The Rapp for April 16

Off to the Sperryville races

The finish of one of last year’s first-ever Stick Horse Stakes at the THFVH races last year in Sperryville.
The finish of one of last year’s first-ever Stick Horse Stakes at the THFVH races last year in Sperryville.

A reminder (or two): Thornton Hill Fort Valley Hounds’ annual point-to-point race is this Sunday (April 19) at Sperryville’s much-loved Thornton Hill Racecourse. Originally scheduled to open the steeplechase season Feb. 28 but postponed by a winter season that wouldn’t quit, a full day of timber, hurdle and flat racing starts at 1 p.m.. The day includes a hound race and THFVH’s second annual Stick Horse Stakes — races for kids who bring their own trusted steed.

For more information or tickets, contact THFVH’s Diana Perry at 540-631-1919 or visit

Burgers N Things is back

Lunchtime in Sperryville: Burgers N Things reopens next Wednesday.
Lunchtime in Sperryville: Burgers N Things reopens next Wednesday. Idawriter via Panoramio

Those who’ve been wondering when Sperryville’s Burgers N Things would reopen, if ever, will be glad to hear: It’s reopening next Wednesday (April 22), according to owner Stefanie Shaw. Closed by a particularly cold and traffic-starved winter — and by the death, in January, of its founder (and Shaw’s father), Stevens Butler of Boston — Rappahannock County’s only family-owned fast-food carryout will be open in time for lunch on Wednesday, Shaw says.

Call 540-987-8311 to order ahead, of course.

Pianist Andrist at Theatre Sunday

Pianist Audrey Andrist returns to the Theatre at Washington this Sunday.
Pianist Audrey Andrist returns to the Theatre at Washington this Sunday.
Courtesy Photo

Pianist Audrey Andrist returns to the Theatre at Washington at 3 p.m. Sunday (April 19) for an afternoon that begins with Franz Schubert’s youthful, exciting A minor Sonata, continues with Scriabin’s hauntingly beautiful C-sharp minor Etude and Chopin’s Polonaise-Fantaisie, and ends with Henri Dutilleux’s Sonata, a virtuosic tour de force in three movements, among the 20th century’s most acclaimed large-scale piano works.

Hailed as a “stunning pianist with incredible dexterity,” Andrist has thrilled audiences around the globe with her “passionate abandon,” “bright energy” and “great intelligence.”

A member of Strata, a trio with her husband, violinist James Stern, and clarinetist Nathan Williams, Andrist is an avid performer of new music with many world premieres to her credit. She serves on the faculties of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County and the Washington Conservatory.

Admission to the 3 p.m. performance is $25 ($10 ages 17 and younger). To reserve or purchase tickets, visit

Solar performance

Solar energy information will be presented by experts from Virginia Solar United Neighborhoods (VA SUN), a nonprofit community organization that helps Virginians go solar by creating informal solar groups, or co-ops, which reduce the cost and simplify the installation of residential solar panels for all involved.

The event is sponsored by Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection (RLEP) and starts at  2 p.m. at The Theatre at Washington. It’s free, but please RSVP to

The Reagan dinner: Saturday

Paul A. Russo
Paul A. Russo

The year’s speaker at this year’s Ronald Reagan Dinner, sponsored by the Rappahannock County Republican Committee, is Paul A. Russo, U.S. ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean from 1986 to 1988 and a senior member of Reagan’s national campaign staff during Reagan’s three presidential campaigns. The annual potluck tradition is 6:30 p.m. this Saturday (April 18) at the Washington fire hall.

When Ronald Reagan was governor of California, Russo served in Sacramento as special assistant to the governor. Also director of congressional relations for Reagan’s 1980 race, Russo served in the White House as special assistant to the President for political affairs during Reagan’s first term, and he then became deputy under-secretary of labor.

RSVP to dinner chair Angela D. Deavers (

Indian classical dance at Castleton

Indian classical dancer Padma Cantu performs at Castleton at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 26.
Indian classical dancer Padma Cantu performs at Castleton at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 26.
Ruben M. Cantu

Originating in Hindu temples over 2000 years ago, Bharatha Natyam is a dance style that still enraptures audiences around the world. One of its foremost practitioners and instructors, Padmarani Rasiah Cantu of Richmond, comes to Castleton to perform her solo “Bhakti Maargam: A Path of Devotion” at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 26 at Theatre House.

A selected artist with the Virginia Commission for the Arts, Cantu will also offer a workshop to members of the community from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 25. Tickets for the Sunday performance are $20 to $40; the workshop is $15 per person and open to ages 14 and up. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call 866-974-0767.

The foremost web site devoted to Indian dance,, said of Cantu: “[Her] every mudra, every jathi, every eye movement was delivered immaculately, something that comes from rigorous practice and unwillingness to compromise.” Emory and Henry College characterized Cantu’s performance as “a true work of art—-expressive, beautiful, and breathtaking.”

In its seventh season, July 2-August 2, the Castleton Festival will again present five weeks of operas, concerts, and more, including two weekends of jazz concerts programmed by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Summer Jazz Academy (with guest appearances by the legendary Wynton Marsalis). Visit for a complete schedule.

Nature Adventure Packs at the library

The Fauquier Health Foundation has awarded a “Make it Happen!” grant to the Friends of the Rappahannock for their Nature Adventure Packs program — backpacks with tools for nature investigation including binoculars; magnifying lens; nets; books about the theme such as field guides, storybooks and nonfiction; and activity cards that are full of fun things to do in the backyard.  

he Nature Adventure Packs are available at local libraries in Culpeper, Fauquier and Rappahannock counties, and can be checked out under the same protocol as checking out library books.

“The Nature Adventure Packs program is an innovative way to get area families and children outside and active,” said Christy Connolly, president and CEO of Fauquier Health Foundation.  “We were delighted to be able to assist in funding this worthwhile program.”

Prescribed burn planned

Shenandoah National Park fire managers plan to burn 35 acres of Big Meadows sometime between now and May 15, weather permitting. A portion of Big Meadows (milepost 51), the open area across from Byrd Visitor Center, is burned each year for the purpose of maintaining the open vista by preventing encroachment by trees and shrubs.

Prescribed fires are ignited by fire managers under a predetermined set of conditions, including weather, fuel moisture and resource availability. All prescribed burns will be conducted as interagency projects, with local support, under the guidance and direction of trained and experienced National Park Service personnel.

The burn is expected to take a day to complete. Smoke from the burn may be visible in and around the Big Meadows area. All park facilities will remain open during the prescribed burn but access to Big Meadows will be restricted. More information at

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