The Rapp for June 21

Fourth (Estate) Friday, Soap Box Derby Saturday . . .

If you’ve been thinking you’d like to have a word or two with the staff of this newspaper, be at Thornton River Grille in Sperryville at 9 a.m. this Friday (June 22) for our monthly Fourth (Estate) Friday public story conference. In addition to a word or two, you can also have coffee on us. If you have any questions, call us at 540-675-3338 or email

The region’s biggest Soap Box Derby race goes off at 7 a.m. Saturday at the Soap Box Derby of Culpeper’s brand new track off U.S. 522. Be there to support all the 8- to 17-year-old drivers – but especially the 16 local drivers sponsored by Rappahannock County businesses and organizations. For more information on the race, visit or call 540-825-8799.

Saturday would also be a good day to visit the county Visitors Center for its Community Day food and friendship (from 9 to 5), for the same at the CFC Farm and Home Center for its customer appreciation day (from 7:30 to 4; add bluegrass, gardening help and sale prices to the mix) and more. Today would be a good day to visit the calendar.

RCHS commencement

Rappahannock County High School’s class of  2012 graduated on June 9, at the school’s 62nd annual Commencement Ceremony. Story and photos, and other local-scholar-related news, will be posted on this site Friday.

It’s Castleton Festival time

From last year's Castleton Festival.
| Rappahannock News
From last year's Castleton Festival.

While the Maazels’ routinely extraordinary Castleton Festival summer music and opera celebration is poised to begin with splash – “An Italian Extravaganza” concert and gala this Friday (June 22), featuring mezzo soprano Denyce Graves performing selections from Puccini, Verdi, Rossini and Respighi – some of the fourth annual festival’s refinements and streamlined offerings are worth noting.

On the dining front, Claire’s Restaurant of Warrenton is offering fine dining in the Great Room and terraces of the Theatre House, Lorin and Dietlinde Maazel’s intimate and sublimely located performance venue. A complete list of entrees, which are $67 per person and can be reserved in advance online or by phone, can be found at – and they come with complemenary parking at both the Theatre House and the Festival Theatre (the now 650-seat opera house formerly called the Festival Tent). The increased seating in the Festival Theatre has also made it possible for the festival to offer tiered pricing; most shows have tickets available starting at $20.

For those who like to come early and have a bite in the lobby adjacent to the big theater, chef Claire Lamborne is also providing a la carte choices there for $8, including sandwiches and salads to be eaten in the vast expanse of tables inside, or among the new picnic-table spots just outside, where the serene mountain views are complementary. The a la carte offerings are available two hours before performances.

And, speaking of performances, you’ll note that most of the Castleton Festival’s big shows are now clustered on weekends for the next four weeks, mostly Friday-Sunday, and all of them take place in the big hall. The Theatre House is largely reserved for performances and teaching sessions for the Castleton Artists Training Seminar (CATS).

Finally, the festival repeats its free Family Day on Tuesday, July 3 – with tours and an open house, a 7 p.m. concert featuring homegrown bluegrass legends Seldom Scene – and a fireworks display at dusk. For more information, visit or call 540-937-3454.

RAAC auditions

RAAC Community Theater is holding auditions 6 to 8 Friday (June 22) and 2 to 5 Sunday (June 24) at the RAAC Community Theater on Gay Street in Washington for “The Ides of August with Ives,”  a series of short plays by David Ives to be performed Aug. 17-18. In search of: seven males, three females, and three of either gender, of varying ages. Young people are particularly encouraged to try out.  The play will be directed by the high school’s Russell Paulette. Further information: 540-987-9620.

Butterfly count in Rappahannock  

Among the butterflies to be counted in this area: the spicebush swallowtail.
Patricia Temples
Among the butterflies to be counted in this area: the spicebush swallowtail.

Butterflies are plentiful this year because of the mild winter and early spring in our area. On July 28, the Old Rag Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalists will be participating in an official butterfly count for the North America Butterfly Association (NABA). The public is invited to participate and no previous knowledge or skill is required. Besides helping provide important information about the health of our butterfly populations, counters can socialize with other nature lovers and increase their knowledge of these special creatures.

Julie Connelly, a master naturalist from Madison County, snaps a photo during last year’s butterfly count at Bruce and Susan Jones nature preserve near Washington.
Patricia Temples
Julie Connelly, a master naturalist from Madison County, snaps a photo during last year’s butterfly count at Bruce and Susan Jones nature preserve near Washington.

Butterfly enthusiasts will gather at the Town Hall in Washington and from there will proceed to properties in Rappahannock County. There are two sessions (8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.), and participants can come to either one or stay all day. Armed with cameras, clipboards and binoculars, teams of six to eight people will attempt to find, identify and count as many different butterflies as possible.

If you are interested in getting involved in the count, please contact Don Hearl at 540-825-6660 (or 540-672-5712 after 5:30 p.m., or by email at The registration deadline is July 15; space is limited.

Children are welcome but must be accompanied by a parent. A $5 per person fee will be charged to cover the cost of identification brochures and other supplies. Please wear sturdy shoes, and bring lunch, drinks, bug spray and other personal necessities. Moderate walking of large tracts will be required and it could be a hot day, so come prepared!

Troop 36’s Court of Honor

From left: Eagle Scouts Robbie Hamill-Huff, Gavin Forrest, Connor Forrest, Joey Heinzelman, Carl Liles and Tristan Palme.
Larry Liles
From left: Eagle Scouts Robbie Hamill-Huff, Gavin Forrest, Connor Forrest, Joey Heinzelman, Carl Liles and Tristan Palme.

Boy Scout Troop 36 held its summer Court of Honor last Saturday (June, 16) at Reynolds Memorial Baptist Church in Sperryville. It also incorporated an Eagle Scout-rank Court of Honor for six recipients. After enjoying a terrific potluck dinner provided by troop families, awards were presented, including merit badges, service pins, rank achievement badges and special awards.

The program then moved on to the main focus of the evening. Three current scouts and three former scouts, who had aged out, were called forward and took the Eagle Scout Oath, administered by Capt. J. Darrow Kirkpatrick. Connor Forrest and Gavin Forrest from Sperryville, Robbie Hamill-Huff from Flint Hill, Joey Heinzelman from Jeffersonton, Carl Liles from Hume and Tristan Palme from Washington, were then joined by their parents, and their mothers pinned on their Eagle Scout medals, denoting the highest rank in Boy Scouting, first awarded in the U.S. 100 years ago.

Connor Forrest and Carl Liles also received a Bronze Palm for their Eagle medal for earning additional merit badges and service. All six recipients were former Cub Scouts who moved on to Boy Scouts and climbed the Eagle Trail. So many Eagles together was certainly an inspiration for the younger scouts in attendance.

Over the last four years, Troop 36 has recognized 16 new Eagle Scouts, a significantly higher proportion than most scout troops. The boy-led troop plans a fun-filled outing of their choice for every month, including whitewater rafting in June, and summer week camp in early August.

Meetings are 7 p.m. Monday nights at the Washington fire hall. Boys ages 11 to 18 who are interested in joining the troop can attend a meeting or contact Scoutmaster Roger Pierson at 540-222-9465.

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