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On A Farm, Far, Far Away

August 7, 2015 Lifestyle, Real Estate Comments Off on On A Farm, Far, Far Away

By Hannah Hager

On a farm, far, far away, you’ll find yourself in a private, tucked away and secluded area. Such is the case of Faraway Farm in Round Hill, which also happens to be built during a time long past – its impeccable solid stone structure with copper roof date from the early 1700s, but the home has since been expanded to include a first floor bedroom and three additional suites.

Erected during a much simpler time when necessity took precedent over personal luxury, this estate has stood the test of time. Not only is it grandiose in its presence, but it’s also soft-spoken in its beauty. Its materials and craftsmanship do most of the talking and the landscape and grounds back it up in chorus. The front lawn boasts a serene pond that is hugged by lush green grass and mature trees. You might believe you’re living in the century in which Loudoun was founded until you step through the threshold to find every modern requirement taken care of and attended to. … Continue Reading

Art Exhibit Features “Gifts From The Sea”

August 7, 2015 Arts, Lifestyle Comments Off on Art Exhibit Features “Gifts From The Sea”

Friends of Franklin Park Arts Center has announced the opening of “Gifts From The Sea,” an art show and sale featuring works in a variety of media. Local and regional artists submitted pieces matching the cool, watery theme … a remarkable mix of over 40 works in paint, color pencil, mixed media, photography, pottery, felted fiber, quilting and more … unusual and amazing things from very creative people.

The gallery reception on July 26 was well attended by artists and patrons alike. Lis Zadravec won the award for Best in Show for her colored pencil on paper work, “The Conversion.” The Friends Choice award went to Karen Colman for her colored pencil piece, “Caught! (Atlantic Blue Crab).” The “Most Sea-worthy” prize went to Philip Hodges for his mixed media creation, “Barnacle Phil” and Rick Conway for his ceramic tile, “Blue Octopus.”

“Gifts From The Sea” will be on display in the Gallery at Franklin Park Arts Center now through August 23. The annual Summer Show sponsored by the Friends of Franklin Park challenges the community with a new theme every year. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Franklin Park Arts Center is located at 36441 Blueridge View Lane, Purcellville, VA 20132. The Gallery is open Monday thru Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and during evening and weekend performances. For information call 540-338-7973, or go to www.franklinparkartscenter.org.

This Month In History: August, 1878 – Temperance Movement Lights a Fire in Purcellville

August 7, 2015 Events, Lifestyle Comments Off on This Month In History: August, 1878 – Temperance Movement Lights a Fire in Purcellville

In August of 1878, the Good Templars of Loudoun County began a series of annual religious temperance rallies. Originally held in an area known as Dillon’s Woods, speakers railed against the evils of alcohol – popular throughout the region, devotees streamed into Purcellville, arriving by train, horseback, buggies and stagecoach. In 1903, an amphitheater was built. Later named the Bush Tabernacle, it hosted temperance groups, politicians such as Williams Jennings Bryan and evangelists such as Billy Sunday, who spoke there in 1931. In later years the Bush Tabernacle featured country western stars such as Patsy Cline. The building was added to The National Register of Historic Places in 2010 and today hosts all manner of community events, shows and fairs.

Dinosaurs, Jurassic World, and Liberalism

August 7, 2015 Behind the Scenes, Lifestyle Comments Off on Dinosaurs, Jurassic World, and Liberalism

By Nicholas Reid

If there was anything that you might have thought was immune from the ever-increasing aggressiveness of the American left, you might think of the dinosaurs. Unfortunately this is not the case. Liberalism has stained dinosaurs just as it has stained so many other aspects of American life.

One recent example of this was the attacks on the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum for accepting money from David H. Koch in order to fund a much needed renovation of the Smithsonian’s dinosaur hall in turn for the new hall being named after him. Koch’s money (about $35 million) will transform the fossil wing of the museum from a poorly lighted space with mopey-looking dinosaurs dragging their tails around the floor to a much more vibrant, well-lit space. Despite this, a group of scientists developed a petition to the museum, urging them to retract their support from Koch, describing him and his brother as “those who profit from fossil fuels or fund lobby groups that misrepresent climate science.” … Continue Reading

Remembering Mabel

August 7, 2015 Lifestyle, People 1 comment

Mabel, a chocolate Labrador, died today, Monday August 3 at the age of 14. 

The cause of death was severe degenerative discs across much of her back.  Her vet told us she’d obviously been in pain for months but didn’t let us know.

She lived with Sarah Huntington and Drew Babb in the village of Lincoln.  Her owner and best friend was Andrew (Andy) Babb of Brooklyn, New York.

