The Rapp for April 13

It’s Yeaster!

Last year’s first-ever Yeaster festival in Sperryville was a huge draw, attracting 750 adults and kids alike. John McCaslin

Get ready for the crowds. Rappahannock County’s 4th beer festival will be this Saturday, April 15, from noon to 8 p.m. in Sperryville.

Participants of the 2nd annual Yeaster celebration will include Pen Druid Brewing, Hopkins Ordinary Ale Works, Copper Fox Distillery, Potter’s Craft Cider, Wild Roots Apothecary, Heritage Hollow Farms, The Farm at Sunnyside, Little Hat Creek Farm, and No1 Sons.

In other words expect another delicious lineup of wild and local beers brewed right here in Sperryville, our tasty local whisky, barrel-aged culture ciders, wood-fired stews, early spring salad and bread, wild fermentables and hot sauces, handmade desserts, and herbal infusions.

New this Yeaster, Copper Fox will be serving cocktails on their sunset bar deck. And for those who forget their ID’s there will be a children’s Easter Egg hunt (12 to 12:30 p.m.) hosted by Flourish Root Florals and sponsored by Union Bank.

Yeaster a year ago was a huge success, attracting 750 people. “We’re shooting for a thousand this year,” says Jennings Carney, the oldest of the three Pen Druid Brewing brothers.

Wood-fired pizza

RPK owner Craig Batchelor (left) and pizzaiolo Aaron Oyster will have your pizza baked in 75 seconds flat. John McCaslin

Craig Batchelor has good reason to be both “excited and proud” about RPK — Rappahannock Pizza Kitchen —  which following a major renovation of the Sperryville Corner Store officially opens tomorrow, Friday, April 14.

Batchelor, who with his wife Caitlin and brother Clay owns the country store, Thornton River Grille, and now RPK, traveled with Sperryville pizzaiolo Aaron Oyster all the way to California’s Sonoma wine country, where he picked up a world famous Mugnaini wood fired pizza oven and Aaron got some valuable cooking lesson from Andrea Mugnaini, founder of the Mugnaini Wood-Fired Cooking School.

“These are neapolitan style pizzas — thin crust — baked in a wood-fired oven,” explained Batchelor, pointing out that the neapolitan variety of pizzas are made according to strict rules.

Indeed, at RPK’s soft openings this week, the deck temperature of the oven stood at 700 degrees fahrenheit — and a beyond toasty 900 degrees on the dome. With these temperatures, Oyster had his pizzas baked in 75 seconds flat.

Pizza selections on the 2017 spring menu will include Classic Marinara, The Greek, The Prosciutto, The Farmer, Spicy Soppressata, and House Italian. Or you can build your own pizza, choosing from house made sauces, veggies and mushrooms, cheeses and meats. All pizzas are 12 inches.

RPK will be open for lunch and dinner on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; for lunch on Monday, and dinner on Thursday. It will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Republican poundage

Courtesy photo

This past weekend, Rappahannock Republican Committee members donated 225 pounds (OK, 224.7 pounds) of food in a pre-Easter food drive to benefit the Rappahannock Food Pantry.

Pictured left to right are Mimi Forbes (Pantry Director), Edmund Kavanagh, Evelyn Kerr, Demaris Miller, David Kerr and Tom Woolman. Donors not shown include Bryant Welch, Ruth Welch, and Tom and Danielle Junk.

‘Arcadia’ to RAAC’s Second Friday

Mike Mahoney will be the featured speaker at this week’s “Second Friday at the Library,” speaking about his upcoming RAAC production.

The New York Times called Tom Stoppard’s play Arcadia the “richest, most ravishing comedy to date, a play of wit, intellect, language, brio . . . and emotion.”

The RAAC Community Theatre is mounting its own production of the play under the direction of Mike Mahoney, on May 5, 6, and 7 at the RAAC Community Theatre.

But first, Mahoney will be the featured speaker this Friday (April 14) at RAAC’s “Second Friday at the Library” at 8 p.m. He and several cast members from the production will introduce the play, discuss the themes and characters, and even perform a short scene.

“Stoppard is regarded as one of the most notable playwrights of the modern era with a long list of successful shows,” says Mahoney. “But Arcadia is considered by some critics as his best work and also one of, if not the best plays of the latter half of the 20th Century.”

It premiered in London in 1993 and won the Olivier Award for best new play. Its New York City premier gained it the Drama Critic’s Circle award for best play.

Arcadia moves back and forth between 1809 and the present at the elegant estate owned by the Coverly family. The play explores the relationship between past and present, order and disorder, certainty and uncertainty, intellect and romance, truth and time, tempered by the disruptive influence of sex.

“The Library event on April 14 is intended to both entertain and educate,” says Mahoney. “You needn’t attend the talk to appreciate the play and you needn’t attend the play to appreciate the talk. But you will enjoy both more if you attend both.”

Arcadia takes stage on Friday, May 5 and Saturday, May 6 at 7:30 pm; and Sunday, May 7 at 2:30 p.m. RAAC Community Theatre, 310 Gay St., Washington. Tickets are $15. For reservations, go to If no Internet access, call 1-800-695-6075.

Shenandoah Park Week

Shenandoah National Park will host special events to celebrate National Park Week from April 15 to April 23. Entrance fees will be waived at all National Park Service sites, including Shenandoah, on April 15-16 and April 22-23.

Locally, there will be ranger programs, presentations, stargazing, and the annual Junior Ranger Day. Shenandoah is also hosting a new event, Ride the Drive.

A ranger presentation called “What’s So Special About Shenandoah” will be held in the Byrd Visitor Center auditorium this Saturday at 11  a.m. The 45-minute program will provide a glimpse into the natural and cultural history that makes Shenandoah such a special place.

On Friday, April 21, a special presentation, book signing, and stargazing event will take place at Byrd Visitor Center in conjunction with the 4th Annual Starry Nights event hosted by James Madison University. Join author Paul Bogard as he shares stories and experiences from his book “The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in the Age of Artificial Light.” After Bogard’s presentation, participants can move outside (weather permitting) for a public star party at Big Meadows. Bogard’s hour-long presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. with stargazing from approximately 8:30 until 11 p.m.

The annual Junior Ranger Day will take place on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22 at Dickey Ridge Visitor Center (mile 4.6 on Skyline Drive) and Byrd Visitor Center (mile 51). Children and their adults will be able to examine nature items on touch tables, search for clues in indoor scavenger hunts, and try on ranger uniforms, join a wildland firefighter working a fire hose, and a whole lot more.

The Ride the Drive event will take place on National Park Rx Day, Sunday, April 23. During this event, bicyclists (and other users of non-motorized vehicles) will enjoy Skyline Drive’s north district from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Memorial rescheduling

Unfortunately, the dedication of the memorial to displaced families who had lived in what became  Shenandoah National Park will be rescheduled to either May 13 or May 20. Turns out the plaque for the memorial, which will be located on US 211 west of Sperryville, won’t ship until sometime during the week of May 1.

Once a new dedication date has been selected, a formal announcement will be made via email and Facebook — and of course the Rappahannock News will help spread the word, too.

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