The Rapp for March 1

Horse moola

Prize money will help attract horses to this year’s Old Dominion Hounds Point-to-Point at Ben Venue. By Betsy Burke Parker

The Old Dominion Hounds Point-to-Point is set for Saturday, April 7 at Ben Venue, and this year money will play a pivotal role.

“Steeplechase horsemen have multiple choices on the point-to-point circuit prepping for the lucrative National Steeplechase Association circuit that opens in the area in late April,” explains race publicist Betsy Burke Parker. “With pressure from other point-to-points in Maryland and Pennsylvania the same weekend, ODH officials brainstormed to find a draw to attract the sport’s top horses.”

What they found was moola.

“One of seven point-to-points in Virginia’s spring series, the Old Dominion meet stands alone on the circuit for offering prize money,” Parker says. “The day’s leading trainer and leading jockey will be awarded $1,000 each. A Virginia-bred turf race offers a $2,000 purse.”

“It’s what sets us apart,” agrees ODH joint-master Gus Forbush, pointing out that the continued popularity of the Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association’s Virginia-bred turf series, with its $2,000 purse, is an example of how prize money drives racing.

“Offsetting costs helps horsemen,” says Forbush. “And they’re the ones that make, or break, a point-to-point race. You gotta attract the horses.”

Post time is noon for the first of nine races. The program includes three hurdle races, four timber races, and three on the flat. Gates open at 10 a.m. In addition to the racing, there are hat contests, tailgate competition and a vendors’ row. Food is available on the grounds or bring a tailgate picnic.

Pick a card

Amazing five star magicians Brian Curry and Mark Phillips will perform in Little Washington this Saturday at 8 p.m.

The highly rated comedy and magic show “The Magic Duel” is coming to the Little Washington Theatre this Saturday, March 3, with an 8 p.m. performance. Now in its third year at Washington’s Mayflower Hotel, the 90 minute show enjoys a five star rating. Audiences call the show hilarious and amazing, and a “great night out.”

With audience involvement providing plenty of improvisational detours, the show features loads of comedy and mind-boggling magic done right before your eyes. No insult is too snarky, no trick is too sneaky, no pandering is too ridiculous — this is magic and comedy for grown ups (not recommended for kids under 15).

The pair of magicians, Mark Phillips and Brian Curry, are two of DC’s most sought-after magical entertainers — as solo performers and with The Magic Duel. Performing magic full-time, they regularly work at corporate events, trade shows, and on cruise ships all over the world. Their award winning sleight of hand tricks are matched only by the hilarious comedy.

The theatre is located at 291 Gay St. in Washington. Tickets are available by calling 540-675-1253 or online at

Bach to soul

The Vanderbilt University Chorale will perform a special concert at Castleton this Saturday, March 3, at 7 p.m.m, featuring everything from Bach to jazz and soul. Courtesy photo

The renowned Vanderbilt University Chorale will perform a special concert at Castleton this Saturday, March 3, at 7 p.m. The performance will include the first 15 movements of Johann Sebastian Bach’s deeply moving St. Matthew Passion, as well as some of Nashville’s finest selections of bluegrass, jazz, and soul, under the baton of Maestro Tucker Biddlecombe, a faculty member of Vanderbilt University’s prestigious Blair School of Music.

Tickets for this special Castleton in Performance (CiP) are $10, and the performance will be held in the Theatre House at Castleton, 663 Castleton View Road. Call 703.489.8704 for more information and visit to purchase tickets.

Not so bland

Bland winners Connor Martin (left) for Best Instrumental and Juliana Cardine (right) for Best Vocalist. Also pictured is emcee Jim “Tone Deaf” Blubaugh. By Kaye Kohler

The Rappahannock Lions Club sponsored the latest edition of the Bland Music Contest at the Little Washington Theatre. The well-attended afternoon of music featured 18 different local musicians. Lion Jim Blubaugh served as emcee, while Lion Spotswood Williams was the Bland contest coordinator. The winners, all local talents; will now go on to statewide competitions.

The Bland music category contestants were Connor Martin, Terra Correro, Oliver Herron, Jackson Norris, Sarah Johnson, Hollis Martin, Webb Furbush, and Ninon Kirchman.

In the Bland vocalists’ category were Juliana Cardine, Sophia Hernandez, Maeve Ciuba, Avigayil Aaronson, Lilie Halko, Brendan Griffin, Alyssa Amster, Zoe Porterfield, Katherine Johnson, Harmony Lindstrom, and Douglas Griffin.

All amazing performances completed, the chosen grand Bland winners were Juliana Cardine as Best Vocalist and Connor Martin as Best Instrumental.

Hibernation ends

Slumbering bears — and Shenandoah National Park facilities — will soon come out of hibernation.

Harry F. Byrd Visitor Center, located at mile 51 Skyline Drive, will continue serving visitors on weekends (weather permitting) until March 23, when the visitor center will begin operating 7 days a week. The Dickey Ridge Visitor Center, located at mile 4.6 Skyline Drive, will open 7 days a week starting April 6.

Lewis Mountain cabins/campstore will open March 16; Skyland Resort will open March 22; Big Meadows Wayside and Big Meadows shower/laundry will open March 29; Loft Mountain Wayside will open March 29; Elkwallow Wayside will open March 30; Skyland Stables will open April 6; Loft Mountain sampstore/shower/laundry will open May 2; Big Meadows Lodge will open May 9.

Big Meadows and Lewis Mountain campgrounds will open March 30; Loft Mountain, Mathews Arm and Dundo Group campgrounds will open May 2.

Elkwallow, Pinnacles, South River, and Dundo picnic grounds are currently open. Big Meadows and Lewis Mountain picnic grounds will open March 30; Dickey Ridge picnicking opens April 6.

Vendor call

The Town of Middleburg is seeking interested Rappahannock County vendors for the 2018 season of the Middleburg Community Farmers Market. The market, located at the Middleburg Community Center on Washington Street, will be open from 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday, May 5 to Oct. 27.

The market is open to a variety of vendors such as meat producers, produce growers, bakers, specialty food vendors and limited handmade craft vendors.

Visit for operating guidelines, terms of agreement and an application. There is a $25 application fee and one-time vendor fee of $100. Deadline for applications is March 31. Contact Jamie Gaucher, market manager, at 540-687-5152 or

New interchange

Rappahannock residents who venture through the increasingly congested city of Warrenton will be interested to know that a $19.6 million contract has been awarded to construct the “Warrenton Interchange.”

The interchange will reduce congestion and improve safety at the intersection of Route 15/17/29 (Eastern Bypass), Route 15/17/29 Business, and Route 880 (Lord Fairfax Drive) — one of the busiest intersections along the Route 29 corridor in Fauquier County.

Construction is set for the fall.

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