Unwind at Wine on the Water
by Madison White Franks
A cool breeze comes off the Rappahannock, rustling the leaves in the trees. The chatter of the gathering crowd is muted by the band tuning up. And that first sip of wine is even more refreshing as the sun kisses the treetops. It’s another Friday at Wine on the Water (WOW).
“People attend WOW for something to do, a change in venue, meet new friends, take a boat ride, enjoy live music, great wine, craft beer and contribute to a worthy cause,” said Ledwith-Lewis Free Health Clinic executive director Michael Faulkner.
WOW began eight years ago to benefit the clinic in Tappahannock. It started as an opportunity for people who support the clinic to get together on the Rappahannock River for fellowship, music, light food and wine, said Faulkner.
“The first one wasn’t marketed as the same event it is today but people got together to share their appreciation and mutual support of the free clinic. As years progressed, it has become one of the major summer events of this area that people look forward to,” he said.
The event, from 5 to 8 p.m. on first Fridays in June, July, August and September, has grown from 10 people in 2010 to some 400 people. Attendants can enjoy Virginia craft beer and wine from around the world selected by wine representative Karen Hayes of Country Vintner in Richmond. Four different wines are featured at each event, said Faulkner.
Cider is an alternative for those who do not like or cannot drink beer or wine, he added.
Organized by clinic volunteers, WOW will be held at Garrett’s Marina in Center Cross in June, July, and September. The August event will be held at St. Margaret’s School in Tappahannock.
“The event locations are selected for their waterfront views and access by boat,” said Faulkner.
WOW 2018 will feature Midnight Coal, a classic rock band from Tappahannock on June 1 and September 7, Andrew Magruder and Friends, a local bluegrass band, on July 6, and The Fox Sisters, a pop and classic rhythm and blues band from Richmond, on August 3.
“WOW provides an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and meet lots of new intriguing people,” said Sue Farmar of B.H. Baird Insurance, a WOW sponsor.
Patron Barb Jump sums it up—“great friends, great music, great wine, in the great outdoors, for a great cause.”
Children are welcome. Many folks come to enjoy the music, dancing and be with family on the water, said Faulkner.
Admission is $10 per person which includes a first drink, light snacks, music and fun, he said. Additional drink tickets are available for purchase, $4 for beer and cider, $5 for wine.
Seating is available for up to 75, so patrons are urged to bring their own chairs.
About the clinic
“The free health clinic provides free healthcare to residents in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula regions of Virginia at no cost including primary care, acute care and women’s wellness. We have an endocrinology clinic and access to specialty providers if needed. We also work closely with Riverside Tappahannock Hospital who is one of our biggest supporters.
“We provide free medicine and free prescriptions too. Our cash operating budget is right around $260,000 a year and we provide almost $9 million in services,” said Faulkner.
The clinic is a 99% all volunteer organization and served approximately 3,000 patients and prescribed 7,000 medications at no cost in 2017.
The clinic was formed in 2005, with the help of Tappahannock Memorial United Methodist Church and other community members to address the lack of healthcare available to those in the area without health insurance and the means to access quality healthcare.
Dr. James Ledwith, a family medicine doctor at the time in Tappahannock, noticed that within his own practice there were many individuals who were uninsured and had difficulty paying their medical bills on their own. He did the best he could to work with these patients but realized the number was more than what he could handle, said Faulkner.
He enlisted the help of his church group to open his office one day a month to provide free services to those who were unable to afford them.
The need for services quickly became greater than expected and services grew to once a week, then twice a week, and currently, 12 clinics per month are offered, and two patient screening days per week.
In 2006, Dr. Ledwith left the region to pursue professional options in Boston. In 2007, retired cardiologist and Essex County resident Dr. Richard G. Lewis became the volunteer medical director and continues to serve in that position.
As a direct result of Dr. Lewis’s dedicated service and faith in the mission, the Tappahannock Regional Free Health Clinic, along with Dr. Ledwith’s dream were able to prosper and grow beyond the original goals and continues to expand.
In January 2016, the board of directors decided to rename the Tappahannock Regional Free Clinic to the Ledwith-Lewis Free Health Clinic in celebration of 10 years of service to the region and to honor the men who brought this organization to fruition.
WOW When and Where
5-8 p.m. First Fridays
Garrett’s Marina, 339 Catchpenny Lane,
Bowler’s Wharf, Center Cross
Featuring Midnight Coal, a classic rock band of Tappahannock
Featuring Andrew Magruder and Friends,
a local bluegrass band of Tappahannock
St. Margaret’s School, 444 South Water Lane, Tappahannock.
Featuring The Fox Sisters, pop and classic rhythm
and blues of Richmond
Featuring Midnight Coal, a classic rock band of Tappahannock.
Limited seating available so bring your own.