She was predeceased by boon companions Rebel (a yellow Lab) and Basset Hounds Albert and Bruno. … Continue Reading

White Post Restorations – The Art of Bringing Spectacular Automobiles Back to Life

August 7, 2015 Lifestyle, People Comments Off on White Post Restorations – The Art of Bringing Spectacular Automobiles Back to Life
Billy Thompson

Artist Profile

“I feel a little sadness when I finish a restoration job,” says Billy Thompson, “and I notice that the car’s owners often feel it, too. We have the finished car we wanted, but an interesting and enjoyable experience – the process of getting to that stage – is over.”

Thompson and his father W.R., are the third and fourth generation owners of White Post Restorations, a classic car restoration company in White Post, Virginia, a small community near the intersection of Rt. 50 heading west from Upperville, and Rt. 340 heading south from Berryville. … Continue Reading

Seussical at Franklin Park Arts Center

August 7, 2015 Arts, Lifestyle Comments Off on Seussical at Franklin Park Arts Center

Hannah Allison, left, and Jena McDonald, right, are two of the performers in Seussical, directed by Karlah Louis of Mail Street Theater Productions, Inc. in Purcellville. Hannah helped run crew for Karlah’s summer Camp Aristocrats, and Jena is Mrs. Mayor in Seussical.  The performance was July 29 – July 31 at Franklin Park Arts Center. Stay tuned for Main Street’s performance in October, The Wizard of Oz, also at the Franklin Park Arts Center

Remembering Esther Burk Kilgour, 86

August 7, 2015 Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Remembering Esther Burk Kilgour, 86

Esther Burke Kilgour, age 86, died peacefully on July 31 at her home in Purcellville after a long struggle with cancer.

Esther was born January 21, 1929, in Hamilton, the daughter of Harry and Nellie May Burke.

She was an active member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, serving on the Vestry, Alter Guild and Bell Tower Committees. She was a lifelong member of the Ladies Board of Loudoun Memorial Hospital, and a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, the hospital thrift shop, and numerous other non-profit causes. She enjoyed gardening, spending time at Chincoteague, and spending time with her family – which meant the world to her. Esther attended Lincoln High School and later, business school in Leesburg. … Continue Reading

Local Resident Honored in Scenic Virginia Photo Contest

August 7, 2015 Arts, Lifestyle Comments Off on Local Resident Honored in Scenic Virginia Photo Contest

Scenic Virginia has announced the winners of its annual Virginia Vistas photo contest, celebrating the magnificent scenes that make the state one of the most beautiful in the country. Purcellville resident Charles Powell – who received an Honorable Mention for his captivating western Loudoun County image “Red Fox” – is among those recognized for their exceptional photography in 2015.
In its eight year, the photo contest is designed to support Scenic Virginia’s mission to preserve, protect, and enhance Virginia’s scenic beauty. Noted executive director Leighton Powell, “Scenic Virginia’s 2015 Virginia Vistas Photo Contest generated 500+ beautiful images of our Commonwealth. These Winners and Honorable Mentions truly represent the best of what Virginia has to offer.”

Notecard sets of the winning photos are available for purchase. To place an order, contact Scenic Virginia at (804) 643-VIEW (643-8439) or send an e-mail to email@scenicvirginia.org.


Artist’s Profile: Michele Sommers, Mural Artist – The Beauty Of Life, Evolving Over Time

July 2, 2015 Arts, Lifestyle 1 comment

– By Andrea Gaines

Two things defy reason when it comes to mural artist and painter Michele Sommers.
The first is her irrepressibly humble attitude towards her talent. The second is the absolute divinity of her work.

I knew that in writing about her in this way she would be thinking, Oh … come on … I’m not THAT good!

But, it really is hard to describe Sommers’ work without using words like moving, spiritual, dreamy, captivating.

Sommers says that she grew up doodling. But, how she got from that to taking on well-paid commissions for huge, wall-sized murals is quite the story.

Michele’s father was artistic, she says, but while very talented he never pursued art as a profession – something she seemed to regret on a personal level.

Michele has always loved to draw, but has only recently had any formal artistic training. When a good friend who owned a gourmet shop in Front Royal asked her if she would paint something pretty on the shop’s counter, however, she said, yes.

Within a few years, by word of mouth the paid commissions were rolling in. Her work is now in private homes, professional offices, small businesses, churches and animal shelters, on the interior and exterior of barns and on cinderblock walls.

Murals, as Sommers describes it, are living things. And, they are. Michele’s work seems to bloom and grow – to evolve – over time.

