The Rapp: 59 house tours, 4 more stars, 5 Harlem Superstars . . .

The house tour and more

This weekend brings us Rappahannock County’s longest-running fall tradition: the 59th annual Trinity Floral Art Sale and House Tour, sponsored by the Episcopal Church Women of Trinity Parish in Washington. The tours of three Rappahannock homes, and sales and display of flower designs at Trinity Episcopal Church hall on Gay Street in Washington, go on from 11 to 5 Saturday and noon to 4 Sunday.

And at 5 p.m. Sunday at the church hall, there’s an Evensong service and organ and choral concert (open to all, and featuring organist and conductor Ronald Stolk, who performed and conducted a concert for Pope Francis just a few weeks ago at Catholic University ). A reception, also open to all, follows the service and concert.

Tickets ($30 for all three houses on the tour, $15 for a single home) are available at the tour houses and at the church. For more information, call Helen Williams at 540-937-4279 or Loraine Channing at 540-987-3198.

Saturday night on Gay Street, Stephanie Nakasian performs at the Theatre at Washington at 8 p.m with the Hod O’Brien Trio, and the latest in a series of community drum circles facilitated by Wendi Sirat starts at the RAAC Theater across the street at 7 p.m.

For happenings, see the Events listings that start on page 3.

Harlem’s Superstars vs. Rapp’s ‘Slayers’

The Harlem Superstars take on Rapp's Superstar Slayers Oct. 30 at RCHS' comedy-basketball fundraiser.
The Harlem Superstars take on Rapp’s Superstar Slayers Oct. 30 at RCHS’ comedy-basketball fundraiser.

The Harlem Superstars basketball team brings its comic on-court shenanigans to Rappahannock County High School on Friday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. — when they’ll face the Superstar Slayers, an all-local team of about 30 teachers, students and administrators.

Save the date for an entertaining night of basketball, comedy and audience participation, including a halftime show by the Superstars where young players can compete for prizes, and a chance to catch autographs and photos with the players after the game.

Tickets to the benefit for RCHS student activities are $8 in advance, $10 at the door, and are available at RCHS, the elementary school, the Rappahannock CFC Farm and Home Center and the Sperryville Corner Store. For more information, contact Karen Sanborn at

Four more stars on Middle Street

The Inn at Little Washington was again awarded four stars by restaurant critic Tom Sietsema last Sunday in The Washington Post Fall Dining Guide, making it one of six in the metropolitan area (and the only one outside of D.C.) to receive the distinction.

Sietsema had nothing but praise for The Inn, noting that, “When it comes to pulling out all the stops, few restaurants in the country can match the whimsy and excess of the dining destination conceived and nurtured by chef-owner Patrick O’Connell.”

Said O’Connell: “We are once again delighted and honored by this wonderful acknowledgement of our efforts.”

Paintings and ceramics that go together

Clive Pates' "Avon Hall I, Death and Transfiguration," an oil on linen study of the Avon Hall grounds in Little Washington, is part of Ballard's new exhibit.
Clive Pates’ “Avon Hall I, Death and Transfiguration,” an oil on linen study of the Avon Hall grounds in Little Washington, is part of Ballard’s new exhibit.

H. Ballard Gallery opens a new show this weekend — “Piedmont: Paintings by Clive Pates, Ceramics by Virginia Pates,” present a unique two-person exhibition of paintings and ceramics that connect on many levels — the artists’ marriage, the source material of a common landscape, and a richness of color and abstract form.

Clive Pates‘ paintings are a plein air record of the couple’s environment, and Virginia Pates’ ceramics are constructed of the very materials that created these landscapes. This body of new work is focused on the Virginia Piedmont and was made possible, in part, by grants to Virginia and Clive Pates from RAAC’s Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund.

The opening reception for the artists is 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 17) at the gallery (307 Main St., Washington), with light fare and Gadino Cellars wines to be served.

As a painter, Clive Pates is a gesturalist, unsentimentally representing his subject with brush and knife work and sculpturally describing the space of the landscape. A native of England, Clive completed a BFA at the University of the West of England, and MFA studies on a British Fulbright Scholarship at the New York Academy of Art.

Clive Pates’ paintings are exhibited internationally, and he has been recognized throughout his career with awards such as a British Fulbright Scholarship, three Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grants, two Andy Warhol Foundation grants, and a Mississippi Artist Fellowship, as well as residencies in Ireland, Scotland, Italy and Arizona. His work is in the permanent collections of the Phippen Museum of Art in Arizona and the Mississippi Museum of Art.

Virginia Pates' "Grimm Tennis Court White" stoneware includes Rapidan River clay from Ben and Lucy Ann Grimm’s tennis court.
Virginia Pates’ “Grimm Tennis Court
White” stoneware includes Rapidan River clay from Ben and Lucy Ann Grimm’s tennis court. Courtesy photo

Virginia Rood Pates is a contemporary American ceramic artist who creates wheel-thrown and altered forms in a wide variety of clay bodies, often including collected materials from the local environment, and glazed with unusual colors and surfaces. After BFA studies at Mississippi State University, Virginia completed an MFA in ceramics from the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff, U.K. She has lectured in ceramics in England, Mississippi, Texas, and Arizona, and is currently the assistant dean for art and music at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale.

