The Rapp for Aug. 21

Fourth Friday cancelled

For August, the Fourth (Estate) Friday coffee-and-story-ideas session will be taking a vacation. We’ll be back to welcome your thoughts, criticisms and suggestions next month, at 9 a.m. sharp Friday, Sept. 26, at a cafe near you. (Look for precise, if not concise, details in this very spot, in our Sept. 25 edition.)

A taste of tomatoes at Tula’s . . .

At Tula’s off Main next Thursday (Aug. 28), chef Tom Nash presents his annual five-course heirloom tomato dinner, which started its annual August run at Tula’s Sperryville sister, the Thornton River Grille (and for which Nash says he’s indebted to Sperryville grower Johnny Jenkins). This year, each course prepared by Nash will be paired with local wines from Glen Manor Vineyards (and presented by owners Jeff and Kelly White). For reservations ($100 per person) at the 6:30 p.m. dinner, call 540-675-2223 or visit

. . . and that other, 17th annual Taste

Save the date! The 17th annual Taste of Rappahannock is Saturday, Sept. 13. As always, proceeds from the gala fundraising event (sponsored by Headwater and featuring fine local food and drink, followed by a lively auction) support programs that benefit the children of Rappahannock County. This year’s Taste will again be held at the Barn at Mount Vernon Farm in Sperryville.

Headwaters’ mission is to foster educational excellence in Rappahannock County by cultivating the cooperative spirit and resources of the whole community to benefit all students. Headwaters supports the following programs for Rappahannock County Public Schools: Next Step-Career and College Access Program, Starfish Mentoring and READ, the After-School Enrichment Program, Summer School Enrichment and READ, and Teacher Mini-Grants.

Tickets for this year’s Taste are almost sold out. For more information about Headwaters, visit, call 540-987-3322 or contact executive director Jane Bowling-Wilson at

Celebrate wilderness in Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park hosts a nine-day celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act from Saturday, Aug. 30, through Sunday, Sept. 7, with nine days of events, including ranger-led talks, hikes, Junior Ranger programs and demonstrations throughout the park. All programs during the feature a special emphasis on wilderness and the wilderness resources found in the park.

The park Trail Crew hosts primitive tool displays and demonstrations at Byrd Visitor Center on Saturday, Aug. 30, and at Dickey Ridge Visitor Center the following Saturday (Sept. 6). Visitors can learn how trails in wilderness areas are maintained without power tools and can try their hand at using them to gain insight on the important role that trail maintenance plays in protecting Shenandoah’s Wilderness areas.

For a more hands-on appreciation of Wilderness areas, visitors can participate in a cleanup of Old Rag Mountain trails on Saturday, Aug. 30. (To participate, contact volunteer coordinator Leslie Velarde at 540-999-3500, ext. 3181.)

All programs and demonstrations are free with a paid park entrance fee. There’s a complete list on the SNP website.

The 1964 Wilderness Act formally designated wilderness areas through federal law. This legislation provides the highest level of protection for some of our nation’s most iconic, wild landscapes. Initially more than 9 million acres of public land was set aside as congressionally designated wilderness. Today, more than 109 million acres of wilderness are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Shenandoah National Park has nearly 80,000 acres of designated wilderness, among the largest Wilderness areas in the eastern U.S.

Shakespearean summer

Elise Wheelock of Sperryville as Caliban in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” earlier this summer in Staunton.
Elise Wheelock of Sperryville as Caliban in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” earlier this summer in Staunton. Lindsey Walters/Miscellaneous Media Photography

Ella Schultz of Amissville and Elise Wheelock of Sperryville performed at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse this summer as part of the American Shakespeare Center Theatre Camp. In “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare, one of three plays produced during an all-day performance festival at the Blackfriars Playhouse July 13, Ella played the role of Gonzalo, Elise the part of Caliban. Both Rappahannock students are homeschooled.

Since 1997, the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton has been inspiring and teaching the next generation of performers. The American Shakespeare Center Theatre Camp is a program for young aspiring actors who want professional-quality training in a college preparatory environment. The camp encourages participants of ages 13 to 18 to discover more about Shakespeare by studying the original staging practices of his time: universal lighting, audience contact, live music, taking on multiple roles and cross-gender casting. In each three-week session, campers also participate in master classes, including stage combat, dance, music and theatre history.

Throughout the sessions, campers audition for and rehearse an hour-long version of a play by Shakespeare or one of his contemporaries. Plays produced by the ASC Theatre Camp this summer included “Tempest,” “Measure for Measure,” “All’s Well That Ends Well” and “Henry VI, Part 3.”

Ella Schultz of Amissville in “The Tempest” at American Shakespeare Center’s summer-camp performances at Staunton’s Blackfriars Playhouse.
Ella Schultz of Amissville in “The Tempest” at American Shakespeare Center’s summer-camp performances at Staunton’s Blackfriars Playhouse. Lindsey Walters/Miscellaneous Media Photography

Kimberly Newton, director of college prep programs for the ASC, knows the impact that these three weeks make on campers’ lives: “The ASC Theatre Camp is a key part of the mission of the American Shakespeare Center. Our campers discover and explore their passions for creating theatre using Shakespeare’s staging conditions, and they can receive college credit and make lifelong friendships that they will cherish for years to come.”

For more information about the camp and how to apply, visit or call 540-885-5588 (ext. 29). The plays for next June and July include “Henry V,” “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and “The Two Gentlemen of Verona.”

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