Says Sommers, “I ask my clients what they want in the mural. They give me a list of what should be in it, but we often add things along the way. When the mural is finished, I follow up with them every couple of weeks to make sure nothing more needs to be added. Murals evolve and age, just like living things.”

This was the case with a large, almost mural-sized canvas that Sommers recently completed for a local farm. With every manner of animal and insect in it – from cattle, to sheep, goats, farm dogs, horses, pigs and bees – Sommers’ reaction to the finished product was, “Might need another bird or two.”

A dramatic mural for an Ashburn seafood restaurant begs the same question – does it need another seagull? A large Mediterranean-style canvas, awash in tropical trees and flowers, literally looks like it is getting ready to sprout another fern. A seascape mural in a child’s bedroom shows a group of sea turtles, yearning to welcome, over time, a just-hatched baby turtle.

Then there is a very touching mural entitled, “Freedom Isn’t Free.” The personal story behind Sommers’ Freedom Isn’t Free says it all about this lovely and devoted artist and her client.

Her client, the manager of a large factory in Winchester said he wanted to dedicate a wall space to the sacrifices of the nation’s soldiers, including those he had served with in Iraq. He knew he wanted particular elements in the image, but provided her with few other details. He did, however, give her many of his own personal photos and contribute his military expertise. With that, she dove deep into herself … producing a dramatic, floor-to-ceiling image that shows an American eagle swooping in with a dramatic Freedom Isn’t Free banner, empty boots topped off with an old helmet, a POW/MIA flag, helicopters patrolling in the distance and two soldiers – one of whom is stepping out of the mural to greet those looking at it. A simple idea rendered in very personal and engaging way, the two soldiers are based on old wartime photos of Michele’s father and a newer one of her brother, both of which served as marines. Generations of soldiers seem to be waiting to be added to the moment.

This is Michele Sommers in a nutshell. Quietly humble. Aware of her talent. But, always focused on showcasing the beauty of life, and how it evolves over time.

See more of Michele Sommers’ work at www.facebook.com/sommersend.

Kicking Off Farm To Fork With Music

July 1, 2015 Events, Lifestyle Comments Off on Kicking Off Farm To Fork With Music

Kicking off this year’s Farm-to-Fork Loudoun project is the second annual Farm, Fork & Art, with music added: a special concert from home grown, award winning folk and Americana singer-songwriter Andrew McKnight. Farm, Fork, Art & Music begins at 6 p.m. sharp at the unique Trinity House Cafe located at 101 E. Market St. in Leesburg on Wednesday, July 22, the night before the fourth annual Farm-to-Fork Loudoun kicks-off. The event is free and open to the public.

Doors open at 5 p.m. for first come first serve seating in the Cafe’s back yard area. Appetizers, entrees and desserts from their regular menu, as well as a preview of their Farm-to-Fork Loudoun menu, will be available to purchase and enjoy, along with various soft drinks, wine and beer.

Since permanently leaving his corporate environmental engineering career in 1996, Lincoln resident Andrew McKnight has traveled nearly a million miles of blue highways, and earned a wealth of critical acclaim and enthusiastic fans nationwide for his performances and seven recordings.

Farm-to-Fork Loudoun is an 11-day countywide event highlighting locally sourced foods and celebrating the true bounty of Loudoun from July 23 through Aug. 2. Farm fresh food is incorporated into special menus prepared by each of the participating restaurant chefs and offered to guests. This year features 23 special and diverse spots and one food truck from which to choose throughout the entire county. For details go to www.FarmToForkLoudoun.com.

Hillsboro Celebrates Independence Day July 3

July 1, 2015 Events, Lifestyle Comments Off on Hillsboro Celebrates Independence Day July 3

Bring your friends and family to Hillsboro’s Old Stone School on Friday, July 3 for the annual Independence Day Celebration. The celebration will be preceded by the second of four seasonal outdoor markets which will open on July 3 at 4 p.m., and the Independence Day festivities begin at 6 p.m. at the Old Stone School located at 37098 Charles Town Pike in Hillsboro.

… Continue Reading

Two Kitchen Cousins Present … Plate To Tempt, Plate To Tease

July 1, 2015 Dine With Us, Lifestyle Comments Off on Two Kitchen Cousins Present … Plate To Tempt, Plate To Tease

– By Lisa Wasson And Andrea Gaines

Plating pulls a dish together, using color for visual appeal, showcasing ingredients and revealing the flavors and textures to be enjoyed. It isn’t so much about making something look pretty as it is about making it look appetizing. Here are the basics of good plating, along with some great examples.

