Washington column for Nov. 11

A day at the races

Thom Pellikaan and Mary Ann Kuhn pause for a smile at the camera with Montpelier Steeplechase and Equestrian Foundation board chairman Charlie Seilheimer at the 76th running of the Montpelier races last Saturday in Orange County.

Rappahannock County made its presence known at the Montpelier Hunt Races held on the grounds of James Madison’s Montpelier last Saturday. Thom Pellikaan, Woodville, who has won nine tailgate competitions, was an official judge in the tailgating event sponsored by Piedmont Virginian magazine. Also on hand to judge and present tailgate awards were Pat Nicklin of the Piedmont Virginian and Mary Ann Kuhn of Washington’s Middleton Inn, who awarded a gift certificate for an overnight stay at the inn.

Studio and Gallery Tour

This brief item comes from Charlotte Taylor:

Washington’s streets and galleries bustled with activity and art-lovers last weekend due to the Artists of Rappahannock Studio & Gallery Tour. Now in its sixth year, this event drew an estimated 1,000 visitors to view the works of more than 55 artists who call Rappahannock their home. Fifteen artists also opened their personal studios to visitors who came from as far away as New York and North Carolina.

“This event gets better every year,” said Joanne Hilty, who chaired the event committee with co-chair Robert Ballard of R.H. Ballard Art, Rugs and Home, for the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community (RAAC). The event, voted “Best Event of 2009” by the Piedmont Virginian, drew people from even a wider geographic range than last year and had many returning visitors.

Orchestrating the countywide event is no easy feat. It involves the work of almost 40 volunteers and the support of more than 50 sponsors. But the six months of planning culminated in an outstanding event that showcased not only the county’s artistic talent but also its cultural wealth and beauty.

WVF&R meeting

At the Washington Volunteer Fire & Rescue’s monthly meeting Oct. 31, Chief Ann Spieker reported that the company responded to 39 EMS/911 calls and five fire calls in September. One of the fire calls was for a “stump fire”: a fire accidentally started when fresh sawdust from a tree that was being cut caught fire due the heat/friction generated by the chainsaw. Everybody should remember that the risk of accidental fires is greater in the fall — even more so this year when we’ve had severe drought conditions. So be careful out there: a simple spark can cause a fire when there are so many dried leaves, dried grass and dead wood — especially in breezy conditions.

On another note, the kindergarten class had a field trip to the station on Oct. 22, and had a terrific time seeing the various pieces of apparatus, spraying the hose and trying on the gear. The following week, one ambulance and one fire truck visited the CCLC where all the children in Halloween costume were able to go inside the ambulance and the fire truck.

Several members are currently taking various training classes (paramedic, arson, inspector, forestry courses to increase their knowledge and skills and in some cases receive accreditation).

Finally, the company welcomed two new members: Tristan Sonnett and Sean Mullan.

Fire House Cafe

This past weekend, WVF&R operated a “Fire House Cafe” where they served snacks and lunch to the many visitors in town for the studio tour and beautiful fall weather. A simple menu of soups, sandwiches, rice and beans, pulled pork, salad greens, local apples and a wide variety of sweets (baked by members) as well as hot and cold drinks was offered for sale. WVFR thanks The Farm at Sunnyside for donating fresh organic salad greens and the Virginia Chutney Company for their lovely cranberry chutney. With tables and chairs set up outside, Fire House Cafe provided a welcome spot to locals who stopped as well as visitors. They estimate that they served at least 80 meals and many snacks.

The company’s next fundraiser is an all-you-can-eat breakfast from 7 to 11 Saturday, Nov. 20. Cost is $8, $4 for children ages four to 12. Proceeds benefit the Washington Volunteer Fire and Rescue. For more information, call 540-675-3615.

Watch the paper for more details on WVF&R’s breakfast with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 18.


Sympathy goes out to a dear friend of mine, Jean Lillard, on the death of her brother, Danny Lillard, who passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 2. There will be a gathering of family and friends at the Flint Hill fire hall from 11 to 2 on Saturday, Nov. 13.

Garden Club’s holiday greens

Getting ready for the holidays? Don’t forget the Garden Club has made-to-order wreaths, garlands and centerpieces for sale. They will be available on Thursday, Dec. 2 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Washington fire hall for pickup. Prices are the same as last year except for a new tabletop arrangement. Call Susan Hornbostel at 540-987-9620 or contact Bette Mahoney at bsmah@stoneledge.net for a brochure or to order online. Call Fawn Evenson at 540-675-1424 for more information.

Soap Box Derby yard sale

Just a reminder that from 8 to noon this Saturday, there’s a benefit yard sale being held on the lawn of Middleton Inn in Washington to raise funds in support of Soap Box Derby drivers. The weather is looking great for it!