Archive for the ‘The Arts’ Category

MOON OVER CENTRAL PARK’S UKE FEST 2019

Thursday, June 20th, 2019

DSC_5630What a fabulous afternoon last weekend in Cape Charles, VA for the 1st Annual Uke Fest ! Cool and breezy, an absolutely perfect Saturday was winding down into twilight as we arrived. The last act of the day, Rachael Manke, was just taking the stage at the Central Park Gazebo as we found seats on a comfy nearby bench to listen to her performance. After wrestling a bit with her hat, which was trying to go airborne in the breeze, Rachael began by creating a little ditty right on the spot as she tossed that uncooperative topper aside, strum, strum “Goodbye Hat”, triple strum, “Goodbye Hat”. A self-described Lutheran minister, she wisecracked that she couldn’t stay too late because she had an 8 am sermon to give in Richmond on Sunday, then launched into a wonderful repertoire of favorites laced with witty parody songs like “Has Anyone Seen My Mom” to the tune of “Has Anyone Seen My Gal” and the slightly naughty “Shovel Out of Buffalo”.

The music was delightful but watching the audience was heartwarming. I can imagine that this was the very scene that Citizens for Central Park had envisioned as they DSC_5717worked so long and so hard to get the Park funded and off the ground. Folks of all ages, in lawn chairs short or tall, sitting on the wide expanse of grass in front of the Gazebo, enjoying the performance. Colorful bankets spread by parents whose toddlers were swaying to the music. Dads holding infants, Moms wiping sticky Shave Ice from hands and faces. Guys and gals with the munchies tackling tacos and popcorn. Kids on bikes riding the winding sidewalk, teenagers playing soccer and tossing footballs near the fountain. Tiny groups in laughing conversation on the sidewalk, couples relaxing on Park benches. And dogs and owners ! Dogs of every size and description strolling peacefully on their leases, not a snarl in the air. What an amalgam of happiness, what a sense of calm and delight as the full moon rose, softly spreading pearly beams over the 2019 Uke Fest at the amazing and happy Cape Charles Central Park.

 

 

 

 

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We Saw An Elf At The Palace On Sunday !

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

DSC_4193Yes, we definitely, positively, absolutely, unequivocally …… saw an Elf in the Palace. The Palace being the historic Palace Theatre in Cape Charles and the Elf being the star of “Elf Jr. The Musical”. With a delightful stage set and a large and enthusiastic cast, this newest live Palace production by the GEAR School of Dance and Theatre, was a bubbly holiday treat. Plenty of singing and dancing, from tiny tots to tweens and adults, they put on a real show ! It may have been cold and rainy outside but inside the audience was toasty warm and enveloped in cheery Christmas spirit. So bravo to the cast members and all the volunteers whose time and hard work made this holiday entertainment possible, thanks so much, we loved it !

 

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Cloudy Then Rainy. Yet the 2018 Artisan’s Guild Holiday Tour Was Still Great

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

DSC_3666From Cape Charles to Onancock, 43 talented Eastern Shore Virginia artists and artisans threw open their studio doors, welcoming the world to enter and discover the unique items on offer during the 16th Annual Artisan Holiday Tour this past Friday and Saturday. It may have been cloudy and then rainy outside but inside the many stops on the 14 studio plus Chatham Vineyard self-driving Tour, it was cozy, friendly and warm. Unfortunately, because of a late start we didn’t make it to every location….. but there’s always next year !

We kicked off at the Milby Barn Studio at Chatham Flower Farm located in Painter where we were greeted by Kate Meyer, likely humorously known as the Painter of Painter. ( Also the hostess of the recent and hugely successful Farm-to-Table dinner which we unfortunately missed.) From there forward to Maurice Spector’s studio featuring unique wood and stone sculptures. Mo hosted 4 other artists at his waterfront home including David Crane, Miriam Riggs, Marty Burgess and Guy Shover. Oysters were on the grill, smoke drifting, aromas tempting, totally relaxing.

Onward to By The Bay Alpaca Farm, one of my perennial favorites. Their alpacas are so cute- – when you pet them they are delightfully warm and luxuriously soft and silky ! Definitely the place to stock up on alpaca sox, perfect stocking stuffers for anyone on your List who fights cold feet all winter ! From there we were off to the tiny town of Harborton where Windhorse Barn and Studio overlooks Pungoteague Creek. Painted a whimsical shade of fuchsia , the Barn hosted multiple artists and offered a blazing fire pit surrounded by plenty of chairs to enjoy it.

After a lunch break at Janet’s Cafe in Onancock, (home to one of the best roast beef sandwiches on the entire Shore), we stopped in at Danny Doughty’s studio. ( Danny and his work were honored earlier this year at the University of Virginia’s Batten School of Leadership and Pubic Policy. ). Located above the Red Queen Gallery, Danny’s was not on the official Tour but we are huge fans of his work and wanted to see what new pieces were hanging on the walls of his large and light-filled gallery. Plus he always has a spectacularly decorated Christmas tree ! Well, this year the tree was “Under Construction” but Danny’s fabulous new art work definitely did not disappoint, including a large Ballard Fish company commissioned painting on which he is currently putting the finishing touches.

Just a few blocks over, the Vesna Zedovic studio. Vesna’s mirrors, framed with a surround of hand-cast pottery tiles of sea creatures or butterflies or flowers are really amazing. We’re lucky to have a small collection of beautiful her red clay tiles stretching back many years to when we first saw her pottery at the former Old Thyme Garden and Gifts in Weirwood. Vesna is still going strong nearly 30 years later although working primarily in white clay now.

