Something new on New Year’s Eve

Peter Hornbostel will spin a few good yarns on Dec. 31. Photo by E. Raymond Boc.

New Year’s Eve has traditionally been a time for adults to celebrate the end of an old year and the beginning of things new. It is a time to stay out very late and, often, to have a “wee dram,” as revelers in Scotland would say. Kids are left with baby sitters or on their own.

But not this year. Not in Rappahannock County.

On Dec. 31, from 5 to 8 p.m. in Little Washington, the Rappahannock Historical Society will sponsor not one but three venues of food and entertainment for revelers of all ages. The family-oriented event, called “Last Night Rappahannock,” will be similar to the “First Night” celebrations that take place in many other communities, says John Tole, president of the Society. “This year will begin with a relatively modest program that will hopefully grow in future years,” he says.

Local R&B and rock band Dontez Inferno performs.

The Washington Town Hall will house entertainment oriented toward adults, and the RAAC Community Theatre will cater to younger folks, with three acts at each site over the course of the evening. Among the activities planned are an acoustic music set, satirical music by the multi-talented Rappahannock County High School student Austen Cloud (featuring the songs of Tom Lehrer, Shel Silverstein and others), and an eclectic mix of jazz, R&B and rock from local favorites, Dontez Inferno.

Cloud had a modest start as an entertainer at age 12, he recalls. “I just picked up a guitar and started playing,” he says. “My sister said I was terrible, and I was pretty bad. But I thought that if I just kept trying, I’d get better. And I did.” Better, indeed. Come and hear for yourself.

Karen Beck-Herzog, a Shenandoah National Park ranger, will bring various found objects from the Park for kids and adults to see and touch. Peter Hornbostel, artistic director for the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community, will spin stories for both kids and adults. One of the yarns he will tell is of his purchase from a “mountaineer” of a chestnut log cabin 40 years ago in Nethers. “It had no running water, not even an outhouse,” he recalls. “How we acquired it is a funny story.”

Evergreen Shade performs music from the 1800s.

Hornbostel’s recollections will be augmented by humorous acoustic music, from the 1800s and later, performed by the local group Evergreen Shade.

Food for the event will be served in the Parish Hall of Trinity Church.

Headquarters for the event will be the Rappahannock Historical Society, and fees will be $25 for families with children and $10 for individuals. Reservations are necessary and must be made by Dec. 27. Call 540-675-1163 or email the Society at