5 Things You Missed If You Didn’t Attend #BelmontArtAfterHours

1. Free admission to a live concert by The Acoustic Onion
2. Free admission to the Studio
3. Stafford County’s Adventure Brewing Co.
4. Stafford County’s Potomac Point Vineyard & Winery
5. UFO food truck

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We had our first ever Art after Hours here at Gari Melchers Home and Studio on September 24 and it was a major success! The perfect fall weather mixed with great music, delicious food, local beer and wine, made for a wonderful evening. We had the band set up on the lawn right in front of the sunroom doors, the food truck was parked inside the gates across from the house, and the winery and brewery had tents set up on the back of the lawn. Our guests were able to enjoy the beautiful evening surrounded by Belmont’s charming gardens and the Rappahannock River.

The Entertainment
The Acoustic Onion, a local four member band known for their unique interpretation of 60’s and 70’s hits, entertained a crowd of over 100. They have built a diverse fan base on the strength of their energetic old school rock and roll, and some guests even brought their dancing shoes and grooved on the lawn! Many also brought lawn chairs and blankets to relax on the grass and listen to the far-out tunes.

Guests were able to stroll through the Studio and galleries after hours; many told me they had never been here before. I had some friends come to the event and was tickled by how truly interested they were while walking through the Studio. Some, who hadn’t visited Belmont since their youth, were able to reconnect with and appreciate the museum in a new way. I think this event allowed young adults to learn about Gari Melchers, appreciate Fredericksburg’s rich history, and hopefully look forward to future events here!

Beer and Wine
The beer and wine came from Stafford County’s own Adventure Brewing Co. and Potomac Point Winery. I was lucky enough to meet with Stan, one of the owners of Adventure Brewing, and he let me taste a few of their delicious beers. When I tasted their Pumpkin Patch Ale, I immediately knew it would be perfect for this event. It just put me in the fall spirit. They also served their most popular brew, Expedition IPA. Potomac Point Winery brought two whites and two reds to give our guests a nice variety. If you haven’t checked out these two local businesses, you really should.

Who doesn’t love a good food truck? I thought that it would be the perfect dinner option for our first Art after Hours! The UFO food truck sold their ultimate sliders and fusion tacos inspired by classic sandwiches such as the Reuben, Fish Sandwich, and Buffalo Chicken Sandwich. I ordered the Big Foot Barbeque Tacos which has Pulled Pork topped with Sweet Thai Chili Sauce, they were delicious. The Folks at UFO take these tried and true items and elevate them to create “out of this world” food. Everything that I tried, which happened to be quite a bit because I nibbled on all my friends choices, too, was SO GOOD. We even talked about becoming UFO groupies and following them around town so we can taste it all!

The event was a huge success and left guests asking when we are having our next Art after Hours. I had a few conversations with people who had never been to Belmont about how, when we grow up somewhere, we don’t always pay attention to the historic hidden gems. I think this event allowed a younger generation to experience Belmont and others to see it in another light. We plan on hosting another one in the spring, so don’t miss it!