Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

The Sky Was Blue And Hearts Were Sunny For The Annual Shuck and Suck Oyster Festival…

Monday, August 20th, 2018

DSC_2631The Shuck and Suck Oyster Festival on Virginia’s Eastern Shore has something for everyone, landlubbers and mariners alike. On the land side, the Shriner’s Parade is the big attraction. Shriners are known for mixing fun with good works, a laudable life balance and last Saturday morning they delighted kids and adults alike at the annual Shriner’s Parade down Mason Avenue in Cape Charles, a big part of this colorful Festival. Led by the color guard from the USCG station, followed by Mayor Smitty Dize and local Fire Department vehicles ( including the impressive tanker truck aptly named “Big Water” ), the Shriners brought a sense of joy and lightheartedness to a beautiful breezy summer morning. The little cars and little trucks are personal favorites, the incongruity of seeing these great big guys zooming around in these teeney, tiny vehicles absolutely tickles my funny bone.

 

DSC_2613Of course, the cause they are marching to raise awareness of is deadly serious. The Shriner’s mission is to support the 22 Shriner’s Hospitals which sponsor cutting edge research and offer innovative medical care to children suffering from acute burns, serious orthopedic problems, lip and cleft palate and spinal injuries. For children in need, it’s provided absolutely free of charge. So it was great to see them in Town again Saturday, their own Color Guard, the clowns, the tall pirate ship, the HeeHaw gang, antique cars, motorcycle contingent and of course the big guys driving the tiny cars and tractor trailers, all parading down Bay and Mason Avenues to the applause of the crowds gathered along the route to cheer them on.

 

 

Although the Parade is a big part of the Annual Shuck and Suck Oyster Festival, over at Oyster Farm Marina, the Smith Island Skiff races featuring tiny skiffs racing at amazing speeds along a difficult course in King’s Creek, the Annual Boat Docking contest, Oyster and Clam Eating Contests, numerous bands, fireworks are huge favorites and generate lots of excitement each year. So if you missed it this year, mark it on your August calendar for next, loads of fun to be had for all.

 

 

 

 

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The 1st Annual Honey Fest At Quail Cove Farms

Monday, July 16th, 2018

IMG_1320Lots of rhythm-keeping, toe-tapping and goody-munching happening over at Quail Cove Farms in Machipongo last Saturday at its 1st Annual Honey Fest. As the talented Side Porch Pickers picked away, wowing the crowd with bluegrass favorites, folks circulated up and down Quail Cove’s attractive new porch, checking out all the goings-on. Plenty of goodies were on offer including lovely little tea & honey flavored Parisian-style macaroons, honey butter, honey flan cakes, honey peanut butter, tasty honey mini-donuts and more. Plus some unique bars of honey and milk soap, very soothing ! And of course, jars and jars and jars of sunshine in a jar, pure golden honey in all sizes. The “Honey Guy” we see at the Cape Charles Farmer’s Market was even there with a little sampling jar of his delectable local Eastville honey. Yum !

Pony rides, a little petting zoo with curious, friendly sheep and a goat plus a bucket of corn to hand-feed them, aDSC_1954 Bouncy House plus an Activities Tent all kept kids involved in the fun. For those who got the serious munchies, Gordo’s Taqueria Truck could definitely satisfy cravings for spicy and delicious. And of course, Quail Cove was doing a brisk business at the inside store featuring the organic and natural foods and produce its famous for, especially their Amish Country cheeses, etc. Thanks Quail Cove Farms, a great idea, a very pleasant afternoon, looking forward to a 2nd Annual Honey Fest next year.

 

 

 

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ONCE AGAIN, THE CAPE CHARLES 4th OF JULY PARADE WAS A REALLY HUGE SUCCESS !

