You have till Monday (Nov. 18) to order yourself some great pies for the holidays, and help raise funds for culinary arts at Rappahannock County High School. This year’s menu includes pumpkin cheesecake ($25), pecan ($15), pumpkin and apple ($12 each) pies, all of which must be picked up on Tuesday (Nov. 26), just before Thanksgiving. “They’re awesome, and they’re made by students,” was the crisp summary delivered by sophomore Parker Critzer, who picked up the phone at culinary arts instructor and chef Kurt Streu’s office the other day. That’s the office to call or email (540-227-0745 ext. 3450, or firstname.lastname@example.org) to place your order.
You’re invited down the rabbit hole with Alice and her friends (and a few enemies) with RAAC Community Theatre’s Christmas-season production of “Alice in Wonderland.” Starring Wakefield Country Day School student (and seasoned RAAC performer) Carolina Leonard as Alice, the cast of 60 spans four generations — from toddlers to folks in their 80s.
The play is co-directed by Howard Coon and Petrina Huston. Coon has appeared in numerous RAAC productions as both actor and director of several previous Christmas productions. Huston recently appeared in RAAC’s production of “Love, Loss and What I Wore.”
With a large cast and the small RAAC Theatre and stage, putting this show on has been challenging and has proven, as usual, to be a true community affair. The costume team headed by Beth Plentovich has clothed everyone, and many parents and adult actors have designed or made their own. Special effects allow you to see Alice falling down the rabbit hole and growing bigger and smaller as she samples mushrooms, and help the Cheshire Cat appear and disappear.
The play is based on stories the English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson told to his young daughters and their friends, reputedly while on an afternoon rowboat excursion. Dodgson enlarged on the stories, engaged artist John Tenniel to help illustrate it and published it in 1865 as “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll.
Although the book received unfavorable reviews, the first few printings quickly sold out and it became an all-time bestseller in England and the U.S., even spawning a sequel: “Through the Looking Glass.” Since its initial publication, Alice’s adventures have never been out of print and have been translated into more than 100 languages.
Performances are 8 p.m. back-to-back Fridays (Dec. 6 and Dec. 13), with 3 p.m. matinees offered on Saturdays (Dec. 7 and Dec. 14) and Sunday (Dec. 15) at the RAAC Community Theatre (310 Gay Street, Washington). Tickets are $15 for adults ($5 for ages 12 and younger). For reservations, visit raac.org and click on “Community Theatre,” or call 1-800-695-6075.
Benefiting the Rappahannock Food Pantry — and your inner singer — is an old-fashioned singalong at Trinity Episcopal Church (379 Gay St.) at 7 p.m. the Friday before Thanksgiving (Nov. 22).
Hal Hunter returns to the piano in the parish hall, with some new rousing songs (and all of the old favorites) planned. The singalong is free, but donations to the Food Pantry will be gladly accepted. Wine and cheese are on hand, and everyone is invited — your children, friends and yourselves.
At 7 p.m. the Friday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 29), the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community and Kid Pan Alley reprise their Thanksgiving Community Sing, led by former Sweet Honey in the Rock vocalist Ysaye Barnwell, at the RAAC Community Theatre on Gay Street in Washington.
The event benefits Kid Pan Alley songwriting programs in schools; tickets are $20 ($10 ages 16 and younger) for the Community Sing, which Barnwell created and conducts monthly in Washington, D.C. Barnwell joined the internationally acclaimed singing group Sweet Honey in the Rock in 1979, touring internationally for more than 30 years. Over the past two decades, Barnwell has earned a significant reputation as a commissioned composer and arranger, author, master teacher and choral clinician in African-American cultural performance.
A fundraiser for the developing Rappahannock Artisan Trail, Coterie is sponsoring its first house concert on Sunday, Nov. 24, at the artisan shop in the Sperryville Schoolhouse complex.
The performance features Rappahannock’s own Allison Hampton and Linn Barnes — Celtic harp, lute and guitar instrumentalists who’ve been performing together for going on 36 years now. The concert’s at 3:30; call Coterie at 540-987-8249 for more details about the concert as well as their holiday market Nov. 29-Dec. 1, featuring vendors and artisans offering demos, tastings and more.
The emerald ash borer is a small, nonnative beetle first noticed in the United States in 2002, which has been found now in Maryland and Virginia, where ash trees have been destroyed by the insect and billions more are at risk. Find out more about the ash borer’s habits, and current research and eradication methods, at a one-hour talk by Rolf Gubler, biologist and forest pest manager at Shenandoah National Park, and habitat management specialist Bryan Lilly, 7:30 p.m. next Thursday (Nov. 21) at Rappahannock County Library. The free program is sponsored by the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection (RLEP); for more details, call 540-675-7537 or email email@example.com.
After the harvest in ancient India, the Festival of Lights, or Diwali, marked the end of the agrarian year. As farmers in Virginia, Narmada Winery owners Pandit and Sudha Patil keep the tradition alive every fall now in Amissville.
Through the centuries, lamps were left burning all night to get one’s house in order to welcome beneficent gods and goddesses. Firecrackers exploded to frighten away evil spirits. In modern times, the lights of Diwali have come to symbolize our own “inner lights,” the idea we can all radiate peace and joy and have a positive impact on the events swirling around us.
This Saturday at Narmada, there’ll be a bonfire at 5 p.m., fireworks at 5:30 and (all day) samples of the winery’s new Dream vintage (or gold-medal-winning Midnight and Gulabi), plus a special menu of Indian treats. Call 540-937-8215 or visit narmadawinery.com for more information.
Thanksgiving being one of the best times to find Rappahannock County’s many basketball-playing alumni back in town (or already here, but in need of a workout after that big dinner Thursday), the Rappahannock County High School PTO puts on its second annual Alumni Basketball Tourney Friday (Nov. 29) and Saturday (Nov. 30) at 6 p.m. both nights in the high school gym.
As at last year’s wildly popular event, there are three games each night, two men’s and one women’s, plus full concessions; everything benefits the PTO. Bull Run District referees will be there, courtesy of Appleton Campbell, and 45 players have signed up and been drafted into six teams by the six captains: Jamie Walters (1989), Jason Baldin (1998), Ray Atkins (1995), Lee Freeman (1997), Janet Robey (1995) and Brittani Dodson (2011).
Admission is $5 ($2 ages 6 to 12, younger kids free). Contact PTO president Crystal Smith at PTO@rappahannockschools.us or 540-987-9660 for tickets or details.