The Rapp for Dec. 5

Big Christmas in Little Washington

With any luck, the particularly huge effort that’s gone into organizing this year’s Christmas in Little Washington parade and festivities will overcome any pesky cold fronts hanging about Virginia’s Piedmont this Sunday (Dec. 8).

A typical scene — antique trucks, dressed-up dogs and your basic decorated dromedary — from the 2011 Christmas parade in Washington.
A typical scene — antique trucks, dressed-up dogs and your basic decorated dromedary — from the 2011 Christmas parade in Washington. | Rappahannock News

Your own holiday hanging about in the town can commence at 10, rain or shine, when Artisan Markets open with 30-plus vendors at the RAAC Theatre, the town hall and the Packing Shed along Gay Street (the shops are open till 4). There are also strolling musicians, food vendors, a petting zoo and pony rides.

The parade itself starts at 1, this year led by honorary grand marshals Lillian Aylor and Doug Baumgardner, both of whom are 2013’s Rappahannock News Citizens of the Year. Strolling and/or rolling happily behind them will be more than 30 floats and groups this year, including the crowd-pleasing, precision-marching Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, the hounds and riders of the Rappahannock Hunt, the 1000 Faces mask troupe, the award-winning Rappahannock County High School Band, miniature ponies, dressed-up dogs, llamas and way more.

At 2 p.m., Santa’s Workshop — a visit with Santa and the Mrs., with gifts for every child — starts at the Stonyman Gourmet Farmer gardens, while the Castleton Festival musicians and singers perform at the Theatre at Washington a few doors down. At 3 p.m., the Theatre hosts a performance by Dave the Magician — a big hit, with or without his flying-chainsaw juggling act, everywhere from last year’s Benevolent Fund Celebrity Waiters Dinner to David Letterman.

Be sure to bring nonperishable food items and toys to donate at the day’s festivities, which are sponsored for the first time by the Rappahannock Food Pantry (which will have donation stations around town, as will Toys For Tots).

And wear a coat, sounds like, if not mittens and boots. Complementary smiles provided on site. For more details, contact Chris Doxzen at or 540-987-3140, or search Facebook for “Christmas in Little Washington.”

But first, Brother Sun

Brother Sun, a truly excellent vocal folk trio that spends a lot of time on the road and not enough in the studio, returns to Rappahannock for a third time at 7 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 6) at the Theatre at Washington, in a concert sponsored by the Universal Unitarians of the Blue Ridge (UUBRidge) — and opened by Rappahannock’s own A Thousand Trees. Tickets are $25 ($12 ages 17 and younger). For more information or tickets, call Ellen Adams at 540-937-4670 or visit

And second, Bud’s book at Ballard’s

Stop by R.H. Ballard’s on Saturday (Dec. 7) to get your very own copy of “Mother Fracker” signed by the author, Larry “Bud” Meyer. Meyer will be signing first-edition copies of the book, which is set in the hills and hollows of Rappahannock County (and in which the Washington Christmas parade itself plays a role), from 2 to 5 p.m. While you’re there, look around for some holiday gift ideas — copies of “Mother Fracker” are 10 percent off (and 10 percent of the proceeds go to local nonprofits). Tula’s off Main will provide finger foods, sparkling water and coffee. For more information, call 540-675-1411.

Jazz guitar coming to Theatre

On Saturday, Dec. 14 at 8 p.m., the Theatre at Washington hosts the return of popular jazz guitarists Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo. Vignola, one of the truly great jazz guitarists of our time, is well known to Theatre audiences; the youthful and gifted Raniolo has joined him here on several occasions over the last few years.

Frank Vignola (right) and Vinny Raniolo: at the Theatre Dec. 14.
Frank Vignola (right) and Vinny Raniolo: at the Theatre Dec. 14. Courtesy photo

Vignola and Raniolo have now played more than 1,000 shows together since 2008, including at the Sydney Opera House, Lincoln Center, the Quebec Music Festival and Italy’s Teatro Olimpico. Vignola’s dazzling technique is complemented by his subtle sense of humor, which he deploys to glide from the classical Beethoven and Bach to the Beatles and Sting; he’s worked for many of the world’s top musicians, including Ringo Starr, Madonna, Donald Fagen, Wynton Marsalis, Tommy Emmanuel, the Boston Pops and guitar legend Les Paul, who named Vignola to his “Five Most Admired Guitar List” in the Wall Street Journal.

Tickets are $25 ($10 ages 18 and younger). Reservations recommended; make them at 540-675-1253 or

Winning at dressage

On Nov. 2, Bob Clements of Flint Hill was awarded the first-place ribbon for winning the highest combined scores in First Level Dressage at Homestead Farm Schooling Shows. Then Bob and his partner, Wrachmaninov Q, tied with Carol Thomas for first place at the VADA/Nova Schooling Show Championship at Morven Park in Leesburg on Nov. 9. Bob and “Wrocky” were awarded the Reserve Championship.

Making your own cards, ornaments

Holiday-related study suggestions at The Studio School in Flint Hill: On Friday, Dec. 13, Washington artist Donna LaPre leads a class on collage and card-making, bringing along her eclectic supply of collage scraps and her flair for the small wonders of life (and thus, art). There’s a bookmaking workshop the next morning (Dec. 14) with Kerrie Mullany, where you can learn to stitch and glue a text block and create a one-of-a-kind cover, perfect for a new year’s journal or sketchbook; and the school’s second annual Christmas ornament workshop is Dec. 20 (where, along with the warmth of the wood stove, music and holiday treats, they’ll be playing with folded paper, collage, gilding and glitter to create at least two tree ornaments for each participant to take home). The classes work best if you’re older than 12 or so. Call 540-878-3687 or visit

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