Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

“Festive Friday” In Cape Charles, VA”

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

DSC_7598Happily, there is still one more chance to experience a “Festive Friday” in Cape Charles this season ! Still one more chance, on December 22nd, to enjoy the beautiful and cheery shop windows along Mason Avenue and down Strawberry Street, all dressed to the nines for the holidays. Maybe shop for a unique piece of art at Lemon Tree or Ellen Moore Gallery, enjoy a savory gourmet dinner at Hook-U-Up or a steaming cup of hot chocolate at the popular Cape Charles Coffee House, sample the smooth balsamic vinegars at Drizzles, select your New Year’s Eve champagne at Gull Hummock, visit with a friendly agent at Blue Heron Realty, browse the gift shop at the beautiful, newly re-opened Northampton Hotel, check out the international offerings from Voiajer, take a horse and carriage ride and so much, much, much more ! You might even take time to drop in at the “North Pole” to tell Santa or Mrs. Claus ( aka the ever-effervescent Trina Veber ) what you want, what you really, really want, for Christmas this year ! And so, Merry Christmas to all and to all a Goodnight !

If you’ve never, ever been to a “Festive Friday” in Cape Charles, you probably don’t realize that it is so much more than just a few merchants staying open late each FridayDSC_7503 evening between Thanksgiving and Christmas. At its heart, it is the culmination of the hopes, dreams, efforts and financial investments of a myriad of individuals, businesses and organizations who believed that Cape Charles could rise like a Phoenix from the ashes of its post-ferry, post- railroad, essentially “post-everything” economic doldrums and become, once again, the dynamic little coastal town of its yesteryear, with well cared-for homes and bustling shops, a spirit of civic pride and a sense of fun. And not to get too, too sentimental, but when you think back to the near-derelict homes throughout town and the boarded-up stores along Mason Avenue that were still in existence even 5 years ago ( farewell McCrory’s and BeLo, hello Strawberry Station), the Cape Charles transformation from down-at-heel to sparkling restoration is truly inspiring.

DSC_7510So “Festive Friday” is the actualization of those aspirations rolled into 2017, into lots of happy folks strolling down the street at 8 pm on a windy, cold December Friday evening, beautifully decorated shops serving smiling customers, clever street performers doing their entertaining thing, lively songs of the Christmas carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides, delicious gourmet dinners and free holiday movies at the Palace Theatre. And, of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus, greeting excited little kids eager to shyly whisper their Christmas wishes. “Festive Friday” is truly like a 1000 points of new light, illuminating historic downtown Cape Charles, amazing and wonderful!!

 

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The 7th Annual Grand Illumination And Golf Cart Parade In Cape Charles, VA

Friday, December 8th, 2017

DSC_7178The 2017 Annual “Grand Illumination” kicked off the official start of the holiday season in Cape Charles, VA last Saturday evening with the 7th Annual “Grand Illumination” in Central Park. This community event was originated in 2010 by Citizens for Central Park and was hosted for many years by Chris Bannon of Sea Gate BnB ( aka Mr. Cape Charles ) as its delightful Master of Ceremonies. A newish addition to these festivities, the “Golf Cart Parade”, started just a few years ago with 11 participating carts. It grew and grew into this year’s dazzling parade of 33 golf carts, all gussied up, resplendent with lights and ornaments, smiling drivers and laughing passengers. Happy to note that Blue Heron Realty’s cart participated again this year for a 2nd time – – looking good, Blue Heron guys and gals !

By tradition, Christmas carols were sung by the gathered crowd, candles were lit and held aloft by the audience in memory ofDSC_7112 loved ones, hundreds of points of light, quite beautiful piercing the darkness of Central Park. And then, with a flip of a switch by the Mayor, thousands of lights on the Gazebo and on all the Park’s trees glowed brilliantly in the dark, a very Grand Illumination ! Afterwards, a jolly Santa Claus took Christmas requests from dozens of children whose heads would soon, no doubt, be dancing with visions of sugarplums. All this made cheerier under a bright moonlit sky, almost but not quite, the vaunted Super Moon, but very special nevertheless.