Monday, July 16th, 2018

DSC_0854The Cape Charles Independence Day Parade is always a marvelous combination of local pageantry, creative floats, colorful banners, fire company trucks with air horns blasting a loud ” howdy”, antique tractors, vintage cars, high stepping horses, kids on bikes, motor scooters, skateboards, resplendently decorated golf carts and energetic marchers representing local organizations, clubs and individuals. And this year was no exception ! Led by the Color Guard from the VFW, marchers enthusiastically paraded down Bay Avenue and over to Mason Avenue, tossing candy, colorful strands of beads and even a few yellow rubber duckies to all the kids and appreciative spectators lining the streets cheering them on !

And the Parade within the Parade, the Golf Cart Parade, was truly amazing this year, with the mostDSC_0909 participants I’ve ever seen ! Golf carts, dozens, dozens and dozens more, were dressed to the nines, red, whites and blues galore, flags of all sizes, balloons, Pom-poms, streamers, banners, signs, Uncle Sam top hats. Creativity shone everywhere. With golf carts being street-legal in Cape Charles, lots of Town residents have their very own electric golf carts and a little friendly competition among neighbors has resulted in some fancy and fantastic cart entries, all the better to enjoy this annual Parade ! Can hardly wait till July 4th, 2019 !

 

 

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Bravo To All Those Who Made The Palace Theatre’s Recent Dance Production of “The Legend of A Tree” Possible !

Friday, June 15th, 2018

I’m not sure why I was surprised. But I was expecting just your standard dance recital, nothing special, the “clap for everyone’s child and go mad for one’s own” version. Sunday matinee at the Palace Theatre in Cape Charles, there to cheer on my youngest granddaughter, Jessica, who we knew was going to be a “bluebell”, whatever that entailed, knowing that she had been working really hard on her performance. Running late, we slid into our seats just as the house lights faded and the stage set was revealed. A simple set but striking, a painted backdrop of an enormous tree at the edge of a beautiful park. And the audience mood came alive as the music cued, the narration began and the lead dancer appeared on stage in lovely costume. From there the audience was pulled headlong into a spirited performance by the Mara Ifju Dance Company of Shelia Cardano’s “The Legend of A Tree”, gliding gently into its fantasy world of peaceful meadow, pirouetting tulip, daisy and rose, dancing bluebells, cyclamen, honeysuckle, twirling sunflowers and, of course, the “nolia” tree.

Rarely have I initially expected so little of a performance and been surprised by enjoying it so much as with this program. From beginning to end, we loved it !IMG_9379 Music was key and the selections were perfect, familiar classical passages from Chopin, Beethoven, Bizet and Vivaldi, a little modern touch of Michael Jackson, but my personal favorites were pieces featuring the unique and haunting flutes from the Andes region of South America, a captivating sound. The choreography was well suited to the music selections and to individual dance talent. All the costumes were beautifully designed and so evocative of each flower. We especially loved the tap number, glitzy with bright green bowler hats contrasting with dark wardrobe, danced to the signature tune from A Chorus Line, “One”. And who wouldn’t have been captivated by the tiny Sunflowers, twirling in golden petals, and the teeny Fox and Rabbit, so cute !

DSC_0338_1So bravo, bravo to the Mara Ifju Dance Company and all its dancers ! You were great ! And hats off and thank-you to all the support staff, volunteers and donors who make a program like this possible. From countless hours spent on choreography and costume design to music recording, live piano accompaniment, scenery, make-up, lighting, sound, stage manager and crew, box office and more, It Takes A Town to create a production like this ! And isn’t the Shore fortunate to have this amazing Theatre and so much local talent to perform there, lucky, lucky us !

 

 

 

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THE ART AND MUSIC FESTIVAL AT THE BARRIER ISLAND CENTER – – AN ANNUAL EASTERN SHORE MEMORIAL DAY TRADITION

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

DSC_0174The 2018 “Art and Music on the Farm” celebration in Machipongo at the distinctive Barrier Island Center was splendid, as always. Held Saturdays on Memorial Day weekends, this is one of the Virginia Eastern Shore’s most anticipated art events each year and not to be missed if you are looking for a unique gift, large or small, for others …. or, dare I say it, for oneself ! Or if you are a lover of traditional country and folk music, this year’s concerts on the Center’s West lawn were made better by the addition of a large tent to enable listeners to sit and relax in the shade as well as at the numerous umbrella- shaded tables provided. Featuring different music groups each year, interpretations of traditional Appalachian and folk music by the five bands this year were huge hits Saturday.

