By Chelsea Rose Moore

Mark your calendars for the second annual Piper Cup on July 30th! Kicking off at 3pm, the event will be held at Banbury Cross Polo, with all proceeds benefitting the Middleburg Humane Society. The afternoon is full of exciting events, including a VIP tent, DJ Snow White, a polo match, Amazing Grace the Mule, dancing and a silent auction. General admission tickets include access to food trucks and a bar.

2nd Annual Piper Cup

2nd Annual Piper Cup

As a family-friendly celebration, the afternoon will be jam-packed with activities appealing to both the young and old alike. Amazing Grace the Mule will be performing by painting a picture and wowing attendees with her incredible skills. She starred in the film “Get Low” with Robert Duvall, and can play basketball, ring a dinner bell and even collect mail.

The silent auction will consist of original artwork, one-of-a-kind prints and items donated by the Middleburg community. Donated items include a Tiffany crystal bowl, pearl earrings and a silk and cashmere scarf.

The Piper Cup serves as the third birthday celebration for Piper, a French bulldog belonging to Banbury Cross Polo Club owners Breanna and Nelson Gunnell. Breanna dreamed up the event last year and the polo community raised a generous $9,000 for the Middleburg Humane Foundation. This year’s event is already promising to be even more successful.

As a regional shelter and non-profit organization, the Middleburg Humane Foundation specializes in the rescue, rehabilitation, and recuperation of animals in the DMV area. Located in Marshall, the Foundation is currently in the process of building a new 10,000 square foot facility on 23 acres, which will include a full-service veterinary clinic for low-income families. The new facility will expand the Foundation’s services.

The Foundation currently partners with schools to educate students about animal care and veterinary technician duties. Future plans include partnerships with Lord Fairfax Community College designed to host student practicals in the new facility that directly correspond with the classroom bookwork.

Virginia Tech veterinary students will be invited to visit the facility on a rotating basis to get hands-on experience and learn more about shelter management. The Foundation will be offering a two-bedroom apartment to the VA Tech students working at the facility.

Melanie Burch, Middleburg Humane Foundation’s Director of Development, has been with the Foundation since January 2015. She described the Foundation as a “different [kind of] facility,” pointing out its focus on educating the community in a variety of ways. She has been busy with plans for this year’s Piper Cup celebration and is deeply grateful to Breanna and Nelson Gunnell for approaching her with the idea for the event.

“The Gunnells are warm, welcoming people who have opened their arms and said ‘We believe in Middleburg Humane Foundation and in what you do,’” said Burch, “I’ve personally found it a joy to meet them, and have truly enjoyed just being around them. The Gunnells are very kind and they are truly generous. Middleburg Humane Foundation and the Board have been so grateful to have their full support, and cannot thank them enough for their generosity and their benevolence.”

Tickets for The Piper Cup are available for VIP Tables, VIP Tickets, General Admission, and Tailgating Spots. Tickets can be purchased by visiting and clicking “Piper Cup.” Event attire is preppy polo. Banbury Cross Polo Club is located at 23156 Carters Farm Lane, Middleburg.