The Rapp for May 10

Ben Venue Fourth

After 11 years of Independence Day celebrations at Thornton Hill Farm between Sperryville and Woodville, the Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department 4th of July Committee has announced a new location for the festive Rappahannock County celebration.

“The Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department has made a business decision to move the site of the Rappahannock County 4th of July Celebration to Ben Venue Farm, 98 Ben Venue Road, Flint Hill . . . the site of the Old Dominion Hounds Point-to-Point Race,” the 4th of July Committee says in a news release.

The annual fireworks display attracts people of all ages. Besides the impressive pyrotechnics, the nation’s birthday celebration features tailgating, tasty food and beverages, live music, children’s games, antique cars and tractor displays, and much more. It also provides opportunities for local non-profit organizations to display their goods and services.

And let’s not forget the county’s numerous volunteer fire companies, which come together in a rare relaxed setting to pay tribute to their partnerships.

“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Fletcher Family (Bill, Jamie & Lilla), for the last 11 years providing a site to allow us the opportunity to bring back an important community event to the county,” the release adds. “We appreciate the overwhelming support for this event and look forward to seeing everyone at the 4th of July celebration this year in Ben Venue.”

Signs announcing the 4th of July celebration will be installed near the Ben Venue site by early next week, according to committee member Mike Leake. For more information call 540-987-8124 or visit the website

Litter adoption

One of many topics discussed at the latest Fourth Estate Friday meeting, where the Rappahannock News invites readers to join us for coffee and conversation, dealt with the increasing amount of litter tossed along the county’s byways and highways.

While one of the more difficult chores in life is picking up after inconsiderate slobs, here’s a solution to consider: Virginia’s Adopt-a-Highway program, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

While the initiative probably won’t stop litterbugs from desecrating the Rappahannock County landscape, it will certainly help to keep things cleaner and greener. Established by the Virginia Department of Transportation and Keep Virginia Beautiful, the program this anniversary year is seeking new participants to join the already thousands of individuals, families, civics groups and businesses across the state who are helping to provide for a better environment.

Like the Keir Whitson Family in Harris Hollow and DuCard Vineyards next to Old Rag Mountain.

Those collecting trash in Rappahannock will be recognized for their efforts with a bright blue road sign that features their names.

The Adopt a Highway process is simple and the results inspiring. Complete an application at and submit it to Rappahannock County’s VDOT coordinator Linda Wilson, who can also be reached at 540-347-6448 or via

Blake and Uzeki

Renowned bassist Alex Blake will perform at Castleton this Saturday evening. Courtesy photo

World renowned bassist Alex Blake comes to Castleton this Saturday evening, May 12, equipped with a revolutionary playing style and technique distinctly his own. He combines innovative strumming, rapid lyrical notations and percussive slaps on his bass to create a unique and compelling sound.

Blake’s talent is measured by the plenitude of masters who have called upon him: Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Sun Ra, Art Blakey, Freddie Hubbard, McCoy Tyner, Lenny White, Stan Getz, Harry Belafonte, and the Manhattan Transfer. He’s a long-time member of NEA Jazz Master Randy Weston’s African Rhythms.

Better yet, Blake will be joined by the remarkable young Japanese pianist Yoichi Uzeki.

The performance begins at 7 p.m. at the Castleton Theatre, 663 Castleton Road. Call 703-489-8704 for ticket information.

Pellegatta’s poems

Rappahannock County’s Ted Pellegatta will be reading from his fine collection of poetry this Mother’s Day evening at Quievremont Winery in Gid Brown Hollow. By Jan Clatterbuck

The one and only Ted Pellegatta will be reading from his amazing collection of poetry this Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13th, 6:30 p.m. at the Quievremont Winery in Gid Brown Hollow. Ted will be accompanied by the Eva Weber Trio, and of course there will be plenty of fine wine and good company.

Moms, if you don’t have evening plans on Mother’s Day, stop by Quievremont. There is a suggested $10 donation. Attendees are also welcome to bring food.

Park your kids

Make plans now for Shenandoah National Park’s Kids to Parks Day, to be held Saturday, May 19. Activities will take place at Dickey Ridge Visitor Center (mile 4.6 Skyline Drive), Byrd Visitor Center (mile 51) and the Big Meadows Amphitheater (mile 51). A full day of events is planned to get young visitors up close and personal with nature.

The theme for this year’s Kids to Parks Day is the amazing birds that live in and migrate through Shenandoah National Park. Most activities will take place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at both visitor centers with a special evening program at the Byrd Visitor Center auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Visitors to Dickey Ridge Visitor Center can enjoy family-friendly activities and games, hear a ranger program about birds, and go on a bird walk. Visitors to Big Meadows will have a chance to meet a live bird at the Birds of Prey program, participate in games, activities and ranger programs.

The complete schedule for the event can be found at: Kids to Parks Day is free and open to visitors of all ages. No reservations are needed. There is a $25-per-car entrance fee to Shenandoah National Park which is good for seven days or use a valid Annual or Lifetime Pass.

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