One of the most exciting aspects of this annual event is the sheer number and diversity of talented Shore artistsDSC_0038 and artisans it brings together in one spot. Sculpture, oil and watercolor painting, jewelry, decoy carving, ceramics, custom stuffed animals, woodworking, floral, pottery of all sorts, papier-mache’ figures, metal work, bronze casting, photography and more, something big or small, for everyone to love. I found an amazing gift for my husband for Father’s Day ( which I shan’t enumerate as he often reads these posts ), a Bethany Simpson painted magnet for my niece, a too-too cute blue and purple stuffed octopus from The Sheep Lady for my little great-grandson as well as some Mama Girl sand dollars for my daughter’s upcoming birthday. ( Thought about a Hogg Island fig tree from Island View Farms but decided to wait until Fall and look for one at the Cape Charles Farmer’s Market so as not have to water it through the summer.)

DSC_0114And what’s a celebration without food ? Nada ! So for all those who got the munchies, plenty of choices on offer. Kitchen Sync was there with lots of goodies including an aromatic jambalaya and luscious fresh strawberries in chantilly cream, the Cape Charles Lion’s Club offered sandwiches and crispy, salty fries, spicy gorditas could be found at the Taco Truck and folks lined up xx sausage tent. Beer, wine and iced coffee/tea/fresh lemonade purveyors offered their sublime chilled liquids of the day. A perfect day and a wonderful time, the weather was lovely, temperate and breezy, blue skies, puffy white clouds, golden sunshine. What more could one ask – – beautiful art, toe-tapping music, good food, cold drink, a stunning venue and a beautiful day, Art on the Farm, 2018 !

 

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The Center of the Lower Eastern Shore Universe

Monday, April 30th, 2018
DSC_9722On Saturday April 28th, it really did seem that Cape Charles, Virginia became the center of attention of the Lower Shore Universe. What an absolutely glorious, sunny day for all the events ! The New Roots Youth Garden to kicked off its 2018 growing season with its 7th annual Open Garden event, colorful balloons, flags and wind spinners beckoning folks in at the corner of Fig and Randolph ! Down on Mason Avenue, Cape Charles Candy Company was settling in for its 1st sweet weekend- – as a friend used to say, its just not possible to have too much good candy….. And further on down Mason, after a long, long, long winter, Brown Dog Ice Cream was celebrating Opening Weekend 2018, our fav goodie parlor was packed with ice cream lovers of all ages, plenty of delicious 2 or 3 scoop cones walking out the door and bobbing down the street in the golden sunshine. ( Favorite flavors were on offer plus some new ones including “Asteroid”, although , as usual, I opted for the wonderful milk chocolate, yet resisting the temptation to get more than 1 scoop ! )
But the really big event Saturday was the Eastern Shore’s 71st Annual Virginia Garden Week celebration. This year it was centered primarily in Cape Charles with theDSC_9723 Garden Club hosting Tours of 3 homes in the Historic District and 2 homes in Bay Creek Golf Resort. Leading off in the Historic District was majestic “Bayholme”, one of the grandest of the Grand Dames of Cape Charles. With large classical columns and an imposing portico, it overlooks the beachfront on Bay Avenue. The owner’s well-behaved dog was casually sitting on a prime spot on the front lawn, a keenly interested but aloof observer of the comings and goings around her, a charming snapshot, “Man’s Best Friend”, providing a sweet, quiet vignette in an otherwise busy day. Next, over to Six Tazewell Avenue, which to my eye has one of the most beautiful and shapely porches in all Cape Charles. And I love the motto enshrined on its wall, “Be Kind”, the perfect sentiment for today’s contentious world. Over on Mason Avenue, Tour goers were treated to sights of the Harbor from the Wilson Building’s 4th floor condo. Enlivened by the gentle murmur of street life in the shops and galleries below, it offered visitors amazing views out to the Chesapeake Bay and a chance to revel in gentle breezes and the warmth of a glorious Spring day.
Onward and upward, over The Hump and through the woods to “Tide’s Point”, an imposing new home with a gorgeous entry courtyard, located on a wide finger of Old Plantation Creek in the Plantation Pointe village in Bay Creek Golf Resort. From there, to the Heron Pointe village sited along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, featuring a delightful entrance pond and flowing waterfall, accentuated by a life sized bronze waterfowl sculpture. The garden tour’s open home, “Serenity”, is aptly named, located on a quiet cul-de-sac with views of quiet woodlands and water. Overall, an interesting day, with sunny skies and warm temperatures combining to make it memorable.
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HERALDING SPRING – – THE 39th ANNUAL CHINCOTEAGUE EASTER DECOY AND ART FESTIVAL

