Judy DeSarno and Kevin Brandriff
How do you transform the 100-year-old Mount Vernon Barn into a wonderland, serve more than 200 supporters of Headwaters magnificent food, and produce two fun auctions? It is with months of work led by Headwaters Executive Director Kevin Brandriff and his detail-oriented Assistant Brooke Lange and a planning committee of Dot and Rick Lessard, Kathleen Grove, Amanda Stephens, Barney O’Meara, Steve Carroll, Deanna Akre, Kathi Dutihl, Lindsay Sonnett, Kat Habib, Tanya Paul, Emily Harris, Jennifer Aldrich, Jennifer Manly, Ralph Bates, Patricia Brennan and Rachel Rowland. Not only did they plan out every detail, they put in weeks of hard work producing the result.
This year, the Rappahannock teachers and students, including the culinary students, the band, the Honor Society and the Quiz Bowl team all provided their time and talents with Dave Naser as point person and led by Superintendent Shannon Grimsley, who may have met every single attendee. Kat Habib, Jen Perrot and Lacey Jenkins prepared the floral arrangements with flowers raised by Martin Woodard.
Rachel Rowland of Griffin Tavern personally spoke with every restaurant and inn in the county to ask that each produce an extraordinary meal for the Taste. We thank: Before and After, Central Coffee Roasters, The Country Café, Foster Harris House, Griffin Tavern, the High School Culinary Program, led by Kurt Streu, Headmaster’s Pub, The Inn at Little Washington, Skyward Cafe, Sperryville Trading Café and Market, Thornton River Catering (Terri Lehman), Triple Oak Bakery and Tula’s. And our local farms and orchards: Jenkins Orchard, The Virginia Chutney Company and Waterpenny Farm. The food was safely delivered to the barn by the use of the Food Pantry Truck.
The evening began with “community libations” with thanks to Barboursville Vineyards, Copper Fox Distillery (Wasmund’s), Gadino Cellars, Glen Manor Vineyards, Grey Ghost Winery, Hopkins Ordinary Ale Works, Linden Vineyards, Narmada Winery, Pen Druid, Quievremont Winery, Rappahannock Cellars and Wild Roots Apothecary. Foster Harris House and The Inn at Little Washington provided dinners for four to be raffled off (quite successfully).
The silent auction was made possible by a host of wonderful businesses and individuals including: Andrew Thompson, DDS, Red Truck Bakery, Grass Roots Restaurant, Kat Habib, Schoolhouse Nine, Wild Roots Apothecary, R.H. Ballard Shop & Gallery, Xpress Copy & Graphics and Goulet Pen Co., Flourish Root Florals, Pen Druid, Rhonda Jenkins-Ramey and Jodi Millies, Headwaters Board of Directors, Scott Schlosser, Rosa Crocker and Jay Monroe, Maggie Rogers, John Beardsley, Emily Harris, Rick and Dot Lessard, Anne Williams, Cindy Griffin and Shane Benson of Mountainside Physical Therapy, Jennifer Heverly, Sylvie Rowand of Laughing Duck, Brooke Parkhurst of Triple Oak Bakery, Molly Peterson, Ken Courtade, Van Scoyoc Associates, Little Washington Wellness & Spa, Patti Brennan, Jim Abdo and the White Moose Inn, Rosa Crocker, Karma by Erwin Gomez, Hi Soo Hepinstall, Ducard Winery, Barney O’Meara, Susie MacNelly, Susan Dienelt, Rosabel Goodman-Everad, Susan Raines, Steven Kenny, Ruthie Windsor-Mann, Anita “Zymolka” Amrhein, Ruth Anna Stolk, Gary Anthes, Nol Putnam, Hans Gerhard, Chris Stephens, Nedra Smith, Benita Gowen and Haley Fine Arts.
Upstairs in the transformed barn, the program began with an incredible performance by two vocalists fresh from the newly established Chorus Program, Sophia Hernandez and Kirsten Dalle Luca, directed by Keith Hudspeth. After a truly inspirational speech by Osha Kondori, RHS and Stanford University graduate who spoke of the “Permission to Dream” that the Headwaters Next Step program gave her. The Challenge grant for scholarships was an amazing success. Kathy Grove, on behalf of the Board of Directors, announced that due to the generosity of donors at past Taste of Rappahannocks — and in honor of the 20th Anniversary Headwaters was announcing an additional twenty $2,000 scholarships.
Thank you to the donors of some amazing auction items: Christine and Clifford Mumm, Caroline Anstey, Deanna and Chuck Akre and John and Diane MacPherson, Dayn smith and Nancy Moon of Glen Gordon Manor and Jennifer Manly. And another huge thanks to the generous bidders.
Our sponsors ensure the success of the event and we are eternally grateful to: Head of Class: Dee & Chuck Akre and Jennifer Manly, the Honor Roll: Paul Smith & Michael Dennis, Judith DeSarno, Jay Brown and Kevin Adams, Kathleen & Larry Grove, dot & Rick Lessard, Cheri Woodard Realty, Thom Pelikaan, Lila Helms & Michelle Benecke Bill Dant & Daniel Wilson, Diane & Lowell dodge, Union Bank & Trust, Steph Ridder & John Beardsley, Nedra & Huge Smith, Barbara & Matthew Black, John Jacquemin.
The night of the event there were nearly 100 volunteers working in the barn. How can we thank all of you? You prove how amazing this county is and how much support there is for the Rappahannock Public Schools. And then there was the day after — and turning that barn back into its usual self. The same team that made it all happen spent hours deconstructing. A special thanks to the Lions Club and the team from the Baptist Church led by The Reverend Walt Childress and Phyll Smith.
DeSarno is co-chair of the Headwaters Foundation board of directors; Brandriff is the foundation’s executive director