royal treatment: 2015 progressive party.

burgProgressiveWEB01An hour before the event, I finished mowing the lawn for what I PRAY is the last time this year. Twenty miles away, Brandy was likely folding something, or mopping something, or editing something. Yet somehow, without the help of mice, bluebirds, or a magic wand, we managed to slink into our fancy duds, drape our skin in jewels, and apply a fine sheen of lip gloss in anticipation of a fairy tale evening — the Arts Council’s Annual Progressive Party! The purpose of the Progressive Party is simple — to celebrate the arts and raise funds so the Council can continue to provide art opportunities to the Harrisonburg community through Court Square TheaterAdvancing the Arts GrantsFirst Fridays Downtown, Smith House Gallery exhibitions, and community-based collaborations.

This year’s theme (Your Artistic Adventure: the Progressive Party with a Twist) sent guests on a two-destination journey: the dazzling home of Dan Newberry for the event launch party, and then one of seven host homes for more merrymaking.

burgProgressiveWEB31At Dan’s, we all converged to hear the music of Kelly May Brown, meet the evening’s featured artists, enjoy beverages from Pale Fire Brewing and Vintage Wines, and indulge in appetizers provided by A Little Something Special. Of particular note were the jelly “flight” and the butter “flight” — assortments of both spreads to be sampled on bread and crackers. One even tasted like bacon. Who knew this was a thing?

burgProgressiveWEB41 burgProgressiveWEB04 burgProgressiveWEB28burgProgressiveWEB47We Cinderellas were also excited about the raffle drawing for a diamond from James McHone and custom setting from Hugo Kohl. After a lovely cocktail hour on luxurious property, everyone loaded up in their chariots and proceeded to one of the seven host homes, each of which had live music and the work of a featured artist. Brandy and I got the royal treatment when we were permitted to go to TWO homes! We ate like Queens!

We were so excited when we arrived at our first home, owned by the charming Randy Harman, to see our smiling friend, Praserth Saesow of Beyond Restaurant and Lounge, who had prepared this incredible feast. Floral decorations by Teri Dean of The Wishing Well accentuated the beautiful art work of Wendy Lam. Live music by Moon (based in Staunton) floated toward the vaulted ceilings and filled the space, while conversations flourished.

burgProgressiveParty_IMG_4385 burgProgressiveWEB58burgProgressiveParty_IMG_4371 burgProgressiveWEB62 ProgressiveWEB56-2burgProgressiveWEB57 burgProgressiveWEB63With one eye on the clock, we wolfed down a second plate of Praserth’s food and headed to our next, and final, destination: the home of Rob and Peggy McKearney, where we were completely spoiled with beef and pork tenderloin, salmon, and bacon-wrapped shrimp. At one point, Brandy was double fisting with macaroons. Erin Murray’s vivid and too-real-to-be-real paintings spoke to us all, and Chad Hanger crooned from the living room. I swear, his voice is somehow better every time I hear him. All of it at that house — so rich and alive!

burgProgressiveParty_IMG_4403 burgProgressiveParty_IMG_4423 burgProgressiveWEB68 burgProgressiveWEB73 burgProgressiveWEB74 burgProgressiveWEB82burgProgressiveWEB71Before we knew it, it was time to click our heels and get home before our babysitters turned into pumpkins (there might be a mix-up in there). And so we dashed out into the night, while the music and laughter receded in the rearview mirror.

We can’t say enough how much we enjoyed this enchanted evening. Everyone involved loves and actively supports the arts in our community, demonstrated by their selfless gifts of time, hospitality, talent, and dollars that will allow for continued growth of the Council’s initiatives. After all, beautiful things must be constantly sown and tended. Art, and the proliferation of it, takes diligence and commitment.

Copyright © 2012-15 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Written content by Katie Mitchell. Photos by Brandy Somers. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

you wish! : christmas shopping in the burg.

In hindsight we’re not sure if it was a good idea to take four kids downtown last Saturday morning to show us what they want for Christmas.

Them: “You mean we’re not actually buying anything today??”
Us: “No.”
Them: “For real?”
Us: “Yes.”
Them: “Wait, you mean ‘yes, for real’ or ‘yes, we’re buying you something?'” (hopeful expressions)
Us: “We’re not buying anything today.”
Them: “For real?”
Us: “Ugh.”