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

DSC_9302Saturday was such a beautiful and warm day, compared to most of what we have shivered through this March, that on the spur of the moment Saturday afternoon we decided to take a ride up to Chincoteague, VA to attend the Annual Chincoteague Decoy and Art Festival which is traditionally held the Friday and Saturday before Easter. The 2018 event was the 39th Annual, a real testament to the popularity of this delightful show which provides an important opportunity each Spring for local and national carvers, artists and photographers to exhibit and sell their works. And for art enthusiasts, it offers a wonderful chance to meet the artists and, in the case of some of the many carvers, observe them at work. It can be fascinating to watch someone with talent in the process of converting a plain old lump of wood into a work of art ! Attendees also have the opportunity to vote for the show’s “Best Carver” and “Best Artist” and to bid at two silent auctions.

Unfortunately, the show closed at 4pm, and we were running late, so we didn’t have as much time to tour the exhibits as I would’ve liked. DSC_9306But it was loads of fun nevertheless. We did stop and watch Russell Fish carve for a bit, I love his work and our decoy collection at the Machipongo office of Blue Heron Realty Co. includes one of his striking carvings, a tall pelican perched on a set of 3 pilings. My husband and grandson got to chatting with carver Bob Gray about his two horned grebes, one shown before molting where it presents with drab black and white feathers and one after molting where its white plumage becomes a riot of colorful orangish red. Nature is so amazing ! In the course of looking around, my husband found a walking stick he liked, my grandson discovered an interesting old poster depicting the off-shore Barrier Islands and at the “Silent Auction” table, I fell in love with a small framed print of a colorful waterfront scene painted by local artist, Grover Cantwell. So we each left with our own little treasure, icing on the cake.

DSC_9351After a quick bite at Bill’s, a favorite Chincoteague restaurant, we took a moment to admire a quiet garden spot across from Bill’s, complete with a colorful full-wall sea life mural, dedicated to “Miss Ruby Lee”. I’m not sure exactly who Miss Ruby Lee was, but clearly, as the dedication scroll proclaims, she was much beloved by the Islanders. From there, we were off to a leisurely drive through the Assateague Wildlife Refuge. There’s always something unique to see at the Refuge and, once again, we were not disappointed. But the most unique sighting Saturday was not some interesting wildlife or a wild pony come to town, no, it was a person sitting in chair, stock still.