Virginia Pates also exhibits her work internationally, and has won multiple awards in her field, including grants from the Andy Warhol Foundation and the Mississippi Arts Commission, residencies in Arizona and Ireland, and a juried membership in the Artisans Center of Virginia. Her work was recently selected for the 2012 International Academy of Ceramics Exhibition, the 2013 Virginia Clay Invitational, and the 2015 NCECA Biennial. Selections of Virginia’s glaze recipes were published this year in John Britt’s new book, “The Complete Guide to Mid-Range Glazes.”

The exhibition and gallery are part of the 11th annual Artists of Rappahannock Studio and Gallery Tour Nov. 7-8. The gallery is open 10 to 6 daily (except Tuesday). More at, or call 540-675-1411.

‘Inside Out’ at the Theatre Nov. 6

In the animated comedy-adventure "Inside Out" (Nov. 6 at the Theatre at Washington), the emotions are at the helm.
In the animated comedy-adventure “Inside Out” (Nov. 6 at the Theatre at Washington), the emotions are at the helm.

Coming up Nov. 6 at the Theatre at Washington, RAAC’s Friday night movie is “Inside Out,” the PG-rated 2015 animated adventure/comedy that tells (from the inside out) the story of Riley, a young girl uprooted from her Midwest life to San Francisco, and how her emotions — specifically Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness — cope with their new city, house and school.

Tickets are $6 ($4 for children), with popcorn, candy and water available for purchase. For more information, call 800-695-6075 or visit

Free flu vaccines Monday at RCES

This year’s seasonal flu vaccine will protect you against the four most expected flu strains and can keep you from losing valuable time at work or school, and could even save your life, according to the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District — which is offering free flu vaccinations at Rappahannock Elementary School this Monday (Oct. 19) from 4 to 7 p.m.

One hundred and fifty doses of free vaccine will be available for anyone ages three or older. In addition to offering a free service to the community, the free flu clinic will serve as a training drill to test emergency capabilities for giving vaccines or medication in an emergency situation.

Each year 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu season generally runs November through March. There’s more online at and the Virginia Department of Health’s website at

People Inc. hosts workshop for small businesses

If you have a small business or plan to start one, having an online presence is essential. “Potential customers don’t drive around with the Yellow Pages anymore to find a business,” says Cindy Green, director of community economic development at People Inc., Rappahannock County’s community action agency. “They rely on mobile devices or computers to find your business. It’s essential that they can find you.”

To help with that, the nonprofit People Inc. is partnering with counties in the organization’s service area to offer workshops to help small businesses grow their online presence and succeed on the web. Called “Let’s put our cities on the map,” the initiative is part of a larger Google program.

Rappahannock small business owners are invited to attend the local workshop on Oct 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Rappahannock Library. The workshop includes essons on how to be found on Google search and maps; building a free website; and growing your online business.

The session is for anyone who has started a small business but does not yet have an online presence; plans to start online marketing or e-commerce but is not sure how; or has a foothold on the web and is ready to take the next step.

Green says People Inc. offers a broad range of services to businesses, including training, technical assistance, and small business funding. “We offer tons of resources for entrepreneurs” such as workshops in business basics, business planning, customer service training, and social media marketing.

To register for the Oct. 28 session or subsequent workshops,visit or call Jenny Knox at 571-359-3897 for more information.

— Patty Hardee

Fall wildfire season begins today

By Roger L. Foster
Roger L. Foster

Daylight is getting shorter; nights are getting cooler. Summer has officially ended, but more important, fall wildfire season is here. Officials with the Virginia Department of Forestry want to keep you and your family safe from the ravages of wildfire.

Fall wildfire season runs from Oct. 15 through Nov. 30 each year.

“While Virginia’s most active wildfire season is typically in the spring, fall can be just as busy,” said John Miller, VDOF’s director of resource protection. “While we had some significant rain over the past couple of weeks, we didn’t have a lot of rain this summer, and the dead leaves are starting to drop from the trees. This ‘leaf litter’ is an abundant source of fuel for wildfires, which can spread rapidly during dry and windy days.”

With more than 62 percent of Virginia’s land base (15.9 million acres) being forested, there are almost 360,000 homes and more than 1 million Virginians living in areas defined as woodland communities. “That’s a lot of lives and property at risk due to wildfire,” Miller said.

State Forester Bettina Ring said, “Preventing a wildfire from ever starting is critical to the safety and security of our citizens. And, since most wildfires (96 percent) in Virginia are caused by human activity, if people are careful and pay attention to weather conditions, they can keep themselves and their property safe by not letting a wildfire start.”

VDOF fire records go back nearly 100 years (the agency was created in 1914 and began battling wildfires in 1916.) Of the 141,000 wildfires fought by the agency, most were caused by people burning their trash or yard debris.

Ring said, “For many people, there are debris-burning alternatives, such as composting and mulching. But for those who have to burn, we urge them to take precautions before igniting those fires.”

Precautions include: clearing the burn spot and surrounding area down to mineral soil; keeping the burn pile small; having tools like a shovel or a rake on hand; ensuring a charged water hose or other water source is at the ready; having a working cell phone with you so that you can call 911 as soon as the fire escapes your control, and remaining with the fire until it’s completely out. You must also check the weather conditions in your area before you start to burn. If it’s been several days since it’s rained, humidity levels are low and the winds are higher than 10 miles per hour, wait until conditions improve; otherwise, it’s quite likely your fire will become a wildfire.

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