 

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The 15th Annual Eastern Shore of Virginia Artisan’s Guild Holiday Tour. A Real Pleasure, Always !

Friday, December 1st, 2017

DSC_6979If an event has been on going for 15 years and counting, it’s a pretty sure bet that its been very successful and is back yearly by popular demand. Such is clearly the case for the traditional Eastern Shore of Virginia Artisan’s Guild Holiday Tour held annually on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year was another delight and a terrific opportunity to shop for unique gifts, large or small, for those special people in your life.

From little items like the adorably cute “mismatched” sox from Ten Good Sheep or a bottle of luscious Chardonnay from Chatham Winery to strikingDSC_7004 handcrafted furniture at Windsor Chair to gorgeous paintings and jewelry at Lemon Tree Gallery, plus lots of creative offerings from artists too numerous to mention at the many other venues, Tour 2017 shone with the multi-talents of our many Eastern Shore artists. ( Including that so-cute and so-silky herd from By The Bay Alpacas who gave their wool that others might purchase hand- woven super- soft scarves and more ! )

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And, even though not on the official Tour and time was short, we took a moment, after a quick lunch at the always- delicious Janet’s Cafe in Onancock, to drop in at the gallery of Danny Doughty. We love to check out his latest work and his always elegantly decorated Christmas tree. Wrapped up our day in Cape Charles at Lemon Tree Gallery which has a most impressive collection, showing variety of work from artists all over the Shore. By then, nearly sunset, can’t help myself, it was down to the beach for yet another shot of the ever- photogenic LOVE sign before heading home. Tour 2017 over – – but there is always next year !

 

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From Eastern Shore Virginia, A Holiday Time Travel To The Amazing Williamsburg Colonial Restoration Area

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

DSC_6870For history buffs, the Eastern Shore of Virginia offers a cornucopia of delights- – our discovery and colonization in the early 1600’s, the trove of Colonial documents in the Eastville courthouse, the repository of the oldest continuous records in the US, the Arlington Plantation historic site, the Pear Valley yeoman’s cottage with a chimney brick dated 1631, our hundreds of historic homes lovingly restored and maintained. So it’s only natural that folks from the Shore feel a special kinship with that amazing re-creation of life in Colonial times, the Historic Area in Williamsburg, Virginia. Especially at the holidays.

 

 

To me, few things say holiday spirit and Yule tide decoration like the amazing all-natural wreaths and swags to be found on every door of every building in theDSC_6807 Historic Area. So, as often as possible, we try to have our traditional family turkey/stuffing/trimmings Thanksgiving dinner, complete with kids, grandkids and now, great grandkids, on Wednesday evening. Then, on Thanksgiving Day, hubby and I plus Eldest Daughter, etc. have lunch in Williamsburg at one of the old Taverns or at the gorgeously decorated Lodge.

DSC_6791One of the great things about living on the Eastern Shore is its central location- -we are so close to so many great places. So a trip to Williamsburg is a zip, zip of less than 2 hours, easy peasy. But when you arrive, it’s like stepping out of a time capsule, immediately drawn into a Colonial world, complete with horse drawn carriages, sheep grazing on the village green and residents going about their day dressed in long woolen cloaks, beribboned bonnets and tri-corn hats.

But first, lunch. From the many buffet choices, including a savory white bean bisque with fennel and sausage, a DSC_6760delicious roast pork with figs and new potatoes plus a myriad of salads, cheeses and charcuterie galore in between, lunch at The Lodge was truly delightful. The only thing I shall mention about the amazing dessert table is that the gingerbread with custard sauce was divine, exceeded only by the demi-tasse cups of decadent hot chocolate. Enough said, it was great !

