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Towns & Villages Column by Billie VanPay

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Wednesday, Mar. 12, 2014
Bluemont Fair Seeks Posters
The Bluemont Fair has grown tremendously through the years in the number of vendors, new and innovative exhibits, special resources and unusual experiences for all ages. Attendance has grown as a consequence. It has become one of the most fun weekend events for the family in Western Loudoun. Many visitors plan their calendars to accommodate the fair each fall, and preparations have begun already for the event on September 20 and 21, 2014.

Organizers invite artists of all ages and abilities to submit designs for consideration as the logo for this year’s poster and brochure. According to Deborah Snyder, Media Committee Contact, the theme this year is “Bald Eagles of Bluemont” as these birds, once threatened with extinction, have been sighted recently in and around the village – to the community’s delight.

Submitted designs should be rendered simply and with minimal color to facilitate replication on Bluemont Fair’s distinctive poster, t-shirt, mug and other items. The winning artist’s name will be printed on the poster and his/her work acknowledged in the fair’s brochure and publicity.

All artwork must be received by May 1, 2014, and mailed to: Bluemont Fair Logo/Poster Design Competition, P.O. Box 217, Bluemont, Virginia, 20135. Those requesting return of their submission should also include a self-addressed, stamped mailing receptacle. For further information or to arrange an in-person delivery of your entry, call (540) 554-2367, visit Bluemont Fair on Facebook, or visit http://www.BluemontFair.org .

Middleburg Arts Council

Artists are invited to take part in another event this spring. The Middleburg Arts Council (MAC) is sponsoring a town-wide arts celebration, “Art in the Burg” on Saturday, April 26, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event will also include music, wine tastings, plein air artists, curator tours at the National Sporting Library & Museum and more. Last year’s event included over 40 artists.

Artists who want to participate should send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with the subject “Art Pod Artist” and your information. Submission deadline is March 20, 2014. For more details, visit .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

MAC is inviting the community to another event. The council is having a reception Friday, March 14, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Home Farm Store, 1 East Washington Street, for the unveiling of the Shakespeare in the ‘Burg flag which was designed by Brian Whelan, a local artist from Bluemont. The Farm Home Store will offer wine, ciders or beer, along with local artisan foods, which is the store’s regular weekly “Sips and Snacks” activity.

Middleburg’s inaugural Shakespeare in the ‘Burg Festival will take place April 4-6. This festival will include two performances by the renowned American Shakespeare Center, stagecraft and acting workshops, a movie night and a performance of the winning play in a play writing competition. Tickets for the festival will be sold at the reception at the Farm Home Store. For more information visit the website www.shakespeareintheburg.com.
Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013
Middleburg served shoppers on its sidewalks
The town of Middleburg just held its seventh annual Upscale Sidewalk Sale. The sidewalks, stores, restaurants were all full of shoppers, and there were great bargains everywhere.

Just walking the sidewalks took a little maneuvering because of the crowds. The whole event was busy,, hectic, and fun. Neighbors and friends mixed with tourists – all shopping for the bargains.

However, there was one quiet peaceful place.

It's quite unusual for a small book store to compete with the larger national book stores around the country and the Internet now, but Second Chapter Book Store has remained open and is doing well.

Kathy Jo Shea established the shop with Jilann Brunett to accommodate those who love to read, and it's one of those cozy places, neat and clean, with hundreds of choices, and most of all, it is convenient to the Middleburg community.

Friday, Aug. 2, because the book signing at Goodstone Inn the previous evening had such a great response, Second Chapter Books held a second signing for Karin Tanabe's first book, "The List."

If you like the television series "House of Cards,” you may want to read Tanabe's book. According to her publisher, you will meet "… Adrienne Brown, a 28-year-old Wellesley College grad who recently left her glamorous job at Town and Country for a spot at the Capitolist. Known simply as The List to Beltway insiders, it's the only media outlet in D.C. that's actually on the rise.

"Taking the job means accepting a painful pay cut, giving up perks like free Louboutins, and moving back in with her parents, but Adrienne is certain that her new position will be the making of her career."

The book is totally captivating. Tanabe had the insider experience at Politico of watching media and politics collide.

Those who want to read all about it can buy a copy at Second Chapter Books, 10 Liberty St., Middleburg, or by calling (540) 687-7016.

Back on the busy sidewalks in Middleburg during the sale, Marilyn Bigelow, was there greeting friends and visitors alike at Tully Rector.

Those who live in the community know she is one of the fashion experts who can tell you every day of every season what's in and what's not. The racks there were a shopper's delight.

Duchessa was one of the busiest shops. Robin Cavanagh, the owner who is another voice of experience in fashion, was as busy as a bee helping customers.

The shop has added a line of men's clothing this past year. Too, many of the community will like to hear that June Thompson is working at Duchessa now.

