities at 4137 Sperryville Pike (U.S. 522, three miles south of Sperryville) start at 1 p.m. and include live music by the Gold Top County Ramblers and Bobby G. and Friends, food, skydivers, antique cars and tractors, local nonprofit booths, children’s games, face painting, kiddie rides, a Cliff Hanger slide, dunk tank, helicopter display and, of course, fireworks at dusk.
General admission is $25 per vehicle; tailgating spots (with a better view, and room for a tent) are $50. For more details, call 540-987-8124 or visit sperryvillefire.com.
The iron works at Artifacts-on-Main
Artifacts-on-Main is now displaying outdoor steel and iron sculpture by local artists Hans Gerhard and Nol Putnam as well as an artist new to the area, Jonathan Bowling.
Like Gerhard, the North Carolina-based Bowling uses found objects and scrap metal to create durable art — the former creating expressions of single or multiple figures, as well as abstract works using mostly farm scrap metal, the latter using every type of scrap one can think of to create depictions of animals, from horses and goats to pigs and deer.
Bowling’s work arrived at the outdoor space last week and the artist himself hoisted it into place. Bowling says he has “been working on a series of steel horses, which focus on interior and negative space as much as on contours and surface. Each ‘horse’ is a series of abstract sculptures which are combined to form the armature for the whole. These pieces are made with the intention of staying outdoors in a public area without the need for extensive maintenance. The materials I use are often from the turn of the last century, which I feel is appropriate for depicting an animal so intertwined with our agrarian past. Repurposed steel provides a sound structure which allows me to work on a scale that lends itself to public spaces.”
Hans Gerhard work has been a staple of the local arts scene for decades, and has found a home at Robert and Joanie Ballard’s Artifacts-on-Main. Both a painter and sculptor, Gerhard says of the latter: “I had to deal with a lot of broken machinery and scrap metal on the dilapidated Rappahannock County farm I had bought 30 years ago. The cleanup took years, and it turned into a new passion to make something amusing and even beautiful out of the crude material.”
We’ll have more on Nol Putnam’s new work, forged red poppies meant to memorialize the battles of World War I, in next week’s The Rapp column.
For more details on the works, visit R.H. Ballard Shop & Gallery across the street from Artifacts-on-Main at 307 Main St., Washington, or call 540 675-1411.
Hot music, cool forest at Tula’s
Nethers Hot Club performs on the patio at Tula’s Restaurant from 6 to 9 this Saturday (July 2), celebrating the (almost) completed “Deep Woods Mural” painted by singer and guitarist Linda Heimstra. The mural enjoys a 360-degree view, as if one is standing on the edge of the woods, with Old Rag Mountain towering above — as close as you can get to taking a walk in the woods without actually doing it. Enjoy a fun evening of jazz standards, dinner and libations. Reservations for the patio are recommended. Call Tula’s at 540-675-2223 or visit tulasoffmain.com.
Rock Mills Road bridge closes next week
If you’re taking trash or recycling to Flatwoods in July, don’t go the back way.
Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) plans to close the Route 622 (Rock Mills Road) bridge over the Covington River in Rappahannock County for about three weeks starting Tuesday, July 5. The structurally deficient bridge over the Covington River, about 1.5 miles east of U.S. 211 and a half-mile west of Hunters Road (Route 621), is expected to reopen July 28.
If you’re heading to the recycling center on Rock Mills Road from Castleton or points east, or on Rudisill Mill Road from Sperryville or points south, you’ll have to take the posted detour — north on Hunters Road, part of which is unpaved and not quite friendly to two-way traffic, to a left on Tiger Valley Road and another left on 211.
Better, if possible, to just take 211 to the recycling center, which is less than a quarter-mile off the four-lane, on Rock Mills Road. It’s what the VDOT crews headquartered across the lane from Flatwoods will do.
A VDOT crew will replace the 1976 Covington River bridge’s existing timber deck with a concrete slab. The work also involves repairs to the bridge’s abutments and the surrounding embankments. Message boards will be in place to notify the public of the closure and any weather-related schedule adjustments.