DSC_6851But the big event of The Day is always the walk afterwards down Duke of Gloucester Street to see the wreaths. After all these years, I still love it as much as I did the very first time we came. The beauty of the decorations, the pine fragrance of all the greenery, the smoke from the bonfire, the cadence of the horse carriages as they travel down the street, the friendly dogs taking their masters for a walk, the excitement of the kids as the cannon booms, the smiling faces all around – – this says holiday to me.

 

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25 Years Later Still Going Strong- – The C.B.E.S. Annual Eastern Shore VA Bike Tour!

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

DSC_5861The annual “Between the Waters” Bike Tour sponsored by CBES, Citizens For A Better Eastern Shore, is one of the largest eco-tourism events held annually on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. This event is capped at 1000 participants and was again sold out this year which marks the event’s 25th Anniversary. The 2017 weekend actually began on Friday afternoon with a “Fun Ride” from Nassawadox into the surrounding neighborhoods. The official Tour start was from Sunset Beach Resort, with the 100 Mile Ride kicking off as the rooster crowed at 7:30 am. We arrived about 8:30 and registration was very brisk for the 25, 40 and 60 mile Rides as folks checked in and picked up their route info. In another corner of the room, raffle tickets were being sold for the original of the striking and vibrant Bethany Simpson painting which was commissioned to represent the Shore for this year’s Tour

Smiling bikers swirled around the room, selecting a treat or two from the complementary snack bar offerings of fruits, muffins, etc., trying to consume a last DSC_6086bit of energy before setting out to travel over hill and dale, traveling the Shore’s countryside. Oops, no hills and dales here, just delightfully flat terrain, easy on the legs, and a marvelous opportunity to enjoy the blue water vistas, serene fields and woodlands, the scenic views of autumn on the Shore.

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We set out to get some photos the 25 Mile Ride which took the bikers, peddling mostly on singles but some tandem bikes too plus a few recumbents, from a Sunset Beach departure. The route wound basically up the Seaside Road scenic byway, eventually to a crossover at Arlington Road with a rest and water break at a farm shed across from a field of ripe soybeans. From there, bikers pushed on past the Custis Tomb historic landmark on the Old Plantation Creek inlet and a pedal through the lovely little Chesapeake Bay neighborhood surrounding it, enjoying picturesque vistas of the Shore’s farms, woodlands and blue waters. The 25 Mile riders then headed south along Seaside Road back to Sunset Beach, then drove to Eastville for lunch. But the 40 Mile riders continued on north, with a rest stop at historic Travis Chapel near the harbor in Oyster, then north to a Rt. 13 crossing at Eastville’s Willow Oak Drive traffic light for lunch.

At picturesque Windrush Farm in Eastville, hungry bikers were treated to a rest and a boxed lunch of delicious assorted wraps, chips and fruit catered by wellDSC_6148 known Bill’s Restaurant in Chincoteague. Music and song entertainment by Nathan Travis & Company as well as plenty of tail wagging from a friendly dog with interesting face markings who was delighted to soak up much petting from just about everyone there. A little medic tent was on-site for those who might need it but fortunately there didn’t seem to be many in need. A volunteer with a pickup truck drove behind the bikers on each route, ready to help anyone with equipment or other problems but, fortunately, it didn’t seem like there were many of those problems either.

Clearly the real stars of this event are its many, many volunteers. I can only imagine the effort and organization it takes administratively to put on a 1000 participant Bike Tour each October. But on the actual day, the sheer number of volunteer “boots on the ground” needed to make the event run smoothly clearly is tremendous. From the Friday Fun Ride, to Saturday’s bustling registrations, pre-start helpers, all the different rest stops, the various lunch venues, etc., cheerful volunteers were there to make sure everything ran smoothly for the four different Rides. And run smoothly it did ! Plus special kudos to the Northampton County Sheriff’s Department and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel whose personnel stood out in Rt. 13 for hours on end to assure safe crossings over the highway because nothing can take the fun out of an event like an accident ! Crowned by the evening Oyster Roast, the 25th Anniversary Tour was over and now it’s onward to organizing the 26th !

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The 2nd Annual Northampton Agricultural Fair Was A Resounding Success!

