The Rapp column for Dec. 4

A scene from the 2011 Christmas in Little Washington parade.
A scene from the 2011 Christmas in Little Washington parade. Courtesy photo

This Sunday (Dec. 7) is the long-awaited Christmas in Little Washington parade and festival — an event in the works, technically speaking, for more than two years (last year’s event having been iced out), and one that’s always been a memorable kickoff to the season for Christmas celebrants of all ages.

This year’s parade is led by the Rappahannock News 2014 Citizen of the Year Jennings W. Hobson III as grand marshal, accompanied by 2013 Citizens of the Year Doug Baumgardner and Lillian Aylor, who didn’t get their chance to march last year. It starts at 1 on an expanded route through town and features the renowned Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, plus Santa and other, more-local dignitaries; floats; animals; and performers, including the award-winning Rappahannock County High School Marching Panthers.

The organizers also want you to know that there’s lots happening in town from 10 a.m. until the closing bonfire, including:

• 10 to 4: Artisan markets at the RAAC Community Theatre, Town Hall and the Packing Shed

• 11 to 3:30: Pony rides

• 1 to 2: Parade (including a dove release during the parade)

• 1:30 to 3: Living manger scene

• 2 to 4.: Santa Claus (with a gift for every child)

• 2:30: Parade awards at the Theatre at Washington

• 2:45: Steve Kish magic show at the Theatre at Washington

• 3:30: Castleton Festival singers, who’ll lead everyone out to the . . .

• 4 p.m. bonfire (with hot chocolate).

A benefit for the Rappahannock Food Pantry, the event includes pantry donation stations around town, plus free child care (ages 3 to 9) and kids’ activities at Trinity Episcopal Church. Sponsors include Artifacts on Main, The Inn at Little Washington, Rappahannock Real Estate Resources, the Rappahannock News and the White Moose Inn.

Check the event’s Facebook page for up-to-the-minute, weather-related updates (search for “Christmas in Little Washington”) — or call 540-675-3128 for a recorded update on Sunday morning.

‘Hidden Music’ at Castleton

Shahin Shahida performs Saturday at Castleton.
Shahin Shahida performs Saturday at Castleton. Courtesy photo

The Castleton Festival’s “Hidden Music: The Music of Shahin Shahida” concert at 7 p.m. this Saturday (Dec. 6) features the Rappahannock-based composer and guitarist and his ensemble performing Persian-inspired music, interspersed with Castleton’s own Dietlinde Turban Maazel reading selections from the mystical poetry of Rumi.

Tickets for the performance at Castleton’s Theatre House (663 Castleton View Rd.) are $20 to $40, available at 866-974-0767 or

‘Oz’: Sold out, starts tomorrow

Last weekend's "Wizard of Oz" dress rehearsal.
Last weekend’s “Wizard of Oz” dress rehearsal. Raymond Boc | Rappahannock News

RAAC Theatre’s holiday show — “The Wizard of Oz,” with a cast of dozens and a crew of almost as many — opens the first of five performances at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 5) on Gay Street. All the shows are sold out; there are sometimes seats available if you sign up for the waiting list, best done online at (click on “RAAC Community Theatre” and then follow the yellow brick . . . well, you know.) 

Famous people and places — right here in Rappahannock

Nol Putnam signs his new book Sunday at Ballard's.
Nol Putnam signs his new book Sunday at Ballard’s.

Sculptor and renowned metal artist Nol Putnam of Huntly has a new book out — “Beauty in the Shadows,” a picture-filled, coffee-table-worthy “definitive catalogue and guide to the ironwork of the Washington National Cathedral,” a decades-long project of which Putnam was a definitive part. The book took him more than a decade to complete, and, released just last week, copies will be signed by Putnam himself at R.H. Ballard Gallery this Sunday (Dec. 7) from 2 to 5 (after the parade).

Speaking of R.H. Ballard, the shop’s own Joanie Ballard was invited by Jura Koncius of The Washington Post’s Home section to do a live Q&A online today (Thursday, Dec. 4) at 11 a.m. for those seeking holiday gift-buying guidance. You can submit questions in advance at or tune in there for the hour-long session. Just don’t text Joanie while she’s working.

Finally, in Sperryville, Cliff Miller III said last week he was pleasantly surprised to find that Southern Living magazine included his family’s Inn at Mount Vernon Farm B&B on its list of “The South’s Best B&Bs” — a short list of eight B&Bs ranging from Texas to Virginia, in which the Inn at Mount Vernon Farm came in at No. 5.

“The most important distinction for this six-room 1827 manse is that it’s an 840-acre working farmstead,” says Southern Living (online at “Daily breakfasts showcase the farm’s yields, such as eggs from resident layers and jam made with blackberries from an on-property briar patch.”

75 years, 300-plus faces

A few of Ted’s 300-plus portraits on view Friday.

Help longtime Rappahannock resident and photographer Ted Pellegatta celebrates his 75th birthday from 6 to midnight tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 5) at the Sperryville fire hall, an event that includes a pasta dinner, plus cake, coffee and beverages, music by Noah Waggoner’s Band and Side Show, and more than 300 informal portraits — the photos of Rappahannock’s hipster denizens from the ’70s through the ’90s that once decorated several walls at the late, great Mountainside Market. Donations accepted to pay for the food and music; the rest, Pellegatta says, goes to the Sperryville fire department.

That’s us at the podium on Dec. 12

Mark your calendars for the next Second Friday at the Library series, presented by the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community (RAAC), at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12, when Dennis Brack, president of Rappahannock Media (which owns this newspaper) and Roger Piantadosi, editor of the Rappahannock News, will give an inside look at the business of putting out a newspaper in a small community. Brack and Piantadosi will discuss how stories are chosen and reported, their plans for future coverage, and the problems and opportunities that come with covering the news in a rural area.

“Also,” Piantadosi said, “we do hope we’ll get to extend our monthly public story conferences — where we encourage our readers to show up with questions and suggestions — with a robust Q&A after we stop talking. We’re better at listening than talking, anyway.”

RAAC’s Friday lectures are free at the Rappahannock Library. More information about the series at

Re-homed for the holidays

Courtesy photo
courtesy photo

Planning to add a furry member to your family over the holidays? Looking for a fun, family-friendly way to celebrate the season? Need a few more gifts to complete your list? Want to tell Santa Claus your Christmas wishes?

Join RappCats in the nonprofit cat rescue organization’s winter wonderland, to be put together at the RappCats Adoption Center in Flint Hill (714 Zachary Taylor Hwy.) for a “Home for the Holidays” party from 10 to 2 Saturday, Dec. 13.

Have your picture taken with Santa at the center’s Ice Palace, browse handcrafted soaps, candles, pet goods and more for sale, sample cookies and other treats and even create your own take-home, cat-themed crafts in the Elves’ Art Studio. Partygoers can spend some quality time with the shelter’s feline residents, and consult with the human volunteers about what kind of feline suits you best. Elves will be offering Christmas Eve/morning delivery for cats adopted during the party.

There’s also a Wonderland Wishing Well for the tax-deductible donations RappCats relies on to continue spaying or neutering and/or re-homing cats in Rappahannock. For more information, email

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