Both Pam Rimes and June Thompson have had tragic circumstances recently, and perhaps they both chose to work at Duchessa as the shop's owners are known for their big hearts and compassion.

Olio had a tasting table set up in its little cove with olive oils, vinegars and sea salts. This is one of the newer shops in town, and it has become immensely popular by offering something completely different and new in the town's market.

Up the street on the corner at Washington and Madison, one of the most gracious atmospheres in any store is led by one of the most gracious people working in Middleburg -- Emily Tabachka, general manager of the Home Farm Store. (Isn't that always the way; graciousness is contagious.)

The Ayrshire Farm's butcher shop and grocery store features U.S.- and Virginia-sourced products -- from seasonal produce, wine, cider, honey, jam, home-made goods and fresh sandwiches to custom cut-steaks and chops, as well as an assortment of prepared foods.

The beef, pork, veal, chicken and turkey products are all certified humane and certified organic. Call Emily at (540) 687-8882 for special orders.

On the west end of Washington Street, there were crowds around Betsey's. With Lisa Capraro as manager/owner that store is always busy.

Most shoppers enjoy going into the store just to chat and look; the staff there is always cheerful and accommodating.

On the same block, Mary Garvin who is new in Middleburg and works at Middleburg Collectibles, said this business is doing well, that it just had a very successful month. The store plans to stay open, and is making plans for the coming year.

If you missed this sale, watch for the next one. It's a fun and profitable shoppers' event worth time and effort. Meet with the Middleburg Business and Professional Association Sept. 13, 5:30 p.m., at the Community Center to hear more about Middleburg's business community.
Wednesday, Jul. 31, 2013
Foxcroft School names new dormitory
It's the end of summer. Almost daily, a new announcement comes out about activities for everyone in the final weeks before school starts again. There is building going on, too.

Just in time for new students, Foxcroft School will open Stuart Hall. The school's news release announced Thursday, July 25, "… its newest building, a $10.3 million and 'green' dormitory scheduled to open with the new school year, has been named Stuart Hall. The honor of naming the building, which will house up to 50 students and three faculty families, went to Nan Stuart, Class of 1971, as the major donor to the project.

Stuart Hall is the third major construction project completed by Foxcroft in the past five years.

A $14.5 million athletic and student center opened in 2010, just a year after a new maintenance facility was unveiled. Impressively, the school has accomplished all this despite difficult economic times for the country and without going into debt.

Situated on the east end of the campus, between Dillon and Reynolds dormitories, Stuart Hall is Foxcroft's first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building. It uses geothermal wells for efficient heating and cooling and regional and recycled materials for many of its components.

Environmentally-friendly guidelines and practices have been incorporated on many levels.

When it opens, students and visitors will be able to monitor the building's energy use on a video monitor. As other dormitories are refurbished, they too will have monitors, opening the way for friendly rivalries among the residents over energy efficiency. Stuart Hall will be dedicated on Saturday, Sept. 28.

There is another building under major construction in Middleburg, the town's library.

According to Denis Cotter, who has chaired the project from the beginning, "Sully Construction has just finished building the new addition, which has doubled the size of the library. It is now 4,540 square feet. Now they are busy rehabbing the old part of the facility.

"The library is closed at the moment for three weeks while this work is going on. It is planned to be back in business in mid-August. The grand opening ceremony is scheduled for Saturday after Labor Day, Sept. 7, at 9:30 a.m. Thanks so much to our wonderful donors who made this possible."

Equally important is the new safety program the Middleburg Police Department is promoting, Crosswalk Safety.

Virginia DMV during the past five years reported on average 1,511 pedestrians injured in motor vehicle crashes. As a result, Chief A. J. Panebianco said, "The police department will be focusing on crosswalk safety during the next couple of months. The program 'Save Lives…Not Seconds' is an educational effort to make drivers and pedestrians aware of the requirements for crosswalks in the Commonwealth.

"In short, we want drivers to be aware of the crosswalks and to slow as they approach. Look for pedestrians in or entering them. We want pedestrians to understand that drivers may not see them, and they cannot just step in front of a car.

"It goes further to address handicapped pedestrians, children and covers some statistics.

"When in Middleburg, please slow down and remember the few seconds you save by rushing at a crosswalk may be the last seconds of someone's life."

There are other important events that community members in western Loudoun may want to put on their calendars.

One is the Middleburg seventh annual August sidewalk sale on Aug. 2-4 sponsored by Union First Market Bank.

The second, Middleburg Art in the Park at the Pink Box, will be Saturday, Aug. 3 from 1 to 6 p.m.

The Middleburg Business and Professional Association will sponsor an "Employee Appreciation Reception" Tuesday, Aug. 13, at the Middleburg Community Center.

The Unison Community invites everyone to its Unison Preservation Society meeting, Friday, Aug. 9, 7:30 p.m., at the Unison Store. Thanks to Dr. Betsee Parker, the store is being converted into a community center.
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