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

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Put together oyster speed shucking, antique tractors, a petting zoo, the Side Porch Pickers band, Lion’s Club burgers and some guys and gals throwing cast iron skillets with all their might and what do you get ? The Annual Northampton County Agricultural Fair, of course ! Bigger and better than last year, The Fair Season 2 featured something for everyone and everyone was clearly enjoying the Fair. So many organizations and sponsors contributed to making this a wonderful event including ANEC, whose big bright yellow rig flew the flag at the entrance, the U.S. Coast Guard, The Nature Conservancy, Farm Bureau, VIMS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Shore Beekeepers Guild, Virginia Cooperative Extension, ES Community College and the Eastern Shore Library , to mention just a few. And a number of local artists and artisans came and set up shop for the day, with numerous unique creations for sale. ( We came away with an interesting Robert Bridges yard decoration, a very colorfully painted wooden rooster – – that doesn’t sound very exciting but I’m pretty sure the friend who is going to get it for her birthday is going to absolutely love it ! )

A lot of effort was expended to create numerous kid-friendly activities including face painting, a big bouncy house, pumpkin painting, sand box, hay rides, etc.DSC_5745 The little petting zoo was also very popular, and featured some very relaxed sheep who just kept on grazing midst the rough and tumble of being hugged, poked and petted by small and noisy strangers. Nearby, two sweet, patient cows just kept looking at folks with “what the heck is up with all this commotion ” expressions, letting out a soft moo or two every once in a while just to join the conversation.

DSC_5755Special events included an impressive antique tractor parade, a baking contest with some luscious looking pies and sweet potato biscuits to be judged, an oyster shucking contest and my personal favorite, the cast iron skillet throwing contest. Congrats to the oyster shucking champion, Buck Doughty, and lady’s skillet toss blue ribbon winner, Helene Doughty and Patrick Long, men’s skillet toss winner. Long shall they reign- – or until the 3rd Annual Northampton Ag Fair next October anyway !

 

 

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The 2017 Eastern Shore Virginia Birding and Wildlife Festival

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

DSC_5254For the past 25 years, on the first weekend in October, excited Birders throughout Virginia and nearby states flock to Virginia’s Eastern Shore to celebrate the annual Eastern Shore Birding and Wildlife Festival. As migrating birds fly south each fall, they are funneled into the narrow tip of the Shore so Northampton County is a truly critical part of the Atlantic Flyway. Each fall literally millions of songbirds and thousands of raptors migrate through our area, taking advantage of an important opportunity to feed and rest before continuing their long and difficult journey south. ( And not just birds, this is the time of year when beautiful clouds of butterflies, the gorgeous orange and black monarchs, float through on their way to tango in Mexico for the winter. )

The Festival headquarters were at Kiptopeke State Park and offered numerous activities including hikes, an DSC_5273evening “owl prowl”, bird banding, hawk observatory, kid’s craft activities, hay rides, information booths sponsored by numerous environmental groups — plus a surprise appearance by a stalwart Smokey the Bear ! The fascinating “Flight of the Raptor” show featured such fine feathered friends as Scooby Doo, a great horned owl, and Salim, a Lanner falcon. It was quite interesting to see these magnificent birds swoop and chase the lures presented to them by their trainer, and being carnivores, then munching on the attached rewards of raw chicken. Learned several interesting raptor facts … The leather hoods covering the birds heads are placed there by the falconer to help the birds relax. ( Who knew birds needed R&R ? ). Harris hawks work together to hunt their prey and are called the “wolves of the sky”. Peregrine falcons are some of the fastest birds on the planet and can reach an amazing 300 mph as they dive. Unlike most other birds, the raptor males are smaller, therefore faster than the females, making them more suited to their role as the hunters while the larger females are busy protecting the eggs in the nest. If a hawk is on the ground when it catches it’s prey, it spreads its wings around its catch to keep it safe from interlopers, called “manteling”.

