The Rapp for June 19

The Fourth of July, firing up soon

The eighth annual Rappahannock County 4th of July Celebration will be here before you know it — two weeks from tomorrow, believe it or not. The day, which ends at dusk with some historically fabulous fireworks, starts at 1 p.m. when the gates open at Thornton Hill Race Course (4137 Sperryville Pike/U.S. 522, three miles south of Sperryville proper) for the annual family-friendly fundraiser for the Sperryville Volunteer Fire Company.

There’s music by Dontez Inferno and Gold Top County Ramblers (back from their debut at Colorado’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival this week) and food vendors, helicopter and antique tractor displays, kids games and rides, Ben “Cooter” Jones and the General Lee from 4 to 6 p.m., and a $10,000 cash raffle drawing at 9 p.m.

General admission is $25 per vehicle (tailgaters, $50). For more information, visit

The night before (Thursday, July 3), Castleton Festival holds its annual bluegrass and fireworks event — the concert featuring Amy Ferebee Trio, opening for the Seldom Scene at 7 p.m. inside the Festival Theatre, the fireworks firing up afterwards above the meadow next door. Tickets are $25; call 540-937-3454 or visit (At 2 the next afternoon — July 4 — Castleton offers a special all-American concert conducted by composer and former U.S. Marine Band conductor — and longtime Rappahannocker — Col. John R. Bourgeois. Tickets are $25; ages 11 and younger free.)

Equine art at RDA

The work of a dozen members of the Virginia Equine Artists Association goes up this Saturday (June 21) at River District Arts in Sperryville.

Detail of a work by D. Haskell Chhuy, part of RDA’s equine art exhibit.
Detail of a work by D. Haskell Chhuy, part of RDA’s equine art exhibit.

The exhibit, on view at RDA through Aug. 10, includes paintings, photography and sculpture by Wilma Bradner, D. Haskell Chhuy, Jill Chilson, BJ Clark, Cheryl Ernest, David Everette, Willa Frayser Renae Major, Eleszabeth McNeel, Ginny Reardon, Robyn Ryan and Debby Thomas, all VEAA members.

“We are pleased to host the VEAA show,” said Jim Allmon, River District Arts art and marketing director, noting that horses are a major part of the lifestyle in the region and throughout Virginia. “We are fortunate to have a group of artists and photographers that are devoted to artistically expressing the essence of that lifestyle.”

RDA is at 3 River Lane in Sperryville and is open 11 to 8 Thursday-Sunday (opening at 10 Saturdays).

CCLC’s solstice party in Woodville

This Saturday (June 21) is also the first-ever Summer Solstice Garden Party to be hosted by Washington’s Child Care & Learning Center at Little Eldon Farm in Woodville, nowadays the home of Scott and Mary Sherman Willis, once the home of the matriarch of the family behind the still-vast Eldon Farm that surrounds it — and a lovely place for a summer garden party.

Little Eldon Farm is the site of CCLC’s Summer Solstice Garden Party fundraiser this Saturday.Courtesy photo
Little Eldon Farm is the site of CCLC’s Summer Solstice Garden Party fundraiser this Saturday.

CCLC friends, patrons and the public are invited to welcome the advent of summer at the gardens of the historic home from 5:30 till sunset Saturday for a $40 per-person donation.

“We hope folks will come join in the garden festivities and enjoy food, drink, conversation, frolic — with lawn games including croquet, bocce, etc. — in a perfect setting,” said CCLC executive director Rose Ann Smythe. The Willises’ home, she said, “features beautiful gardens looking across expansive fields with breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains beyond.”

Rappahannock County’s Child Care & Learning Center (, a private, nonprofit organization, was one of the first in Virginia to provide infant daycare and was also one of the first (in 1988) and the only one to be both licensed and National Association for the Education of Young Children accredited in Virginia. For more information (or to RSVP for the garden party), call 540-675-3237 or email

Artifacts-on-Main opening party

The grand opening celebration of Artifacts-on-Main, the novel outdoor sculpture garden that’s been sprouting over the last month in the Rappahannock News’ backyard — just across Main Street from the mother ship, R.H. Ballard Shop & Gallery — is 3 to 6 p.m. this Saturday (June 21). There’s wine from Little Washington Winery and light fare served in the new space, which is filled with work by local sculptors Nol Putnam and Hans Gerhard, vintage architectural elements salvaged from historic buildings, unique recycled and repurposed gates and trellises, iron garden decor, planters and modern and classical furniture, all hand-picked from sources throughout the U.S. and Europe by Robert and Joanie Ballard. For more, call 540-675-1411 or visit

RLEP’s House & Garden Tour

Millwood, the restored 1836 home in Woodville, is the focus of RLEP’s house and garden tour Sunday.Courtesy photo
Millwood, the restored 1836 home in Woodville, is the focus of RLEP’s house and garden tour Sunday.

Enjoy a late-afternoon house and garden tour from 5:30 to 7:30 this Sunday (June 22) at Millwood, a restored 1836 home in Woodville (4733 Sperryville Pike) that features early American-style furnishings by Peter Kramer, who’ll be on hand to answer questions, and murals by Linda Heimstra, who’ll also be there. The event is sponsored by the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection (RLEP), and is free to RLEP members. (Membership is $25 for a family — hint, hint.)

To RSVP or for more information: or 540-675-RLEP (7537).

Wounded warriors, meet Ben Shaw

Ben Shaw of the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program is the guest this month at the Rappahannock Aging Together’s monthly team meeting at 2:30 p.m. next Thursday (June 26) at the Rappahannock County Library.

The Virginia Wounded Warrior Program, part of Virginia’s Department of Veterans Services, is a free resource for all National Guard, reservists, veterans and their families in the state, regardless of era served, nature of discharge or time on active duty. The program is staffed primarily by veterans, mostly combat vets. Veteran Peer Specialists serve as connecting points to area veteran service organizations and community resources. They work to better connect eligible veterans with the VA and other agencies, and seek — where relevant — to connect veterans with counseling and clinical services.

Shaw, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, served three combat tours in Iraq as an infantryman and foreign weapons instructor. After his active duty tours, Shaw worked as a civilian combat journalist embedded with U.S. troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Area veterans and citizens are encouraged to come by Thursday to hear more about the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program.

The Rappahannock Aging Together team meets at 2:30 p.m. every fourth Thursday at the library. For more information about Aging Together’s local activities, contact county resource specialist Dianna Banks at 540-829-6405 or

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