The Rapp for April 6

Dems record turnout

A record crowd turned out for the Rappahannock County Democrats annual brunch. Courtesy photo

This past Saturday, Rappahannock County Democrats held their annual brunch at the Washington Fire Hall. The attendance was a “record 140 party faithful” (and likely a few disgruntled Republicans).

As usual, Robert “Smiggy” Smith and his amazing music set the tone for a raucous round of speech making by Gene Rossi, who is running for lieutenant governor, and Tristan Shields, a singer and entertainer who is running for the Democratic nomination to fill Virginia’s 18th House of Delegates seat.

The food was fabulous, thanks to Gwen Bates, Judy DeSarno and a host of cooks and volunteers. The meeting drew to a close with a rousing rendition of “Stand by Me” first by Tristan Shields and then by the Rappdems singers, who lip-synched the song for what has all the makings of a viral video.

Point-to-point returns to Ben Venue this Saturday

Not just for horses

Hillside and railside parking spaces are still available for Saturday’s Old Dominion Hounds Point-to-Point races. Call (540) 270-7353 to reserve a space or for more details. Photo by Betsy Burke Parker

The annual Old Dominion Hounds Point-to-Point races are scheduled for this Saturday, April 8, at Ben Venue Farm in Ben Venue. Post time is noon for the first of at least eight horse races. A sighthound lure coursing trial begins at 11 a.m. Gates open at 10 a.m.

Hurdle, timber and turf races make up the ODH program, along with a junior race. Featured is the three-mile open timber, the Leeds Don, traditionally used as a prep for the Virginia Gold Cup.

ODH also hosts a hunter pace event, Sunday, April 9, also at Ben Venue.

Complete entries are online at Call (540) 270-7353 for ticket information.

Big Meadow burn

Shenandoah National Park Fire Managers plan to burn 90 acres of Big Meadows sometime between now and May 30, 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.

The burn is anticipated to take one day to complete. Smoke from the burn may be visible in and around the Big Meadows area. Visitors driving in areas of smoke should take additional care by dropping speeds and ensuring their headlights are on. All park facilities will remain open during the prescribed burn.

Access to Big Meadows will be restricted during the burn.

Second Saturday

April 8, as in two days from now, is “Second Saturday” Open Door Tour on the Rappahannock Artisan Trail! There’s lots going on this weekend. Look for the yellow banner and enjoy the local flair!

Belle Meade B & B: Take a tour of Belle Meade B & B and farm, stay for 2 nights and receive $20 off for each night. All farm products 10 percent off. We raise grass fed and finished beef, pastured pork and chicken (non-GMO food). Eggs from pastured hens eating a natural diet (non-GMO food, no hormones, antibiotics). – Trail Site # 79 – (353 Fort Valley RD, Sperryville).

Blue Ridge Artisans: Spirit Trail Fiberworks ~ Artist: Jennifer Heverly – “Celebrate Spring at our April Open House”. Join us for a celebration of Spring, with a complimentary glass of wine, a selection of cheeses and sweet treats, and a 20% in-shop discount on all Spirit Trail Fiberworks merchandise. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Trail Site # 106(12018 B Lee Highway, Sperryville).

De’Danann Glassworks: Artist ~ Patricia Brennan – “Stained Glass Cross Workshop” Create a beautiful beveled Easter Cross. Students will copper foil and solder the beveled glass pieces together. A fun and easy project. Saturday, April 8, 2017 at 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Fee: $35 Trail site #4(23 Spyder Mountain Lane, Sperryville).

Flourish Root Florals Studio & Shop: Artist ~ Jen Perrot –“Spring Wreath Workshop” Join us in the Flourish Root Florals Studio to put together your own creation for Spring — a wreath composed of flowers, foliage, foraged & found green goods. We will have all the materials on hand to make your wreath and help you to design your creation. Please contact us to reserve a spot — limited to 10 people. 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Fee: $50.00. Trail site # 9(7C River Lane, Sperryville).

Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community (RAAC):“Independent Film Festival at Little Washington” – The Film Festival at Little Washington is about more than what happens on the screen. Here we acknowledge the power of the movies to not only entertain but also to provoke, inspire, and enlighten. More information and the complete program listing and tickets are available at Date: April 7 to 9. Fee: Opening Night Reception $28, Movie $12, Day Pass $30, Weekend Pass $60, VIFF All-Access Pass $175, Workshops $10, Wine Tasting $15. This event hosted at Trail Site # 99:The Little Washington Theatre (291 Gay Street, Washington).

Rappahannock Cellars: “Featured Local Artisan: Woolf Lavender Farms” Come meet Kelly of Woolf Lavender Farms and her local honey and herb products. April’s Artisan of the month features Rappahannock county’s own, Woolf Lavender Farms ( Cultivators of lavender and other medicinal plants, distillers of essential oil products, and harvesters of honey in Castleton. Come meet Kelly as she introduces you to Virginia’s local honey and herb products. Noon to 3 p.m. No fee. Trail Site # 63: (14437 Hume Rd, Huntly).

Channeling Twain

Frank Dixon as Mark Twain. Courtesy photo

When chatting with Madison County resident Frank Dixon, you may suddenly find yourself conversing with Mark Twain, Dixon’s alter ego. In fact Dixon and Twain are such old friends they complete each other’s sentences.

For over 40 years, Dixon has been delighting audiences with his one-man show about Mark Twain, the humorist and writer who gave the world such memorable characters as Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, and the jumping frog of Calaveras County.

On April 23, at 3:00, Dixon… er …Twain will drop in for a performance at the Little Washington Theatre. The show is to raise money for the Rappahannock County Food Pantry and UUBRidge. Dixon is a founding member of the UUBRidge.

“This was UUBRidge’s initiative,” says Emery Lazar, one of the event organizers. “We wanted to split the net proceeds with a highly respected local nonprofit organization for the benefit of the community at large.”

Dixon will reprise a previous benefit performance, also co-sponsored by UUBRidge and the Food Pantry.

“In 2009 Mark Twain stepped out on the theatre’s stage to, as he said, ‘raise hell with whatever needs it,’’’ says Lazar.

Dixon, whose body and mind Mark Twain has inhabited since 1972, complained lately that “when that old reprobate first invaded me I was a 40-year-old forced to imitate the 70 year old Twain; now that I’m 85 the job is easier, except for the aches and pains.”

Complaints and all, Dixon still feels grateful that Clemens chose him. “My life has never been without a touch of Twain’s humor and his sometimes dark view of the world.”

The 90-minute performance is in three acts, the last consisting of Twain entertaining questions from the audience. There will be one 15-minute intermission and snacks will be available.

Dixon says the performance will be family-friendly, but “parents are advised to keep young children away unless they want their heads filled with Twain’s notions of common sense.”

Mark Twain, Sunday, April 23, 3 p.m. $25 for adults; $10 for people under 18. Ticket purchase or reservations can be made online at At the Little Washington Theatre, 291 Gay St., Washington. For additional information, contact Gwen Bates at 540-675-9987 or

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