DSC_5083Also integral to the Birding Festival fun are the wonderful boat tours originating from the harbors in Willis Wharf, Oyster and Wachapreague which meander out to the Barrier Islands to observe the shorebirds. Offered by various local tour captains, including Broadwater Bay EcoTours, Seaside Ecotours and Eastern Shore Adventures, these trips offer a fine vantage point to enjoy waterfront bird watching and present a unique opportunity for visitors to observe and photograph the many species of marsh, wading and shorebirds found in the marshes lining our waterways and out on the Barrier Islands.

 

 

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Clams, Carnivals, Chesapeake Cowboys And A Shriner’s Parade –The 3rd Annual “Shuck and Suck” Festival Weekend In Cape Charles, VA

Friday, August 11th, 2017

DSC_3807“Lots of fun” is how the town-wide 2017 “Shuck” Festival in Cape Charles, VA last weekend is being described. Headlined by the Shriner’s Parade, a favorite part of the weekend — their crazy mini-cars and mini-tractor trailers are such fun and Shriners is a great organization that helps so many sick children, hats off to them !! And of course “kids” of all ages loved the Fireman’s Carnival.

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Over on King’s Creek at the Oyster Farm, several very popular contests pitted numerous talented challengers against last year’s winners, including a clam eating competition, the much anticipated oyster eating contest, the daring Smith Island Skiff race, a cornhole championship, and, of course, the exciting “Chesapeake Cowboys” boat docking competition. New this year, a “Chesapeake Cowgirls” docking contest too. Way to go, ladies!! Lots of lively music out on C-Pier as well as under the main tent, some line dancing going on too. At the Town Harbor, the tall sailing ship Virginia was back in port offering Chesapeake Bay sunset cruises. To top it off, a lively fireworks display at the Oyster Farm. Definitely it was a jam-packed weekend!

 

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Celebrating the Fourth of July, 2017 In Cape Charles, Virginia

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

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On July 3, 1776, John Adams told his wife Abigail that when Independence Day came, it should be celebrated with ” pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports… and Illuminations.” Then, voila’, on July 4,1776, the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and as a country, we’ve never looked back ! Now, in 2017, on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, the historic little coastal town of Cape Charles, VA celebrated America’s 241st Independence Day with the very same traditions John Adams wished for… and more ! This year, the festivities kicked off at 10am with the traditional Parade, the best ever in my book, led by the Color Guard from the US Coast Guard Station Cape Charles.

 

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The Cape Charles Parade is always a marvelous combination of local pageantry, floats, banners, fire company trucks with air horns blasting a loud ” howdy”, antique tractors and cars, horses, kids on bikes, motorcycles, decorated golf carts, etc., from local organizations, clubs and individuals. They march enthusiastically down Bay and Mason Avenues, tossing candy, beads and even a few yellow rubber duckies to the appreciative spectators lining the streets cheering them on ! This year, however, the parade within the parade, the Golf Cart Parade, was truly amazing ! Golf cart entries were dressed to the nines, red, whites and blues galore, flags, balloons, Pom-poms, streamers, banners, signs, Uncle Sam top hats, creativity shone everywhere. Since they are street-legal in Cape Charles, many residents own electric golf carts and a little friendly competition among neighbors resulted in dozens and dozens of fantastic cart entries this year, all the better to enjoy the Parade !

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After the Parade, it was on to the arts and crafts tents and food vendors out on Bay Avenue by the beach. Lots of fun stuff to see and buy. Business was brisk at the Italian Ice stand and yummy aromas wafted from the taco tent and the shrimp po boy tent, with nearby hot dog and burger venders ladling on mustard and ketchup at a fast pace too. Down at the Gazebo, Mistress of Ceremonies, perennial favorite Trina Veber, announced all the Parade winners, including best golf cart float which celebrated the now-extinct Cape Charles ferry and best Novelty entry, awarded to Reid Diggs, who drove his boat-into-a-car conversion in the Parade.

