The Fourth Estate — a term first applied to the press by 18th-century Irish statesman Edmund Burke, and one which your local newspaper has adopted because it makes us feel more secure than global media-consumption trends would otherwise allow — is meeting tomorrow (Friday, May 23) for our monthly morning coffee-and-talk session from 9 to 10 a.m.
The meeting is at Tula’s off Main (which is sufficiently off Main that it is actually at the corner of Gay and Jett streets) in Washington. We’ll buy your coffee.
For the rest — including discussion topics, and pastries — you’re on your own. Call us at 540-675-3338 or email email@example.com if you’d like more information.
Former U.S. senator from Colorado Timothy Wirth is the guest of honor at the Rappahannock County Democrats’ spring gathering this Sunday (May 25) at Gadino Cellars (92 Schoolhouse Rd.).
The evening, which includes live music and Mediterranean fare, starts at 6.
Tickets for the fundraiser ($30) include two glasses of wine. Call Jed Duvall at 540-937-3780 or Ray Boc at 540-987-9706 for more information.
The Castleton Festival, Rappahannock County’s biggest summer event, is gearing up for its sixth summer season starting June 28. They’re expecting 250 young professionals to work and learn this summer and are actively seeking volunteers to work at the festival in various capacities, from hosting home stays and driving to ushering performances. The Castleton Festival is a nonprofit festival founded by Maestro Lorin Maazel and Dietlinde Turban Maazel and held at two performance venues at their Virginia home, Castleton Farms. Volunteers can contact Sarah Heisler at 540-937-3454 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department’s getting ready for its eighth annual Rappahannock County 4th of July celebration. Once again amid the rolling hills of the Thornton Hill Hounds race course on U.S. 522 south of Sperryville, the Independence Day fireworks and family-fun festival is on a Friday this year, and organizers are expecting more than the usual crowd (which has exceeded 4,000 some years).
To help do it right, the fire department’s committee, headed by Gary Settle, is hoping businesses will continue to help support the event. “The event is work intensive,” he says, “and supported by every member of the Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department. Because of increasing costs associated with putting on an event of this magnitude, continued underwriter support is needed each year in order to sustain the event.”
Settle said the fire department appreciates the support of the event’s current underwriters — Jamie, Lilla and Bill Fletcher; Hampton Foundation; B&B Signal Company; Greve Foundation; Greg Williams Tree Service and Landscaping; realtors Cheri and Martin Woodard; and Union First Market Bank. “I look forward to seeing everyone again this year!” Settle says. “Come out and support your community and enjoy the best fireworks display in the area.”
General admission is $25 per vehicle at the gates — which open at 1 p.m. at 4137 Sperryville Pike — and includes music by Dontez Inferno and Gold Top County Ramblers, and fireworks at dusk. There’s a $10,000 cash raffle drawing at 9 p.m. (only 250 tickets will be sold at $100 each), plus food, antique cars and tractors, local non-profit booths, children’s games, face painting, kiddie rides, a dunk tank, a medi-vac helicopter display and more.
Rain date is Saturday, July 5.
Tailgating spots are $50; corporate sponsorships are $450 for a prime spot on infield and special recognition. (Email email@example.com — before June 15, when the fee goes up to $550 — for more information on corporate sponsorships and underwriting.)
For general information, call 540-987-8124 or visit sperryvillefire.com.
Virginia artist Mark Poss exhibits his new landscape paintings at R.H. Ballard Gallery this month and next in a one-person show in the Washington gallery, which has showed Poss’ individual works over the last two years.
A reception for the artist from 4 to 7 this Saturday (May 24) marks the opening of the exhibit, which runs through June 15. The public’s welcome at the reception, where there will be wine from Gadino Cellars and light fare available.
Poss’ landscapes evoke a romantic and atmospheric rendering of the region and beyond. Through his vision, a nostalgic yet contemporary mood is evoked. Also included in the show are three abstract pieces from his Potomac series, consisting of aerial views of the Potomac region in three color versions.