Good plating …

Is more than a garnish. Everything on the plate should be edible and compliment the flavors in the dish.

Is simple. Even if the presentation is a bit unstructured and scattered, it has a limited number of features and a decided theme – whether casual or 5-Star.

Showcases the food. Placing a smaller portion of food on a larger plate or platter, and otherwise allowing the food to be the focus of attention can achieve this.

Balances color. The dark and neutral colors of meat, bread and pasta for example, are offset by bright greens, reds, pink, yellow and orange.

Structures the dish. Sometime this means clustering items in threes – with starch at 10 o’clock, proteins at 6 o’clock and vegetables at 2 o’clock; sometimes this means creating a stack or pyramid; sometimes it means using geometric patterns to emphasize contrasts in flavor and color.

Shows creativity. Food stylists say nothing says good plating more than something that surprises – a chilled shrimp accenting a fish dish, a vertical sprig of fresh herb, a beautiful edible flower resting atop a hearty steak.

Fancy Grilled Steak: Make a signature piece of meat, fish or pork the focus of your plate. Here, a filet mignon is dressed with a small pool of gravy, a dried red pepper, julienned fried onion and a spring of thyme.

Rustic Brochette: French or Italian toast rounds – topped with your favorite brochette mixture and garnished with freshly ground black pepper and cherry tomatoes – is simple, rustic and beautiful.

Spaghetti With Mushrooms & Orange: Plate your pasta to reveal its flavors. Here, creamy mushrooms are presented as a topping with strips of orange zest. A spray of savory orange sauce finishes off the dish.

Blue Cheese Burger: For burgers – and any kind of sandwich, really – put the ingredients together in a loose way that lets all of them show … much more appetizing than a regular old closed face sandwich plate.

Sliced Meats & Cheeses: Arranged on a cutting board with some fresh greens and herbs, sliced meats and cheeses look delicious and ready to snack on – on their own or with a cracker or slice of bread.

Pizza: Fresh out of the oven pizza benefits from an added something – a sprinkling of arugula, a drizzle of oil, a chiffonade of basil, a sprinkling of fresh parsley or thyme or a grind or two of fresh pepper.

About Andrea & Lisa: Andrea and Lisa are cousins who grew up on Long Island together. Andrea is a well-know writer for the Blue Ridge Leader & Loudoun Today. Lisa is a private chef who has been making people’s mouths water ever since she started baking fresh muffins for her office mates in New York City.






Asterisk No More


By Samuel Moore-Sobel “Moods come and go, but greatness endures.” These prescient words were uttered by President George H.W. Bush, a man who knows firsthand the truth of his own saying. In 1992, President Bush garnered only 37 percent of …

Second Bull Run

Bull Run Creek

It may not have been a battle, but – seeing as how it was my second attempt at getting a good look at Bull Run Creek – coupled with the fact that I’m a native Northerner – I felt a …

Snowmageddon III?  Seven Survival Tips for Parents


By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. “snOMG,” “snowmageddon,” “snowpocalypse,” and “kaisersnoze” are a few terms to describe what just happened in Northern Virginia. The storm was reported to be the second worst storm on record. And while many children and teens gladly …

What Is a Sport?

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde On January 10, hundreds of talented dancers from across the East Coast competed at the Universal Dance Academy Regional Championship at West Springfield High School. Tensions were high and the stakes couldn’t have been greater. What …

Six Things to Know to Weather a Market Downturn


It’s natural to be nervous when the markets head for negative territory. Keep a positive perspective with these six investing reminders. It can be very unsettling for investors when their portfolios and the markets start heading for the red and …

El Nino Evolution

Figure 3. Sea-surface height as inferred by by NASA satellites during the current El Niño (December 27, 2015, at left, from Jason-2) and at a comparable point during the last “super” El Niño (December 28, 1997, at right, from TOPEX/Poseidon). Warmer temperatures in the upper ocean result in higher sea-surface heights, as the seawater expands. In 1997, the above-average sea surface height was generally more intense and peaked in November. In 2015, the area of high sea levels was less pronounced but considerably broader. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. (see [4])

Figure 1 shows the annual global temperature anomaly since 1980 up to November 2015 using the NASA GISS data set [1]. NASA has not yet published December’s data though BEST has [2] and yes 2015 was the hottest year on …


Grief and Greed


By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …


Oh No, It’s the Christians!


