The Rapp for Oct. 11

Fear the blight

Boxwood blight, an easily transmittable fungal disease with no known cure, has reared its ugly head in the town of Washington and elsewhere in Rappahannock County. What was described as an emergency community meeting was held at Town Hall in Washington late Wednesday afternoon, where expert advice was provided on ways to prevent the blight and properly dispose of affected shrubs, the most susceptible being English and American boxwoods.

The Rappahannock News will report on the blight, first identified in Virginia in 2012, in next week’s editions.

The doe-si-doe

“What’s not to love about a square dance?” asks Sharon Pierce, president of Rapp at Home. “You don’t have to know how to dance, you don’t even have to be coordinated — the caller teaches the dances, they’re not complicated, and nobody’s criticizing anybody, we’re all just there to have fun. Young and old, single or with your partner, y’all come!”

Sharon’s referring to the community square dance on Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Sperryville Fire Hall.

“Leave your signs at the door,” quips Sperryville farmer and School Board member Rachel Bynum. Meaning, a square dance is for the whole community, a time for enjoying all the reasons we like each other, rather than dwelling on all the possibilities for disagreement. “It’s a great family event. We need more of those.”

“Maybe this is a small step toward bringing Rappahannock, a place we all love, a little closer together,” says Matthew Black of RAAC. “It’s hard to doe-si-doe and not smile.”

“Plus,” adds Pierce, “it’s great exercise, I don’t care who you are. Our caller, DeLaura Padovan, says she can even accommodate wheelchairs!”

The band is Rappahannock’s own Mudlarks, accompanied by the fantastic fiddler Steve Hickman, so the music should be good, old-fashioned dancing and listening tunes. The fire hall has a great wooden dance floor and the atmosphere is casual. Tickets are $15 each or $25 for two, and students are free. Light snacks and cider are provided and wine and beer are available for purchase. Optional beginner’s lessons are from 6:15 to 7 p.m. if you want to refresh your dance moves.

Pierce and Black, on behalf of Rapp at Home and RAAC, the dance sponsors, emphasize that this is a community-wide event for all. So, young or old, Democrat or Republican, and whether or not you’re in favor of that bike trail, come on the 20th to the Sperryville Fire Hall for some great music, good times and family fun.

Become a master

Old Rag Master Naturalists will offer a basic training class (limited to 15) starting in March 2019 and running for 14 weeks, but the deadline to register is soon! The class will be held at the VFW in Culpeper on Route 522. Cost for the classes, field trips and materials will be $170, payable by check at the first class.

Master Naturalists work on citizen science projects, educational outreach to the community and help with conservation of natural resources and public lands. The Old Rag chapter is based here in the Piedmont, and is supported by Virginia Tech and various sponsors that are involved in conservation and land management.

Visit and click on the “Become a Master Naturalist” page, where information regarding the training classes and an application form is found. Once completed the application should be emailed to:

One can also mail it to Roberta Jalbert, 481 Malvern Drive, Madison, VA 22727. Phone 540-407-0552. Applications will be accepted until Oct. 30, so don’t delay!

Tour on video

An impressive video anticipating the 14th Annual Fall Art Tour with Artists of Rappahannock is now posted for viewing on the tour’s website,

“This new video, by Roger Piantadosi with voiceover by Barbara Black, does a nice job describing and showing what a nice autumn art experience the Fall Art Tour has become,” notes volunteer Bud Meyer. “Best part is how it features so many of the Rappahannock artists who make the tour so intriguing.”

The video adds vivid detail and shows dozens of the more than 40 studios and galleries to be displayed on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 3 and 4. The peak-autumn experience combines fine art with a self-guided drive through Rappahannock County and obviously some of the East Coast’s most spectacular scenery.

The two-day juried event, hosted by RAAC, features 34 studios and 10 galleries hosting more than 100 artists. A fee of $10 admits participants to all of the sites for both days, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Learn more from Tim Ayers or Bud himself at

Black baseball era

Back in the day, a local Rappahannock ball field was the place to be for African Americans on Sunday afternoons. And not just any ball field — or Rappahannock County teams, for that matter.

Excluded from playing baseball with whites, Rappahannock blacks would root for their own home teams — the Sperryville Tigers and the Washington Monarchs.

Black baseball teams were common throughout Virginia during segregation.

That said, our own Scrabble School Preservation Foundation is presenting Darrell Howard, author of “Sunday Coming: Black Baseball in Virginia,” for a book talk on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 4 p.m. If you haven’t been there yet, the historic Scrabble School is located at 111 Scrabble Road, just a short distance from Route 522 near Scrabble.

Organizers urge Rappahannock residents to bring photos and memories of the era of black baseball in the county. The author will sign copies of his book (pre-purchased). A second printing is forthcoming. Refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Nan Butler Roberts at 540-661-2013 or email Website:

Christmas parade

A reminder that the deadline to apply to march (or ride or gallop) in the Little Washington Christmas Parade is Tuesday, Nov. 6. The parade will be held on Sunday, Dec. 2.

To complete the application process, contact Caroline Anstey at or phone 540-692-5155

Larger Union

Union Bankshares Corp. and Access National Corp. — their respective banks, in other words — have entered into an agreement for Union to acquire Access in an all-stock transaction. Combining the two bank companies will create the leading Virginia-based regional bank.

The combined company, which includes the already Access-acquired Middleburg Bank, would have total assets of $16 billion, total deposits of almost $12 billion and gross loans of $11.4 billion.

“We expect that our combined footprint will bring additional convenience to our customers and position us as an even stronger competitor against the large national banks, super regional banks and smaller community banks alike — solidifying our position as Virginia’s bank,” said John C. Asbury, president and CEO of Union.

Tourism is up

Virginia’s international visitation reached 1.1 million in 2017, with overseas visitors spending nearly $2 billion in the state. Virginia welcomed 2.7 percent more international visitors in 2017 than 2016, surpassing the U.S. growth rate of 1.3 percent, while visitor spending soared from $1.7 billion to a record-breaking $1.9 billion.

Overseas visitation to Virginia grew at an even faster rate — 6.9 percent for the commonwealth compared to 3.2 percent for the United States.

Almost half of our international travelers come from Canada, 25 percent from Europe, and 15 percent from the Asia Pacific Region.

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