By then the rain was really doing its thing but nobody seemed deterred as we rolled up to the Ker Place Museum where Gertraud Fendler’s sea glass jewelry, David Farlow decoys and Diana Davis watercolors were being shown as part of the Tour. In addition, the Museum itself had a featured exhibit of Shore WW I memorabilia, pretty interesting. And then to our last stop of the day, the historic Onancock School with its numerous exhibitors. We took a moment to watch carver Brad Bradach work on one of his miniature decoys before slipping over to see what Bobby Bridges, Billy Crocket, Elizabeth Hunt and Laura McGowan were showing. Everybody had beautiful things on offer, unique, one-of-a-kind art, perfect for a distinctive holiday gift for a Special Someone or possibly, dare we say it….. a holiday gift for oneself ! And then, all over, time to go home after a long but delightful day ! But definitely ready to do it all again next Thanksgiving !

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SMALL COUNTY- BIG FAIR ! 3rd Annual Northampton County Agricultural Fair

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

3075There was something for almost everyone to love at the 3rd Annual Northampton County Fair in Machipongo last weekend. Although no deep fried Oreo cookies or pork chops on a stick appeared on any menu, the Cape Charles Lion’s Club booth, Gordos Taco Truck, Country Kitchen, etc. offered plenty of other goodies to keep help the munchies at bay while browsing the various exhibits and activities. Plus the luscious pies, pecan, apple, sweet potato, entries in the ever-popular Baking Contest were for sale after the judging by the slice or even the whole pie, super yum ! ( I’ll never tell who took home half a sweet potato pie topped with pecan cinnamon streusel ! )

ANEC, one of the Fair’s main sponsors, offered some impressive pole climbing presentations by Tyson Arnold and George Floyd, both 2 years into their 4 year lineman apprenticeships. Interestingly, apparently it isn’t until the 10 year mark that most linemen have had extensive enough experience to be able to handle just about any situation. (Guessing employee retention is pretty important to A & N. ) The audience gained a new appreciation for A&N linemen who have to struggle up a pole in every sort of condition, wearing heavy cleats and a 45 pound tool belt. Sort of like the post office – – neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night nor heavy wind shall keep these critical linemen from shinnying up 40 ft poles to keep lights on for the customers. And thank heavens for that !

A huge favorite again was the Antique Tractor Show & Parade, this year featuring a few young drivers who I assume will be the future farmers of Northampton. Ancient but shiny and well cared for tractors of numerous makes and models paraded around what used to be the huge athletic field of the old Middle School, to much audience interest and appreciation. Antique machinery demonstrations of corn shelling and grinding showed just how it was done back in the “good old days”. And for kids, so much to see and do, including face painting, hay rides, pumpkin painting, a colorful bouncy house, balloon animal creations, duck calling contests, etc. Any County Fair worth its salt includes farm animals, in this case a little petting zoo with super cute sheep and a friendly brown goat. Plus a sweet and very patient cow, totally engrossed in munching her hay.

Once again a big turnout for the annual Skillet Throw, my favorite. Those cast iron skillets are heavier than they look and many a hefty heave only sailed the skillet a short distance from the starting line. The winners of the Ladies Throw were: 1st Place Helene Doughty, 2nd Debbie Mears and 3rd Emily Norwall. Men’s Throw winners: 1st Place Sands Gayle, a 2nd place tie between Brandon Parks and Will Russell and 3rd Carl Willke. Congrats to all, lots of fun for audience and participants alike !

A big thanks owed to the Side Porch Pickers and Thelma Peterson. It was a pleasure to listen to them, their bluegrass and county music added to much to the entire event. Wouldn’t have been the same without it ! And to the many, many volunteers who staffed the booths, the Kid’s Corner, ran the contests, brought their tractors, supervised hayrides, cooked the food, answered questions, etc., etc., bravo, you really pulled off a wonderful event, already looking forward to the 2019 Northampton County Agricultural Fair !

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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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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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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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CAPE CHARLES, VA IS ONE OF TEN FINALISTS IN COASTAL LIVING MAGAZINE “HAPPIEST SEASIDE TOWN” CONTEST !

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

1Aerial 300dpi2We are thrilled that our little coastal town of Cape Charles is in the “Top 10” on Coastal Living Magazine’s 2018 list of the “Happiest Seaside Towns” ! Every year for the past seven years, Coastal Living magazine has created a Top 10 list of the “Happiest Seaside Towns”. Original nominations come via social media. From there, Coastal Living evaluates the nominees for such qualities, outlined on its website, as we looked at their ranking the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, percentage of clear and sunny days, healthiness of beaches, commute times, walkability, crime ratings, standard of living and financial well-being of locals, geographic diversity, and our editors’ assessment of each town’s “coastal vibe.”

Cape Charles is very much a happy little town, relaxed, low-key, with lots of lifestyle amenities and things to do. A beautiful soft sand beach, multipleDSC_2779 marinas and boat ramps, Palmer and Nicklaus1Aerial 300dpi2 Signature golf courses, cute little shops and galleries, an impressive art presence, a theatre, fine and casual dining, all these opportunities are the raw ingredients. Mix in the wonderful Cape Charles community spirit and there we see the possibilities for being voted the 2018 Happiest Seaside Town ! If you want to participate and vote for Cape Charles, click the link below. You can vote multiple times but voting ends at 5pm on February 6,2018. As of this writing, Cape Charles was fifth in the number of votes so we have a ways to go to hit #1 by February 6th. So let’s get voting !!

HERE IS THE LINK FOR VOTING: https://www.coastalliving.com/travel/happiest-seaside-town

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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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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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