 

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Next up on the events schedule, the “Guppie Challenge”, a fishing tourney for kids, held out on the Cape Charles Fun Pier and sponsored by New Roots. Seemed to be lots of entries, excited kids milling around the LOVE sign, waiting for parents to finish the sign ups. And right next door, the medical assistance tent in case anyone got hooked by their hook… or whatever ! Teams were registering for beach volleyball and the corn hole contest. ( If you’ve never seen Corn Hole played, it’s a pretty simple set-up, a wide tilted board with round holes cut through it, hence the name corn hole ). The object of the game is to toss little bean bags through the not-much-bigger-than-the-bean-bag holes. One of those things that sounds easy but in practice is complicated, no doubt a metaphor for life in these days. ) Out on the Gazebo, live music all day and into the evening, keeping everybody rocking and rolling through sunset and last light.

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My young great-grandkids love the fireworks on the 4th of July best of all. As soon as darkness starts to fall, it’s like a road trip — but instead of “are we almost there ?”, it’s “are they going to start soon? ” Meantime, I’m still fooling with camera settings, hoping to get a few good shots of the fireworks, which seems always to be a challenge. Suddenly, the first loud booms and the crackly sizzles of lacy sparklers. Then oohs and ahhs, the squeals of sheer delight, wide young eyes staring at the sky with amazement as brilliant colors and shapes streak upwards, illuminating the darkness, then fading, softly falling back towards earth. Each seemingly more beautiful than the one before, going on and on and on, until the spectacular Grand Finale, the always perfect conclusion to a marvelous 4th, a Cape Charles 4th !!

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First Annual Live Auction At Lemon Tree Gallery And Studio

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

Crowds Looking at Art 2Another exciting  “First Of ” event in Cape Charles,VA  kicked off recently with the “1st Annual Live Art Auction” hosted by the Lemon Tree Gallery and Studio in Cape Charles to benefit Experimental Film Virginia.  At the door, attendees were greeted with a sparkling limoncello prosecco cocktail before moving on to the registration table (manned by Blue Heron’s own Luisa Gazzolo), then flowing into the main gallery to view the tables laid out with the myriad works on auction. Entitled the “Sail On Sale” and sponsored by GEAR ( Global Exchange Arts Roundtable, a 501 (c)3 non-profit led by Renata Sheppard, daughter of Clelia Sheppard ), the Silent Auction and the Live Auction proceeded simultaneously.

 

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Ranada and Pink Art

Well-known names such as David Turner, Christine Harris,  Anne Bois and dozens of other talented local artists donated 100% of auction proceeds from the sale of their work to GEAR. Pieces ranged from embroidered wall hangings, oil paintings, prints and carvings to exquisite blown glass, jewelry and bronze sculpture. Gift baskets, a romantic weekend getaway, etc., even an eye procedure, were donated by local businesses for this event. Item # 4, a cocktail party at Lemon Tree Gallery for 20 guests including live music, beer, wine, mixed drinks plus cheese and antipasto platters resulted in some fast paced bidding action.

 

 

 

 

Beautiful CrabRanada showing pottery piece

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Crowd and Stage

Several of the donating artists present were coaxed to take the stage while their works were being sold, including Melinda Blanchard, who paints amazing pet portraits. During her item’s bidding, Rosilina, Clelia’s super-soft, super-cuddly long haired dachshund, whose portrait is featured on Melinda’s brochure, made a surprise appearance on stage to the delight of the audience. Auctioneer William Summs kept the bidding lively throughout and by the end of the evening over $5000 had been raised to support this year’s crop of experimental filmmakers. Concluding with musical entertainment by Bruce Brinkley and Scott Wade, it was definitely a delightful evening. Much fun was had by all — especially by the successful bidders!

 

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Signing up for Photos

P.S. A group of nearly 50 experimental filmmakers who will be accepted by GEAR for its 2017 program will arrive here in July and spend 2 weeks living in Cape Charles, creating unique 3-5 minute films centered on the Shore. And the public will be able to see the results when their films are premiered on July 15th at the Palace Theatre. So save the date on your calendar, it’s going to be an interesting evening.