The Rapp for June 7

Is it 4th of July, already?
Kelly Jo Settle

The Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department has organized the Rappahannock County 4th of July Celebration for the past five years, and will do it again this July 4 – a Wednesday – down at the Thornton Hill Race Course south of Sperryville on U.S. 522. It’s the largest community event in the county, and up to 4,000 mostly local attendees are expected.

Here’s what you can expect: Fireworks at dusk, gates that open at 1 for: music by Narrow Path Bluegrass, Dontez Inferno and the Gold Top County Ramblers; food, antique cars and tractors; local nonprofit displays, children’s games, face painting, Tubs-O-Fun Kiddie Ride, Stars & Stripes Mechanical Bull, moon bounce, cliff hanger slide, dunk tank, Medi-Vac Helicopter display and more. A 2012 Kawasaki Mule 4010 4×4 Realtree Camo will be raffled of at 9 p.m.; only 250 tickets will be sold.

General admission is $20 per vehicle. If you want tailgating space – room to put up an 8-by-8-foot tent – that’s $40. Sponsorships – prime space on the infield, reserved parking and special recognition during the event – are $500. (But if you, your company or organization purchase a sponsorship by June 15, the price is $400. Contact Gary Settle at if you’re interested in being a sponsor, or underwriter, of the event.)

Other vendors on hand July 4 include RAWL, Hospice of Rapidan, Rapp Cats, Boy & Girl Scouts, Sheriff’s DARE  Program, Reynolds Memorial Baptist Church, F.T. Valley Baptist Church, Wakefield Country Day School, Children’s Miracle Network, Operation Home Front and the county’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee.  

“The event is work intensive and supported by every member of the Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department,” said this year’s chief organizer, Gary Settle. “However, because of the extreme costs associated with putting on an event of this magnitude, underwriters are needed each and every year to sustain the event at its current level.  With this, very special thanks goes out to our current underwriters: Jamie, Lilla and Bill Fletcher, Hampton Foundation, B&B Signal Company, Greve Foundation, Traffic Control and Marking Systems, Greg Williams Tree Service and Landscaping Service, Cheri and Martin Woodard and Union First Market Bank. The continued support of these dedicated people and businesses allows the citizens of Rappahannock County and its neighbors to enjoy fellowship and celebration at a location that is arguably one of the most breathtaking venues in Rappahannock County.

“I look forward to seeing everyone again this year!” Settle said. “Come out and support your community and enjoy the best fireworks display in the area.”

The rain date – though, as Settle put it, “I don’t even want to think about rain!” – is July 5.

For more information, call 540-987-8124 or visit

Soap Box Derby rolls in June 23

Robane Beroza

The local competition heats up: The 2012 second-place finisher in super stock competition at the recent Family Fun Day competition held at the new Culpeper Soap Box Derby facility was Gabe Beroza, a 12-year-old first-year driver whose family has just moved to Rappahannock County, according to a report from local Soap Box Derby organizer and supporter Thom Pellikaan. The first-place finisher: Gabrielle Beville of Linden, the Warren County eighth-grader who actually won the All American Soap Box Derby last summer in Ohio.

Beroza, grandson of Cheri and Martin Woodard, was driving the car of the Flint Hill VFD, and will be a student at Wakefield CDS this fall. (More coincidences: Last year Beroza lived in Akron, home of the American Soap Box Derby finals, but had never attended the event.)

For the Family Fun Day – a run-up to the official local Derby race on June 23 at the brand new race facility in Culpeper County – some 40 other drivers were eliminated in Gabe’s division, leaving the two finalists to vie for the first-place trophy. Beville placed second in the stock division in the local Derby finals last year but secured a trip to the finals by collecting enough rally points in regional races.  In the final race between the two Piedmont-based drivers last month, Gabrielle defeated Gabe by six-thousandths of a second.

Both drivers, and 16 others representing Rappahannock County, will compete in this year’s local Derby on June 23. For more information, visit

But please don’t eat them

One of Kevin Adams’ heirloom tomatoes, among the works on display this spring and summer at the Inn at Little Washington.
One of Kevin Adams’ heirloom tomatoes, among the works on display this spring and summer at the Inn at Little Washington.

What says more about summer than beautiful, large, red, yellow, and zebra-striped heirloom tomatoes? With an eye toward warmer weather, and with thoughts of what will be in the garden this year, the Inn at Little Washington is hosting a new exhibition of still life paintings by Kevin H. Adams featuring the bounty of his Little Washington garden. If you need a reminder of why the hard work of preparing your own plot of ground for planting is worth all the trouble, you’re invited to come see these delicious oil paintings.

The subjects of these portraits, some whole, some halved, posed perched on berry-basket pedestals, reveal the visual beauty of our food.

“I’ve done many paintings of the insides of fruits and veggies,” says Adams. “How many things in this world can you say with complete and unwavering confidence that you are the first to see? For all of these paintings, I really should have put ahead of the title, ‘Before Lunch,’ because as soon as I finished the painting, we had these beautiful tomatoes in sandwiches or salads.”

More widely known for landscapes, Adams’ iconic painting, “Old Rag and the Piedmont,” was commissioned in a limited edition print run by Shenandoah National Park as part of its recent 75th Anniversary celebrations.  The Inn at Little Washington hosted an exhibition of his paintings from in and around the park to help kick off the year-along commemoration. Prints are available through the Park’s visitors center.

Adams is represented in Washington, D.C., by Gallery Plan B and in New York City by MDH Fine Art. Adams, whose work is often on display at The Inn Shops, keeps his studio in the town of  Washington opposite the Gay Street Inn, which he co-owns.

His still life paintings will be on display at the Inn through midsummer, when a new crop of potential subjects will be ripening in the gardens.

So . . . get outdoors

In celebration of National Get Outdoors Day this Saturday (June 9), Shenandoah National Park (and all 397 national parks) will waive entrance fees. “Outdoor physical activity is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, and Shenandoah National Park is a great place to get out and enjoy hiking on our nearly 500 miles of trails,” said park superintendent Martha Bogle. The park will offer ranger-guided walks and hikes throughout the day. For a schedule of programs, visit or call 540-999-3500.

Shenandoah National Park will waive its $15 entrance fee on four other days this year: Sept. 29 (National Public Lands Day) and Nov. 10-12 (Veterans Day weekend). If you plan to enter the park more than twice this season, you will have to seriously consider an annual pass (they’re $30, and they’re good for a year).

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