“The reason I paint is pretty simple,” Poss says. “I love the process of aesthetic contemplation. I find the process continually enhances the appreciation of life. Looking at a painting frees the mind from conventional concerns and making a painting is form of aesthetic calisthenics. It keeps the aesthetic skills in tune and grows the ability to appreciate and enjoy.”
His influences span the natural to the manmade world, while traditional influences include 17th-century Dutch, and 19th-century painters both French (Corot in particular) and American (think George Inness). Poss has exhibited throughout the East Coast and is included in numerous private and corporate collections. The exhibition includes 14 oil paintings up to 36-by-48 inches. For more, call 540-675-1411 or visit rhballard.com. The gallery is open 10 to 6 daily.
Celebrated acoustic guitarist Laurence Juber returns to the Theatre at Washington for a solo concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 31. Juber’s annual concerts are among the Theatre’s most heavily subscribed — and especially draw the area’s many guitarists, both amateur and professional.
A two-time Grammy winner, Juber received his first Grammy as a young man — when he was lead guitarist for Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles band, Wings. As U.K. magazine Acoustic wrote last year: “When a guitarist has played with Paul McCartney for two years, naturally, it’s the aspect of his career that tends to stand out. It shouldn’t though, because in terms of his overall career output, Laurence Juber’s time with McCartney . . . represents a fraction of what he has done, and continues to do.”
Several years ago, Juber moved to California, where he composes, arranges and performs extensively — when he is not on the road playing to audiences stretching from Little Washington to London, England. He has recorded about two dozen solo albums; his arrangement of “The Pink Panther” earned him a second Grammy. “The melodies and textures and harmonies he coaxes out of an acoustic guitar are absolutely spellbinding,” Guitar Player magazine said of Juber.
Tickets are $25 ($10 students 17 and younger). For reservations or information, call 540-675-1253 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the base of Bessie Bell Mountain in Castleton sits six wooded and flowering acres known as Hill House Farm & Nursery. Part nursery, part biodiversity laboratory, Hill House is where Janet Davis applies nearly three decades of Blue Ridge living and learning, cultivating more than 500 plants native to the mid-Atlantic, along with husband Rob and daughter Olivia.
When Janet isn’t out lecturing and advocating for the effective use of native plants, you can find her tending to the neat rows of perennials, grasses and sedges, ferns, flowering trees and shrubs.
You won’t normally find a sign out on Scrabble Road at Hill House except for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday (May 24) when Janet and Rob share their enchanted gardens and greenhouse with the public in their 2014 spring open house.
This year, they’ll be joined by friends Reid Folsum and Anita Ramos of Beech Tree Farms in the day of sharing a wide selection of Virginia natives.
Hill House is the outgrowth of Janet’s well-established landscape design/install/care business, and focuses on incorporating native plants into garden settings and managed tracts while using sustainable garden techniques. The open house is a good starting place for gardeners of all thumbs or anyone interested in landscape restoration or habitat creation.
The nursery started in earnest with a 100-foot greenhouse acquired six years ago from Richard and Sandra Antony’s Long Mountain Nursery.
“We . . . use one acre for the nursery, and all the other land for seed sources,” said Janet as she walked the property, pointing out her own charming garden, brimming with riotous color, redolent of spring. “Our goal is to help you create harmonious gardens and diversity-rich landscapes. By doing that, you help preserve and restore our natural ecosystems.”
Hill House Farm & Nursery is at 631 Scrabble Rd., Castleton. Call 540-937-1798 or visit hillhousenativeplants.com for more information.
— Larry “Bud” Meyer
Sheila Lamb, an English teacher at Rappahannock County High School and resident of Chester Gap, will be a writer in residence this July at the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities in Southern Pines, N.C.
Weymouth offers short-term residencies for writers to work on their craft at the James Boyd House — a storied place that has also welcomed such guests as F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Faulkner.
Lamb, who has several published short stories, will be working on a historical novel-in-progress. Tentatively titled “The Moonshine Poet,” the story deals with divorce, murder and moonshine in the early 1900s in Floyd County, Va. — and is loosely based on the experiences of Lamb’s great- great-grandmother.