Dressed in a camouflage jump suit covered completely by netting stuffed with twigs, leaves, pine needles, looking for all the world like a pileDSC_9417 of yard debris, this patient photographer was zeroing in on two great white egrets fishing in the shallow blue stream, using a camera sporting one of the longest lenses I have ever seen, also in camouflage colors. ( A treat to watch, quite interesting, maybe on assignment from National Geographic or some other Nature publication.) In Tom’s Cove, a flock of tiny ducks was out in full force, foraging away. Cearly something totally yummy to ducks was stirring about underfoot because they ducked and dived and dived and ducked, just munching away, ignoring us completely. The last stop on the way out was …. Island Creamery ! In Cape Charles, we are lucky to have the ever-delicious, ever-amazing flavor combinations offered at the now-famous Brown Dog Ice Cream Shop. And on Chincoteague they have Island Creamery, also home to some excellent ice cream, of which we quite enthusiastically partook, the sweet conclusion to our lovely Spring afternoon adventure.

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“WOO WOO” DECODED – – AN AFTERNOON SPENT WITH AUTHOR JOE COCCARO

Friday, March 16th, 2018

The Civic Center was humming with activity as  Friends of the Cape Charles Memorial Library wrapped up its Winter Tea season 2017-18 with a convivial program featuring Chris Bannon of Sea Gate B n B in conversation with Joe Coccaro about “Woo Woo”, his recent novel set in Cape Charles, Virgina. Coccaro had me hooked with his comment, “ I’m enchanted with Cape Charles”, to paraphrase “Jerry McGuire”.

DSC_9247Maybe it’s because everyone loves to have their own opinions confirmed, but Coccaro’s decision to move full time to Cape Charles after his purchase of a home on Monroe Avenue because of how much he “loved the vibe” made him a man after the audience’s own heart. This is Coccaro’s first novel after a lifetime spent in journalism and book editing, including a long career with the Virginian Pilot newspaper. His decision to write “Woo-Woo” evolved from interesting stories heard at the Pub and elsewhere, and in meeting so many eclectic personalities with interesting backgrounds around town, spawning a habit of recounting these funny stories in emails to friends. The eventual long string of stories led to a decision to write a novel featuring Cape Charles, which possesses what Coccaro describes as a “high concentration” of colorful personalities, the town essentially becoming a character in the book as well its setting.

As is likely with any tour guide type novel set in a small town, there has been a whole lot of speculation and a bit of controversy too, as to who-might- be-who in the book, which quirky character is based on which particular local person. Chris Bannon is pretty sure, but not absolutely positive, who the “Woo-Woo” Realtor actually is modeled after. But Coccaro sidestepped that whole brouhaha by stressing that it’s really an amalgam, that “everybody in town is in the book, a little slice here and a little slice there”, which is fun and surely keeps everyone guessing, especially since he sees Cape Charles as a melting pot, a North meets South, millionaire meets clammer societal blend. The Q & A after the interview revealed that Coccaro is thinking/working/collecting stories for a new book about Cape Charles, this time more water/waterman centered. Clearly we can anticipate Cape Charles bursting back onto the literary scene in the future.

Library Friends did their usual great job on the goodies aspect of the event, the much anticipated 3 Sweets and 3 Savories. Everyone at our table, particularly moi, loved the melt-in-the-mouth fig pecan DSC_9173scones and thumb- sized Irish soda breads. Crostini with melon and prosciutto and a rich seafood chowder were big all-around hits. And I always find it fun to try the various varieties of tea offered, my personal favorite this time was the Scottish Afternoon Tea, a blend sponsored by the American Scottish foundation. Who even knew ? But they have created a wonderful tea ! The afternoon wrapped up with Coccaro doing a reading from “Woo-Woo”, after which some fun products and services donated to the Friends were raffled off, including a huge, beautiful basket filled to the brim with everything needed to make great tea at home. Last but not least, book signings by Joe Coccaro, after which we stepped out the Civic Center door, an abrupt transition from the cozy warmth and conviviality of this delightful afternoon into blustery wind, dreary cold rain and a mad dash to the car !