But, we did take them window shopping. And now we’re going to tell you about it and show you what the kids picked out!! We met at Earth & Tea Cafe at 10ish to get some caffeine in our veins and map out a game plan. Man, that place is so niiiiiiice. The pretty tapestries on the wall… the cute lanterns everywhere… that little “lovers’ lair” in the corner–you know, the big square cushion with a curtain all the way around it? Rowl!

earth&teacup earth&teaWhile the kids argued over where to go first, we gals started yammering about our hair… See, Danielle recently cut her bangs, Brandy’s are growing out, and I have a head full of bangs. Then Danielle showed us how she can’t stop shaking her head because she likes the way her bangs swish-swish against her forehead. She’s a bobble head. On the way to a brain injury.

We finally got our list together and headed to our first destination, the Explore More Children’s Museum, which is just down from Earth & Tea. Not only can you buy someone a year’s membership to the museum for $95, but they have a really great gift shop in the front with rare toys you don’t see at larger chain stores. Here are a few:

explore more 4 explore more 3 explore more 2 explore more 1Next, a quick stop at Ten Thousand Villages. Personally, I wanted everything in there. Cal’s favorite was the giant stack of rugs. Blake’s favorite was this instrument:

ten thousand villagesOf course, everyone was excited to get to Dragonflies Toys. They’re by the parking deck, next to Downtown Books. Pretty much all the kids want all the toys in there. In fact, we should just see about moving in. Here are their Dragonflies wishes:

It's a cell phone eraser (ha ha) and a pencil that smells like cinnamon.

It’s a cell phone eraser (ha ha) and a pencil that smells like cinnamon.

for building thangs.

for building thangs.

dragonflies 3

she’s a family gal.

dragonflies 2

To Cal, from Bree!

To Cal, from Bree!

Danielle saw something she wishes for at Shenandoah Bicycle Company:

note the bangs :)

note the bangs :)

As we walked to Larkin Arts, we couldn’t help but go into James McHone Jewelry. The kids were a little antsy in there, so we couldn’t stay long, but he’s really got a spectacular selection of unique pins and brooches, pendant, bracelet charms, and much more. Danielle and I perused all his beautiful antique jewelry, pausing briefly at a shiny case of rings… and dreaming briefly about fairytale weddings… Well, maybe it was just me. Okay, this is getting awkward.

ornaments for humans.

ornaments for humans.

Onto Larkin Arts. If you haven’t been in there, you have to go. There’s so much to see. I love the way art supplies look on the shelf. Rows and rows of paints. Boxes and boxes of oil pastels. Neatly stacked fresh, white canvases. Then down the hall is a gallery space, and further down is a classroom and several artist studios. Anyway, the kids found lots of cool gift ideas there…

larkin arts 3 larkin arts 2 larkin arts 1… and I found one of my favorite things EVER: wooden boxes! Specifically, cigar boxes. And only $5 each! I don’t know why I have such an affinity for wooden boxes, but I bought four of them without any use in mind at all.

larkin arts 4Our final stop of the day (and believe me, there were many other places we could have gone, but SOMEONE was getting cranky) (okay, it was me) was the always fun, always quirky Glen’s Fair Price Store. You can get your camera repaired there, or you can get a Halloween costume, or you can buy vintage candy or any kind of hat you can imagine or even a bag of rubber worms. They have everything. You can’t come out empty handed.

glens fair price 3

If you see her walking around with this thing, don’t touch it. It shocks your hand! Sorry we terrorized the other customers with it.

glens fair price 4

I mean, nothing beats the snake scepter.

how nice of them to offer a snack and drink!

how nice of them to offer a snack and drink!

well, this is embarrASSing.

well, this is embarrASSing.

And then we were tired and hungry. So we strolled on down to Jess’ Quick Lunch to stuff ourselves with chili dogs. With just ten shopping days left until Christmas, we hope this gives you some gift ideas for the people you love. And you give to everyone when you shop local. See you out and about!

jess quick lunchho ho hatsCopyright © 2012 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Written content by Katie Mitchell. Photos by Brandy Somers. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.