By Nicholas Reid In the hours and days following every massacre perpetrated by radical Muslims, there is one unifying theme across most news coverage of the massacre, wherever it may …

Dear Editor

Job Well Done!

town of purcellville sign

Kudos to Town Manager Rob Lohr and his awesome hard working staff. You did a fantastic job of snow removal throughout the Town of Purcellville this past week. Mr. Lohr …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville


Mark Your Calendar, They’ve Asked for Our Input So Let’s Give It To Them By Steady and Nobull The Purcellville Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled a series of public input …

Student News

Four Scouts Achieve Eagle Scout Rank

3 Feb 2016


Joel Gicker, Kyle Siecker, Sam Soltis and David Watson achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at Blue Ridge Bible Church in Purcellville on January 9. The four Eagles are members of Troop 711 of …

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8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015


Sixty-seven Blue Ridge Middle School eighth graders have been honored for their writing during the 2014-2015 school year. Many students had their writing selected for publication by Creative Communication, a program for student writers, while others won county-wide writing contests. …

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Ben Kellogg Achieves Eagle Scout

1 Jul 2015


Benjamin Robert Kellogg achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Purcellville on March 29. Friends, family and troop leaders attended the celebration, including his parents, Robert and Deirdre Kellogg. …

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February 2016
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Loudoun Valley Boys Basketball Spirit Night at Coach's Corner


Music Together Classes - Winter Session


Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY


Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY


5K Race to Benefit Riverside High School Athletic Department

8 9 10 11

Music Together Classes - Winter Session


Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY


Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY



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18 19





Loudoun Symphony presents A LITTLE CHAMBER MUSIC

Gallery Coffeehouse: THE COMEDY CULT IMPROV

Gallery Coffeehouse: THE COMEDY CULT IMPROV

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THE EDGE: Malone Benefit Concert


Loudoun School of Ballet Winter Showcase

29 1 2 3 4

VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY


Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY


VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theatre, 100 Lunches" by Jack Sharkey & Leo Sears

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Creation and Evolution in Native American Spirituality

9 Feb 2016


In celebration of Evolution Weekend, an annual event led by clergy to encourage serious discussion and reflection on the relationship between religion and science, St. James United Church of Christ in Lovettsville has invited Roger and Deborah “Turtle” Swartz to guide a discussion of traditional Native American Spirituality and its wisdom in celebrating human relationship to the earth. In a …

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Run and Walk To Your Nearest 5K Pregame Event Happening on Super Bowl Day In Leesburg

3 Feb 2016


There is a new Running Company, the Pace Makers Running Company, in town and they are on a mission to help the local population with their health goals while raising money for selected charities. The race at The National Conference Center in Leesburg on February 7, is to help benefit the Riverside High School Athletic Department. The upcoming race on …

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Lovin’ Leesburg for All Its Beauty

3 Feb 2016


By Hannah Hager We may be in the thick of winter, but this home on Cherry Spring Lane will melt your heart. Come spring you’ll fully be able to enjoy this simple, yet elegant brick home and its surrounding green pastures enclosed by miles of black wooden fences. Beyond your immediate yard are sweeping views of the mountains and valleys …

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Around Virginia

Education Savings Accounts Make Big Move in House


The Virginia House of Delegates gave a strong push to House Bill 389, Delegate Dave LaRock’s (R-33rd District) innovative Education Savings Account legislation, as the House Education Committee voted 13-9 in favor of advancing the bill forward. “This is definitely an exciting development for parents and students in the Commonwealth,” …

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Kaine to Hold Hearing on Opioid Abuse


On Monday, February 1, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, will hold a field hearing in Loudoun County to examine the ongoing fight against opioid misuse and abuse among older Americans. Kaine has met with families, law enforcement and business leaders across Virginia …

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Youth Can Apply for 2015 Livestock Exhibitor Scholarships


Youth who exhibited beef cattle, sheep, meat goats or swine in the 2015 State Fair of Virginia 4-H and FFA youth livestock program are eligible to apply for 12 new scholarships being offered by the State Fair of Virginia. Scholarships will be offered in three age groups: Juniors (9-12), Intermediate …

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Western Loudon Volleyball Club “Hitmen” Team Finishes Second

3 Feb 2016


The Western Loudon Volleyball Club U14 boys team, called the “Hitmen,” finished second in a tournament held January 17. This is the first ever boys team for the WLVBC (and only the second boys club in the area). Coach Allan Kotmel led the seven-member team. WLVBC started eight years ago, …

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ODFC West Travel Soccer Program Shines

2 Dec 2015


The Old Dominion Football Club West boys and girls middle school travel soccer program scored big the weekend of November 21 and 22.  The girls Quest Premier 22 team took home the championship in the U12 Girls Premier Division of the Hunt Country Classic located in Fauquier County. The boys …

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