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TO SPRINT OR NOT TO SPRINT ? THAT WAS THE QUESTION AT THE 2018 “FEBRUARY FREEZE” IN CAPE CHARLES, VIRGINIA

Friday, March 16th, 2018

DSC_8855The sky was sunny, the air was balmy, the water was a beautiful blue. But the Bay temp was a body- numbing 47 degrees as dozens of excited, derring do “Dipper” teams and individuals got ready to brave the icy Chesapeake waters to raise money for the Eastern Shore chapter of Habitat for Humanity. This year’s event was Habitat’s 22nd Annual “February Freeze” benefit at the Cape Charles beach and it was especially exciting because of the tide, which was exceptionally low, exposing a huge tidal flat along the shoreline. Ordinarily one would think this would be quite beneficial. But, as fate would have it, the tide was rising and during the long run out to the deeper water, about a thousand participating toes were no doubt turning multiple shades of blue as the Dippers traversed ice cold sand covered by several inches of frigid water to get to the deep water beyond. Some sauntered along bravely while others raced headlong into the Bay, figuring that the better part of valor was zip in, zip out ! 3 memebers of the Cape Charles Coast Guard Auxiliary were on site in case of emergency, 1 wading out to what would likely be the furthest distance point for a swimmer, just in case.

On hand to lead the charge against the elements were two Celebrity Dippers, Robbie Marsh, Director of the Eastern ShoreDSC_8952 Chamber of Commerce, breezy in a hilarious green hat with bulging eyeballs, and Evelyn Shotwell, Director of the Chincoteague Chamber, both carrying scepters fashioned from pink swim noodles ! They were terrific sports- – the first in and, shivering only slightly, just about the last out ! An enthusiastic crowd was on hand to cheer the Dippers onward to February Freeze glory, with towels and a hand-warming fire barrel at the ready as they returned, soaking wet, to the beach. Volunteers served hot chocolate by the Gazebo and each Dipper who raised at least $35 was treated to a hot lunch. So it was a beautiful, sunny day for those helping to raise money for a tremendous organization which assists in building safe housing all over the Shore for those in need. Hats off to Habitat, it does great work !

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VIRGINIA OPERA – – ANOTHER WONDERFUL EVENT AT LEMON TREE GALLERY !

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

DSC_8743I don’t know why, but it always amazes me when members of the Virginia Opera Company perform here on the Eastern Shore. Maybe because of its stature as the “Official Opera Company of the Commonwealth of Virginia”, maybe because its other venues, the Harrison Opera House in Norfolk, the Dominion Arts Center in Richmond and the George Mason University Center for the Arts in Fairfax, are so imposing by comparison. But last Sunday afternoon, there they were at beautiful Lemon Tree Gallery in Cape Charles, 5 members of the Virginia Opera Company’s Emerging Artists program ! Stars in the making, they gave a wonderful performance of “Aria’s and Duets” in the small and intimate Lemon Tree setting in Cape Charles VA, particularly special because the audience can connect so personally with the performers. And such a lovely feel, surrounded by the gallery’s impressive collection of works by local artists and artisans.

Soprano Rachel Mikol led off with an aria from Mozart’s “The Impresario” followed shortly by the familiar and beloved Puccini aria, “ O mio babbino caro”, an audience favorite. The program concludedDSC_8588 with a soaring Marian Anderson spiritual performed by baritone Phillip Bullock and mezzo-soprano Melanie Campbell. Lots of energy was brought to their program which included an interesting mix of classical and modern, including a selection from Stephen Sondheim’s “Into The
Woods,” sung by Bullock and bass-baritone Joshua Arky, all accompanied by accomplished pianist, ChanMi Jean. But the showstopper was Campbell’s strong rendition of Hammerstein’s “Can’t Help Loving That Man of Mine” from Showboat.

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At the conclusion of the performance, the audience gave a standing ovation and Clelia Sheppard’s daughter, Sheila, and her granddaughter, Aven, presented bouquets of lovely pink roses to each performer. After an encore, wine and light hor d’oeuvres were served, giving audience members an opportunity to meet and speak with the performers. All the performers were terrific, and Ms. Whipple and Mr. Bullock were standouts. Definitely we can expect to see all of these “ emerging artists” making their presence felt on the national and international stage.

 

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