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by Victoria Bourne
Lavender, they say, relieves anxiety and stress. If you could use more of that in your life, go check out Sweethaven Lavender Festival Days, an event in Williamsburg devoted to the lovely, purple-flowered herb and essential oil.
Now in its second year, Festival Days will be held on two consecutive Saturdays this spring: May 30 and June 6. The first is geared toward adults, featuring live music, lavender foods and beverages, classes and high-end artisans. The latter is billed for all ages with animals to pet, exhibits and space for children to run and play.
Owner Kerry Messer says by spreading the event across two days they hope to accommodate even more people than last year, which sold out quickly. Visit
sweethaven-lavender.ticketleap.com/festival to secure some lavender scented Zen.
Editor’s note: This event has been cancelled, according to an April 2 Facebook post from Sweethaven Lavender of Williamsburg.
Michelangelo comes to town
An exhibit opening in May brings the majesty of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling closer to earth, laying it quite literally at our feet in the most surprising of venues – the mall. Michelangelo—A Different View opens May 7 at the MacArthur Center in Norfolk. It features 48 Vatican Museum-sanctioned reproductions of frescoes that adorn the chapel, including a complete rendering of the Italian Renaissance master’s interpretation of Genesis. The iconic work will be displayed on the floor, providing a rare opportunity to view the masterpiece up close. And it’s a bargain at only $10 a ticket; $5 for students. Visit the Virginia Arts Festival website for more information, vafest.org.
Editor’s note: Virginia Arts Festival events through June 14 have been rescheduled, postponed or canceled as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, according to a press release in early April received after this list was compiled.
More than 30 artists from across the state will take part in The Painted Garden Art Show through May 1 at the Oceanfront’s Beach Gallery in Virginia Beach. The exhibit, Gardens by the Sea, features contemporary realist Terry Lacy, an artist in residence at Richmond’s Crossroads Art Center, according to a press release. The gallery is to be open Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. A portion of the proceeds benefit local garden clubs.
Tidewater native finds The Way Back
Actor Melvin Gregg is a proud Portsmouth native. But recently he told The Virginian-Pilot he knew he’d have to leave home to make his acting dream a reality, so he packed up and moved to Los Angeles. That was years ago. Now the 31-year-old is appearing in his first major motion picture, a sport’s themed, road-to-redemption story called The Way Back. The movie stars award-winning actor and filmmaker Ben Affleck, who plays a recovering alcoholic coach to Gregg’s hard-charging, high school basketball player.
“Overnight in Hollywood is 10 years. I’ve got all these movies coming out now, but I’ve been doing this since 2008,” Gregg told The Pilot. “You have to be in it for the long haul.”
From the New World
Speaking of talented Tidewater natives, some of its finest will return to help Virginia Symphony Orchestra celebrate its 100th anniversary season, starting with Suffolk native and Governor’s School for the Arts graduate Ryan Speedo Green in September. The Metropolitan Opera star will perform a variety of operatic showstoppers, Broadway standards and African American spirituals in a program called From the New World, according to the orchestra’s website.
Others scheduled to appear this season are Norfolk native Thomas Wilkins, conducting the orchestra alongside Grammy-winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis in November; and Newport News natives – and brothers – Brendon and Sterling Elliott, performing Brahms’ Concerto for Violin and Cello in January. Visit virginiasymphony.org/100years
Dessert wine takes the Cup
The 2017 Vidal Blanc Passito from 868 Estate Vineyards in Purcellville impressed a panel of 19 judges to win this year’s Governor’s Cup. More than 530 wines were submitted for consideration, according to a news release, but the Passito is the first winner made entirely from Loudoun County fruit. It was produced using the Italian appassimento technique of partially drying the grapes to concentrate their flavor, and as of early March, it was available in “extremely limited supply,” according to the winery’s website.
Eleven other top wines join the Passito in the Governor’s Cup case, representing a broad swath of the commonwealth’s geographically diverse wine country, including Central and Northern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley.