Wednesday, December 28, 2011

First Night Danbury -- Just Around the Corner!



This year, First Night Danbury enters its 22nd year as the city’s popular family friendly, alcohol free New Year’s Eve celebration, its “Looking Up & Moving Forward.” That’s this year’s theme, a nod to the fest’s venerable history and to the Danbury Main Street Partnership, for which First Night serves as a year-end acknowledgement of the ongoing excitement of what’s happening downtown.

Buttons, providing entry to all events, are $7.50 and may be purchased at City Center Danbury http://citycenterdanbury.com and at various local outlets http://www.firstnightdanbury.org/buttons. Groups of 20 or more may purchase buttons at $5.00 each at the CityCenter offices until 8:00PM on Friday, December 30th. Phone: 203-792-1711 for details.

The City swings into action on December 31 with its popular Run into New Year 5 K race that begins at 3:00 PM on the Danbury Green. Runners sprint down Main Street, through Rogers Park and back to City Center where the race began. There aren’t any water spotters, so make sure you are hydrated before you start your run on this fairly flat course.

The entry fee is $20 through December 30th, and $25 on Race Day. Register on active.com through Friday, December 30th. Or, register on Race Day from 1:30 to 2:30 pm at the Danbury Arena, 1 Independence Way, adjacent to the Green. There you can also pick up your Race packets and a First Night Danbury button to provide entrance to this year’s entertainments. All pre-registered runners will receive a 5K commemorative T-shirt. Overall Winners will receive trophies, and medals will be awarded to Winners in their Age Groups.

The fun continues throughout the afternoon with stilt walkers, giant puppets, storytellers, comic opera, gospel singing, Chinese puppet theatre, salsa dance classes, and much more, ending with a Grand Finale at 7:30 pm on Library Plaza. The centerpiece of the event, a vaudeville at the 1928 Palace Theatre http://thepalacedanbury.com features the Airborne Jugglers, that lets audience members steal the show; Boston funny man Peter Gross, whose interactive comedy has entertained visitors far and wide; and Israel’s Natalia Paruz, “The Saw Lady,” who has presented her contemporary vaudeville with major symphony orchestras worldwide.

Another highlight of First Night is being served up by the Danbury Museum and Historical Society. Colonial Dance Master, Fran Hendrickson offers family fun at the Danbury Museum and Historical Society www.danburymuseum.org. by explaining colonial dancing, music and history from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM. This is a participatory activity and all are welcome to come in costume. This event is free and open to the public.

The historic Rider House, owned by the Danbury Historical Society and located in the heart of Danbury on 43 Main Street will provide the setting for a traditional, colonial meal. Dinner will include Butternut, Parsnip & Pear Soup, White Bean & Turkey Stew with Root Vegetables; Corn Bread and Indian pudding. The historical society will also offer a vegetarian version of this colonial feast.

The cost of the dinner is $15/adult and $10/child but will be discounted if you present a First Night Button to $10/adult and $6/child. First Night Buttons are now available for sale in the museum gift shop. Dinner will be served on a first come, first served basis. Reservations are recommended and can be made by emailing info@danburymuseum.org or calling 203.743.5200.

First Night Danbury concludes with fireworks at 8:30 p.m. For a complete list of venues and events visit http://citycenterdanbury.com.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Guided Tours of the Hotchkiss Fyler House through Dec. 30


The elegant Hotchkiss-Fyler House Museum, 192 Main Street, opened its doors to holiday visitors on Saturday, December 10, 2011. Tours will continue through December 30, 2011. The Hotchkiss- Fyler House was built in 1900 and was home to two generations of the family for more than half a century. THe home remains furnished as it was in 1956 when occupied by Gertrude Hotchkiss, daughter of Orsamus and Mary Fyler.

Christmas at the Hotchkiss-Fyler House Museum features turn-of-the-century holiday decorations and lavish displays of greenery and flowers. Exquisite floral arrangements are provided by the Garden Committee of the Torrington Historical Society and by local horticulturalist Gwenthye b.Harvey.

The dining room table is set for a Christmas dinner with fine china, crystal, silverware, and linens that belonged to Gertrude Fyler Hotchkiss. A number of trees are displayed in the house, including a table-top tree in the Sunroom which is decorated with late-19th and early 20th century ornaments on loan from a private collector and a full-size tree in the Reception Room that is covered in handmade Victorian-style ornaments and vintage ornaments from the Society’s collection. Antique toys, also from the Society’s collection, are displayed beneath the Reception Room tree. This year visitors will find decorations and displays throughout the house that feature birds and feathers, a tribute to Mrs. Hotchkiss’ love of animals and nature.

Guided House Tours are offered Tuesday through Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m., tours are on the half hour, the last last tour is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.. Admission is $7 for adults, free for members and children under age 12. The house is closed on Mondays and will be closed on December 24th and December 25th.




An evening tour is scheduled for December 20th at 7 pm. Participants will be treated to a special tour of the House Museum decorated for the holiday season with wreaths, Christmas trees, garlands and flower arrangements. The Hotchkiss-Fyler House at night is a beautiful sight with candles glowing and a fire in the library fireplace. The museum never looks so magical as it does at night during this time of year.

After touring the museum visitors will be escorted to the Carriage House for coffee and dessert. The walls of the Carriage House Gallery display historic photographs of Downtown Torrington. The event will conclude at about 8:30 p.m..

Tickets for this special fundraising event are $20 per person ($15 for members of the Historical Society). Space is limited to about 25 people and reservations are required. To make a reservation call the Historical Society at 860-482-8260 or email at torringtonhistorical@snet.net. For more information about the Hotchkiss Fyler House visit www.torringtonhistoricalsociety.org

Friday, December 16, 2011

Unique Holiday Gift Ideas


The countdown to the holidays has begun! If you are trying to think of some off-the-beaten-track gift ideas, for special friends and family, below you will find a list of suggestions. So, if you are looking for a unique gift, you might want to check out the following institutions that work hard all year round to make our lives more culturally fulfilling.

The Fairfield Museum and History Center www.fairfieldhistory.org Gift Shop can be the ideal spot to find all of the gifts on one's list or special last-minute treasures. The shop, which will be opened until 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve, offers a range of unusual Christmas ornaments and stocking stuffers along with jewelry, books, note cards and a host of children's gifts. If you want to buy local, Fairfield artisans and jewelry manufacturers have created about 25% of the inventory. Museum members have already received a 20 percent discount card through the mail and non-members visiting the shop can still pick up a 20 percent discount card. All shop proceeds support the Museum's exhibitions and education programs and new members receive a 10 percent discount.

The Westport Historical Society www.westporthistory.org offers a wonderful range of products including beautifully framed pictures, Westport dish towels, glass blown ornaments, jewelry, sweatshirts, books, mugs, stationary, postcards, and a new Westport calendar for 2012. Best of all there is no tax on anything you buy! The shop is open 10 to 4 Mon.- Fri. and Sat. noon to 4.

The New England Carousel Museum www.thecarouselmuseum.org in Bristol offers a whimsical selection of carousel themed pieces, woodcarvings, books, Victorian gifts, jewelry, quilts, prints, and paintings. They even offer full size reproduction hand carved carousel pieces! The gift shop is open during Carousel Museum hours, Monday thru Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sundays from 12pm to 5pm. The Museum is located at 95 Riverside Avenue in Bristol, 860-585-5411.




The Bruce Museum www.brucemuseum.org in Greenwich is offers a unique blend of gift ideas from science kits for young experimenters and Josh Simpson contemporary glass planets, an other-worldly gift; to Jewelry from the sublime to the whimsical and Geode bookends for literature lovers. The gift of membership to The Bruce Museum is 50% off. Holiday shopping hours are: Tues. – Sat., 10 am – 4:30 pm, Sunday, 1 pm – 4:30 pm, and Mon., Dec. 19, 10 am – 12 noon.

The Bartlett Arboretum on 151 Brookdale Rd. Stamford www.bartlettarboretum.org is offering a stunning four season calendar that features beautiful images from the photography club of lower Fairfield County as well as a number of gift certificates that can be used for classes, events, plant sales and in the gift shop. A give one and get one free family membership to the Bartlett is being offered through 12/31/11 (please note, limit one per customer). This is a great way to save 50% and give a gift that will be treasured throughout the year.

If you are looking for original artwork, stop in at the Greenwich Historical Society's Storehouse Gallery Shop www.hstg.org that is hosting a sale of works by 2011′s Greenwich Community artists through January 25, 2012. Art in a variety of media from paintings to photography to sculpture will be on sale and may be taken as soon as it is purchased. Fresh works will replace the pieces that are sold throughout the holiday shopping season. Buy one of these beautiful creations as a gift, and you'll not only be able to bestow something totally unique, you'll support the Historical Society as well.

For racing fans, Lime Rock Park, the Road Racing Center of the East in Lime Rock CT is offering a holiday 15% discount for 2012 events at the Park through Dec. 31! By ordering online www.Tickets.limerock.com or by calling 860.435.5000, you can save 15% on all General Admission tickets for 2012. If you purchase Lime Rock Park tickets and Season Passes before December 31 you won't have to pay the new 10% surcharge.

Just in case it's fallen off your radar screen, starting January 1, 2012, the state of Connecticut requires most entertainment venues, including Connecticut's race tracks, to collect a 10% Admissions Tax on tickets, whether purchased in advance or at the gate.

Happy Shopping!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Lime Rock Park’s Christmas Holiday Discount Ticket Sale is Underway!



Lime Rock Park, the Road Racing Center of the East is offering special discounts for 2012 this holiday season! By ordering online (http://tickets.limerock.com) or over the phone (860.435.5000), you can save 15% on all General Admission tickets for 2012.

You can even buy a 2012 Season Pass, which gets you into the track every day of every major event. That's 12 days of admission, plus three SCCA Race Days, PLUS Premium Parking, for just $230. (That's a $156 savings compared to the gate weekend ticket prices!) Doesn't that sound like a great Holiday Gift? If you are undecided, you can even purchase a Lime Rock Park gift certificate in any dollar amount.

If you are looking for something really unique and unusual for the person that has everything... then you might want to consider two of Lime Rock Park's "high-end" offerings!



Do you know someone on your shopping list who's been dying to drive on Lime Rock Park's famous track? Why not surprise that person with a BYOC Track Day, courtesy of the private Lime Rock Drivers Club. BYOC? That's "Bring Your Own Car!" Yes, for $995, you get a gift certificate for four hours of track time, driving your car, coached the whole time by a racing driver/instructor. Lime Rock will provide a wonderful lunch and will even provide the helmet. If you have a "car nut" that you're buying a Christmas present for, this tops the list.

Another option is to make someone a member of the aptly named "Insider's Club". For every race day of every major event, Insider's Club members get the VIP treatment in the beautiful Lime Rock Chalet, near the top of the Infield Spectator Hill. "Insiders" get wonderful catered food beautifully presented by Lime Rock's own chefs, terrific personal service, souvenir programs, VIP Parking... and even the chance to get to know some of the more famous Insider's Club members such as Sam Posey and John Fitch. Only a small, limited number of Insider's Club memberships are available every year at $975, so if this sounds appealing, call soon. This will be a gift that will be appreciated all year long!


Looking ahead to 2012 Lime Rock has already scheduled the following events:

May 25-27- * Sports Car Championships (main event Trans-Am) & Royals Car Show

July 6-7- (no Monday races) * American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Northeast Grand Prix

July 21- Ferrari Challenge

Aug. 31 – Sept. 3- Historic Festival 30 & Sunday in the Park Concours

September 28-29 - * Grand-Am Rolex Championship Finale

Friday, December 9, 2011

2nd Annual Wine and Chocolate Holiday Party at White Silo Winery



White Silo Winery has organized its' annual end of the year holiday party...around chocolate and wine on December 17th! What better way to celebrate the holidays than with a wine and chocolate pairing featuring Guittard chocolate selections imported from all over the world!

There will even be a chocolate expert from Guittard Chocolates on hand to help guide participants through the chocolate and wine pairings and answer any chocolate questions that are asked. Cheese, fruit, and White Silo mustards and jams, and other finger foods will also be served.

The event offers three separate tastings, one at 12 PM, one at 2PM and one at 4PM. Spots are limited at each session to 40 guests so it is suggested that you reserve your spot early to be on the safe side.

Tickets are $10 per person and must be purchased on-line in advance. For more information and to purchase tickets go to www.whitesilowinery.com and select the tab Gallery/Events then click on the Dec 17th event.

A performance by Leesa Sklover-Filgatece will be featured at the 4 PM event. She will be performing songs from her new CD.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

“Turtle Family Day” at The Bruce Museum Dec. 11


The Bruce Museum celebrates the International Year of the Turtle with "Turtle Family Day" on Sunday, December 11, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Fun-filled activities for the entire family include explorations of the Museum's natural history galleries in search of turtles and turtle-themed crafts in the Education Workshop.

The afternoon event features a live "Turtle and Tortoise" program at 3:00 p.m. presented by Erik Callender of Erik's Reptile Edventures. Erik and his crew work with turtles from around the world including the African Spur Thighed Tortoise, Chinese Box Turtle, Mata Mata Turtle from South America, and Gopher Tortoise from the southeastern United States.

All activities are suitable for people of all abilities, ages 5 years and up, and are free with Museum admission. The Bruce Museum is located at 1 Museum Drive in Greenwich, Connecticut. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and students. Bruce Museum members are free. For information, call the Bruce Museum at (203) 869-0376, or visit the Bruce Museum website at brucemuseum.org.

Friday, December 2, 2011

HOLIDAY SPIRIT GETS AN EARLY START IN THE LITCHFIELD HILLS - Dec. 2 and 3!


One good place to start is Connecticut's own little town of Bethlehem, a quaint, village that is transformed each December, when it becomes New England's favorite Christmas Town. Thousands of visitors arrive to mail their Christmas cards with a Bethlehem postmark and to enjoy the 30th annual gala Christmas Town Festival, set this year for Friday night December 2 and Saturday, December 3. The town green is transformed for the occasion with some 70 vendors offering crafts and good food. Bring the family for musical entertainment, hayrides and the chance for a photo with Santa. Find the complete schedule at www.christmastownfestival.com

Bethlehem's historic Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden will be festively decorated for the weekend, with themed decorations in each of the first floor rooms. Children will enjoy games, prizes and surprises and refreshments in the Visitor's Center. This house will be open during festival hours, December 2 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and December 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For details, phone (203) 266-7596.

Bethlehem also offers the chance to visit a rare museum-quality 18th century Neapolitan Crèche housed in a barn at the Abbey of Regina Laudis. Check the hours at abbeyofreginalaudis.com.

Family Fun

Kids will love the Grinch Festival a the Imagine Nation Children's Museum in Bristol on December 2, where the Dr. Seuss world of Whoville, complete with crafts, sing-alongs and special visitors--including the Grinch. www.imaginenation.org

December 3 marks the opening of the Winter Indian Arts & Craft Market at the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, and from 1 to 2 p.m. parents can shop in peace while their children are happily occupied making cornhusk holiday angels to decorate the tree at home. The market continues the whole month of December. www.birdstone.org

More holiday ornament-making for kids will take place at the Sharon Tree Lighting on the green and Sharon Historical Society Open House starting at 4:45 on December 3. Everyone is invited to enjoy hot chocolate and homemade cookies furnished by Sharon residents at the society's headquarters, the historic Gay-Hoyt House, which is beautifully decorated for the occasion. www.sharonhist.org

The Merwinsville Hotel and Museum is transformed into a winter wonderland every year for Christmas in Gaylordsville, a world of snow villages, model trains around the Christmas tree, caroler's displays of snow globes, nutcrackers and music boxes. Art, crafts, jewelry, weavings, birdhouses, and photography by local artists are among the tempting items for sale. A special Story Time for children will take place on Saturday and Sunday at 11AM. www.gaylordsville.org

Festive Shopping

This will be the 22nd year for St. John's Bazaar in Woodbury December 2 and 3. A live auction will take place at Friday night's preview party, with offerings such as a week in Tuscany or a Nantucket getaway. The Bazaar continues on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with festive gift shopping and delicious treats from the famous St. John's Larder. www.stjohnwoodbury.org

Another favorite historic celebration is the annual Holiday Festival at the Glebe House in Woodbury, also Friday, December 2 and Saturday, December 3. Free tours will be offered of the museum house, beautifully decorated for the holidays with wreaths, holiday lighting, and garlands, all for sale. A bazaar offers many original gift ideas. www.theglebehouse.org

The Holiday Tea at the historic Rider House is a happy tradition presented by the Danbury Museum and Historical Society from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. on December 3. A variety of teas and an assortment of sandwiches, savories and sweets will be served and the Danbury Museum's Holiday Bazaar will be open with a host of gift ideas. Reservations are required--space is limited. Call (203) 723-5200 for further information.

The Bethel Holiday Craft Festival at The Best Western Berkshire Inn on December 3 will be another opportunity to find unique gifts made by many talented artisans. Phone (203) 261-2414 for hours.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ride a Vintage Train to Visit Santa Claus at Danbury’s Railroad Museum !



That portly gent from the North Pole will once again pay a visit to the Danbury Railway Museum and you can take a ride in a vintage train through the historic rail yard to visit him. The event will take place on Saturdays and Sundays, December 4th, December 10-11 and December 17-18. Trains will depart every half-hour from 12:00pm to 3:30pm on Saturdays and on 12:30pm to 3:30pm on Sundays.
The short train ride in a fully restored 1953 New Haven Railroad Rail Diesel Car (RDC), will take you through the rail yard and past the only powered turntable in Connecticut that has been recently listed on the National Historic Register. On your way to visit Santa, you will see over 70 vintage railroad cars, locomotives and many unique pieces of railroad history.

The train ride will bring you to Santa's very own private railcar where you'll be greeted by Mrs. Claus and Santa's helpers in Toyland. Of course, the exhibits and multiple operating model train layouts inside the restored 1903 Danbury station will also be open as will the be the well-stocked gift shop. Also inside the station, you will find hot chocolate, temporary tattoos and other activities for the little ones.
Admission is $9.00 for ages 2 and up (under 2, free). Each child will receive a small gift from Santa. Based on the popularity of this event the past couple of years, reservations are suggested.

About the Danbury Railroad Museum
The Danbury Railway Museum is a non-profit organization, staffed solely by volunteers, and is dedicated to the preservation of, and education about, railroad history. The museum is located in the restored 1903 Danbury Station and rail yard at 120 White Street, Danbury, CT. For further information, visit the Web site at http://www.danbury.org/drm, e-mail to info@danburyrail.org, or call the museum at 203-778-8337.

For area information visit www.visitwesternct.com

Monday, November 28, 2011

WATERBURY'S PALACE THEATER ANNOUNCES DECEMBER LINE-UP



Warm up with a hot show this December at the Palace Theater! Tickets and gift certificates can be purchased by phone at 203-346-2000, online at www.palacetheaterct.org, or in person at the box office, 100 East Main Street in Waterbury. Groups of 15 or more qualify for discounted rates and should call the group sales hotline at 203-346-2011.

Christmas at the Palace

Saturday, December 3 – 8pm

The Waterbury Chorale and the Waterbury Chorale Festival Orchestra present a program of secular and religious Christmas music that will delight and inspire audiences of all ages.

Tickets: $25/ $30/ $45

Waterbury Arts Magnet School presents A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Thursday, December 8 – 7pm; Friday, December 9 – 7pm; Saturday, December 10 – 2pm & 7pm

The timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge's transformation from a bitter and disillusioned creature into the most caring and generous of men comes alive at the Palace Theater.

Tickets: $12

aFTER WORK sMOOTH jAZZ & r&b

Friday, December 16 – 5:30pm
Kick-off the weekend right with smooth vibes on a Friday night! ACTJamsProductions.com presents an after-work social event featuring performances by The Ron Howard Experience, R&B vocalist Marquist, and Jazz vocalist Andrea Deyo, who will celebrate the sounds of Christmas during the event's "Tis the Season" segment. Hors d'oeuvres and drink specials will be served.

Tickets: $10

Woodbury Ballet presents The Nutcracker

Saturday, December 17 – 4pm

Enjoy a family holiday tradition where Sugar Plums dance, Flowers waltz and Snowflakes leap across the stage weaving a splendid tale of a little girl's dream of first love.

Tickets: $28/ $38/ $48

Swan Lake

Wednesday, December 21 – 7:30pm; Thursday, December 22 – 7:30pm

The State Ballet Theatre of Russia, from the city of Voronezh, brings the world's most beloved ballet - Tchaikovsky's SWAN LAKE - to glorious new life.

Tickets: $28/ $38/ $48/ $58

SHEN YUN PERFORMING ARTS
Monday, December 26 – 7:30pm; Thursday, December 29 and Friday, December 30 – 7:30pmInspired by the spirit of ancient China, Shen Yun Performing Arts brings to life a bygone culture with a gloriously colorful and exhilarating show of classical Chinese dance and music.



Tickets: $50/ $70 / $90/ $120

About the Palace Theater

The Palace's primary purpose is to revitalize the Greater Waterbury community through the presentation of the performing arts and educational initiatives in collaboration with area cultural and educational institutions. Its mission is to build a strong sense of community and an appreciation for the arts by operating, maintaining and sustaining itself as a financially viable not-for-profit performing arts center that generates a positive artistic, educational, social and financial impact on the Greater Waterbury area. For more information, visit: www.palacetheaterct.org.

The Palace Theater gratefully acknowledges support by Comcast, Webster Bank, Bank of America, City of Waterbury, Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, Naugatuck Savings Bank, Waterbury Hospital, FOX CT, Republican-American, WATR Radio and WTNH/WCTX.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

ALL ABOARD FOR “THE POLAR EXPRESS AT THE MARITIME AQUARIUM AT NORWALK Nov. 25-Dec. 31


Renew (or begin) a family tradition by securing your tickets for a magical ride to the North Pole as “The Polar Express” steams back onto the giant IMAX screen for a limited engagement at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

Based on the 1986 Caldecott Award-winning book by Chris Van Allsburg, “The Polar Express” follows a young boy who doubts the existence of Santa Claus. On Christmas Eve, a locomotive arrives to take him and other doubtful children to Santa’s North Pole headquarters. Their shared experiences ­– onboard with a mysterious conductor, at the North Pole and then on the return leg – make a compelling adventure.

The star of this adventure is Tom Hanks who cleverly plays five roles, including the train’s officious conductor, a ghostly hobo and Santa Claus. Hailed by critics nationwide, this film, shot entirely in Performance Capture, a process by which an actor’s live performance is digitally recorded by computerized cameras and becomes a human blueprint for creating virtual characters has been tapped to become a perennial classic that will be shared by the generations. Polar Express manages to sidestep all the tiresome Christmas cliches that children have inflicted on them this time of year and presents a fresh look at this magical time of year.

Tickets for “The Polar Express” are specially priced at $11.50 for adults, $10.50 seniors 65 and older, and $9.50 for children ages 2-12. Maritime Aquarium members save $1 and can be reserved in advance online at www.maritimeaquarium.org or by calling (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.

The show runs from November 25 – December 31st. Show times through Dec. 24 are 4 & 7:30 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays. After Christmas, “The Polar Express” will play at 4 & 7:30 p.m. Dec. 26-30 and at 4 p.m. Dec. 31.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dec. 2nd, The Barr Brothers, Fresh and Edgy Folk, Come to StageOne



StageOne, part of the Fairfield Theatre Company, www.fairfieldtheatre.org on 70 Sanford Street in Fairfield is presenting "The Barr Brothers" on December 2nd at 7:30 pm. "The Barr Brothers aren't just brothers," says Sticky Magazine this month, "They're more like a close-knit family with a vision of what modern folk should sound like." Not unlike the Fleet Foxes or Dawes, the Barr Brothers (built around Brad and Andrew) are at the forefront of a sort of revival of '70s folk rock aesthetics, through their sound, lifestyle and recording approach.

Best known as founding members of the spirited and unpredictable rock trio The Slip, brothers Andrew and Brad Barr had spent most of the '90s on tour with that band. With The Barr Brothers, they are keeping on their experimental, explosive and curious musical career while exploring sounds quieter and more ethereal than anything in their previous work.

Sara's classical harp was recorded through a fuzz pedal and they used a fretless peanut-bowl banjo and a bamboo angklung to create a masterfully modern and organically smooth Americana folk album. This kind of non-traditional music is not made every decade, never mind every year or every day.

Prepare yourself for a folk rock show that comes complete with a full-size classical harp! "Their tremendous talents shine through in this album and capture an Americana folk that keeps up with today's demands for a fresh sound." - Paste

The Details - The Barr Brothers on Saturday, December 2; Doors open at 7:00 PM; the Show begins at 7:30 PM.
Venue: StageOne 70 Sanford St., Fairfield, CT 06824 Tickets: $15 Member Discount: $3 Buy tickets: Box Office: 203.259.1036 or buy online: www.fairfieldtheatre.org

Upcoming Shows to Watch For

Sat., Nov. 26 @ StageOne: Corey Glover and Daniella Cotton: Daniella rocks out with hard rock band Living Colour's lead singer
Wed., Nov. 30 @ StageOne: Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks: a "folk jazz" holiday show

Thu., Dec. 1 @ StageOne: Chadwick Stokes: The reggae/folk rock Dispatch singer

Sat., Dec. 3 @ The Klein: Alice Cooper: The nightmarish classic rock legend

For additional information please visit http://www.fairfieldtheatre.org

About Fairfield Theatre Company

FTC manages two venues, StageOne in Fairfield and The Klein in Bridgeport. FTC is dedicated to presenting the best of live entertainment and performing arts education in the region.

Monday, November 21, 2011

St. John’s Bazaar Returns for 22nd Fabulous Year



St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, Conn. will host its 22nd Annual Bazaar on the weekend of Friday and Saturday, December 2 and 3. This event is a favorite among holiday shoppers and bargain hunters, for both the Silent Auction at the Preview Party, and the varied and charming booths that display goods throughout Saturday.The Preview Party, scheduled for Friday, December 2, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., will feature a live auction at 7:30 p.m. There is also a Silent Auction of gift certificates for dinners, spa treatments, food, concert tickets and many other items that will close at the end of the Preview Party.

There will be a great selection of antiques, silver, jewelry, decorative accessories, and The Greenhouse, a fabulous assortment of orchids, topiaries, and other fresh seasonal decorations.

The Preview Party includes a cocktail buffet and live music by Washington Depot resident Nancy Winston who will perform the Great American Songbook.

The Bazaar continues on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with festive shopping in the holiday booths. New vendors this year include: CMM Designs - Status Faux Jewelry; SUGS Jewelry - precious and semi precious jewelry; pashminas and cashmere accessories; Joy Newton - botanical designs; Madison James - point to point linen blankets; Catch All Gifts - gifts for the home; Roy Baker, Art from the Garden; and Zemma Mastin White, Antique Kimono Scarves. The Bargain Bungalow will be featured in the Church's cottage, and the Elegant Elephant will be open both Friday and Saturday. Lunch will also be available in the Larder. The Saturday Bazaar is free and open to the public.

Tickets for the Preview Party are $50 per person and are available by calling the Parish Office at 860-868-2527. The Bazaar will be held in the Parish Hall on Parsonage Lane. St. John's is located at 78 Green Hill Road, Washington, directly opposite the Green. For more information about this event and other programs at St. John's Episcopal Church, visit the website at www.stjohnswashington.org.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Three Historic Photojournalists Featured at Westport Arts Center


The Westport Arts Center will present “On Duty: Weegee, Metinides, Odertmatt,” featuring works by three influential photographers who worked in the late 1930s to the present day: A Swiss policeman, Arnold Odermatt; a Mexican photojournalist, Enrique Metinides; and New York photojournalist, Arthur Fellig, known as “Weegee.” The exhibition will open with a public reception on Friday, November 18, 6 – 8pm, and will run through Sunday, January 15.

The Westport Arts Center Gallery on 51 Riverside Avenue is free and open to the public seven day a week, Monday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm and Sunday, 12pm – 4pm. www.westportartscenter.org

This exhibition will feature 45 works by Weegee, Metinides, and Odermatt. All three, while on duty in their respective professions, cross the line of simply documenting accidents and day-to-day mayhem. The content of the imagery, often tragic or unsettling, transcends the rawness of the event.

Perhaps the most notorious and influential photographer in the exhibition is Weegee, who began shooting the streets on New York in the early ‘20s. Some sources speculate his name to be adapted phonetically from the “Ouija Board,” as he had an “Uncanny ability to make such early appearances at scenes of violence and catastrophe…[and took] mostly shots of bloody murders, fire, the seedy Bowery district, and sympathetic views of people who lived on the streets of New York at Night,” (Mary Christian, Oxford University Press).


Weegee’s immediate arrival to the scene can be credited to toting a shortwave police scanner in his car as well as his bedside. His trunk was a mobile studio with a typewriter, developing equipment, and, of course, plenty of cigars. By using a strong bulb flash and often-times developing the photograph immediately at the scene, Weegee created works that were extremely high-contrast and gritty. The raw and graphic nature of his work has inspired many subsequent photographers and artists, including Diane Arbus and Andy Warhol.

Shooting the same subject matter as Weegee, but in a radically different style, Enrique Metinides is Mexico’s most famous crime photographer. Taking his first photograph at age 12, Metinides caught the bug early, sleeping with a police scanner by his bedside with the goal to arrive on the scene of an accident moments before the police to get the perfect shot. Metinides’ work is deliberate in its composition; he uses a wider lens and carefully frames his subjects. Now retired, he captured the cultural milieu of Mexico City for more than five decades.

There are artists that happen upon their careers accidently, and Arnold Odertmatt is one such artist. The official police photographer in a small town in Swizerland from 1948 – 1990, Odermatt took archival images for police documentation and insurance claims. Odermatt would linger at the scene to shoot another round of photographs of the wreckage for himself. Odermatt captured an era of changing landscapes, where small country roads transitioned to highways that gave way to higher speeds and car accidents. His black and white photographs portray mostly cars and other vehicles, precariously placed in the person-less scene like crushed toys.


These three photographers’ approach to capturing moments of disaster and calamity reflect the differences in their cultural backgrounds: the dry practicality of Weegee, the baroque tragedy of Metinides and the clinical precision of Odermatt. Yet for their differences they are connected by their intense focus on the immediacy of their subject – stripped of artifact. In the process, each creates timeless vignettes that serve not only as inspiration for but are themselves works of art.

About Westport Arts Center

The Westport Arts Center is a visual and performing arts organization dedicated to creating arts experiences that enrich the lives of area residents and the entire community.

For more information, contact Westport Arts Center at 203-222-7070, www.westportartscenter.org. Gallery hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., at 51 Riverside Avenue, Westport, CT.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Westport Country Playhouse Presents….


I love plays that intrigue an audience. The Westport Country Playhouse has dreamed up an autumn script in hand reading that will keep you at the edge of your seat! On Monday, November 14, “Dial ‘M’ for Murder,” by Frederick Knott, will be performed at the Playhouse.

“Dial ‘M’ for Murder” asks the question: is there such a thing as a perfect murder? Tony married Margot for her money, and now plans to murder her for the same reason. When the murderer gets murdered, Tony takes the opportunity to have Margot convicted of the crime. Will Inspector Hubbard of Scotland Yard and Margot’s would-be-lover be able to turn the tables on Tony and save Margot from the gallows? A suspenseful tale of blackmail, murder and clever police work, the whodunit is written by Frederick Knott (1916 – 2002), who also scribed “Wait Until Dark.”


The cast includes Kieran Campion as Max, Sean Patrick Reilly as Lesgate, Mark Shanahan as Tony and Paxton Whitehead as Inspector Hubbard.

“Dial ‘M’ for Murder” will be directed by Keefe. She served as artistic director of Westport Country Playhouse, with Joanne Woodward, in 2008 and as associate artistic director from 2000-2006, also with Ms. Woodward. She co-directed with Ms. Woodward the Westport Country Playhouse production of “David Copperfield,” and directed many readings.

Tickets to this performance are $15, a real bargain for first rate exhilarating entertainment! For more information or tickets, call the box office at (203) 227-4177, or toll-free at 1-888-927-7529, or visit Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport. Tickets are available online 24/7 at www.westportplayhouse.org.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gold Rush Fundraiser and Hidden Treasures Evaluation Day Coming to the Danbury Museum & Historical Society Nov. 4 and 5




Here's an opportunity for visitors and residents alike to do good with their gold! The Danbury Museum & Historical Society is pleased to welcome Liberty Gold, Inc. back to Huntington Hall for our second Gold Rush Fundraiser.

The public is invited to gather their unwanted gold and bring it to Huntington Hall, 43 Main Street, Danbury, CT on Thursday, November 3rd from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, November 4th from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, November 5th from 9 a.m. To 5 p.m.

"For this museum fundraiser, your checkbook stays home and you take home the money. Residents can help their hometown museum in a huge way because at the end of this 3-day even, 6-% of the total proceeds will be donated back to the Danbury Museum & Historical Society," explained Executive Director, Brigid Guertin. "It's also a great opportunity to make money for your holiday shopping this year."

Also taking place on Saturday, November 5th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. is another special fundraiser - Hidden Treasures Evaluation Day. The museum will be welcoming Tom Schwenke, owner of Woodbury Auction, to provide verbal evaluations of antiques and family treasures. The cost is $10 per item or 3 items for $25. All proceeds from this service will benefit the Danbury Museum & Historical Society.

About the DMHSA:

The Danbury Museum & Historical Society was formed in 1947 to acquire, preserve, exhibit and interpret the history of Danbury. Situated in downtown Danbury, the museum preserves the John and Mary Rider House (c.1785), the Dodd Hat Shop (c. 1790), two one-room schoolhouses, the Marian Anderson Studio and the Charles Ives Birthplace. Huntington Hall, a modern exhibit building houses the museum offices, archives and research library.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Waterbury's Palace Theatre Shines Spotlight on American History


American History will be brought to new life when Pushcart Players presents Let Freedom Ring at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, on Tuesday, November 15, at 9:30am and 11:30am. Tickets are $10 for individuals, $8 for groups of ten or more, and on sale now at the Palace Theater Box Office, 100 East Main Street in Waterbury.

Part of the Palace’s Education Series sponsored in part by Big Y World Class Market, Let Freedom Ring is a spirited musical review that celebrates America’s birth and development throughout the decades. The musical begins with the beginning of time and quickly moves to the arrival of the first Americans from Asia, covering approximately 30,000 years of history in less than five minutes. The rest of the musical follows America’s second settlers and focuses on four main characters-- Sam, Sarah, Jennie and Ginny -- who transcend time, distance and circumstance to lead audiences chronologically and geographically through two centuries of America’s past.

Like a colorful quilt, Let Freedom Ring is a compilation of authentic folk songs and significant moments in history embroidered with humor and drama and framed with the energy, determination and courage of the pilgrims, pioneers and immigrants, who helped shape America’s history. Recommended for grades K-8, the play highlights curricular integration in the subjects of American History, Civics and Music.

Pushcart Players is currently celebrating its thirty-eighth season of stirring up serious fun throughout the U.S. The dynamic company is the recipient of an Emmy nomination for two prime time specials on WCBS-TV, as well as numerous awards for excellence and innovation in the development of theatre for young audiences.

Endorsed by the Connecticut Association of Schools, the Palace Theater Education Series invites students to reflect on their academic lessons in a venue that encourages thought and imagination. All presentations and programs are selected for students, Grades K-9, and include in and after-school smART initiatives, design to enhance the theater experience while addressing state curriculum standards.

Administrators and teachers interested in booking a field trip can call the Group Sales Hotline at 203-346-2011. Individual tickets can be purchase by phone at 203-346-2000.

ABOUT THE PALACE THEATER

The Palace's primary purpose is to revitalize the Greater Waterbury community through the presentation of the performing arts and educational initiatives in collaboration with area cultural and educational institutions. Its mission is to build a strong sense of community and an appreciation for the arts by operating, maintaining and sustaining itself as a financially viable not-for-profit performing arts center that generates a positive artistic, educational, social and financial impact on the Greater Waterbury area. For more information, visit: www.palacetheaterct.org.

The Palace Theater gratefully acknowledges support by: Bank of America, Comcast, Crystal Rock, City of Waterbury, Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, Naugatuck Savings Bank, Republican-American, Waterbury Hospital, Webster Bank, and WTNH/MyTV9.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thomas Messel to sign Oliver Messel in the Theater of Design Saturday, November 5th at Hickory Stick Bookshop



Thomas Messel will be signing copies of OLIVER MESSEL IN THE THEATRE OF DESIGN on Saturday, November 5th at 4pm at The Hickory Stick Bookshop in Washington Depot on 2 Green Hill Road.

Oliver Messel in the Theatre of Design is a vibrant study of one of the iconic figures of twentieth-century design, who's Romantic, whimsical and wholly original style influenced a generation of architects and decorators. Born into a creative family of wealthy bankers, Messel's career began in 1925 designing for Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. He eventually became an internationally celebrated designer, branching out into drama, film, opera, textiles, interior design and architecture. Romanticism and eccentricity were hallmarks of Messel's style and his work was famed for its exquisite delicacy, impossible detail, subtlety of color and inventive use of materials.

This gorgeous book, edited by furniture designer Thomas Messel, is filled with previously unpublished images that chronicle a unique, eccentric, and, until now, largely overlooked oeuvre that reached across several mediums and continues to influence insiders from the worlds of interior design, architecture and fashion. A great treat for both design fanatics and lovers of beautiful books.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR...

Thomas Messel is one of England's most respected furniture designers and the nephew of Oliver Messel. He takes pride in creating one of a kind, commissioned pieces for some of England's foremost interior designers. Some of his private commissions have been for the Earl and Countess of Derby, the Crown Estates, Kensington Palace, Windsor Palace and Miss Joan Rivers.

This event is free and open to the public. For further information about this please visit www.hickorystickbookshop.com, call (860) 868 0525 or email books@hickorystickbookshop.com. If you are not able to attend please call to reserve an autographed copy.

Antiques Appraisal Weekend and a Vintage & Designer Jewelry Sale at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum

The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum will host its fourth annual Antiques Appraisal Weekend and launch its first Vintage & Designer Jewelry Sale on November 5 and 6, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 295 West Avenue, Norwalk, Conn.

In these harsh, recessionary times, most of us could benefit from discovering that we own a priceless family heirloom or a masterpiece picked up for just a few dollars at a garage sale, as it often happens on such popular TV shows as Pawn Stars or the Antiques Roadshow. Evaluating and selling antiques and collectibles however, is not just reality TV at its best, but a tangible opportunity for anyone living in the tri-State area.

On November 5 and 6 visitors to the Antiques Appraisal Weekend will find an outstanding line-up of experts that will be on hand for two full days to evaluate a wide range of antiques and collectibles including jewelry, fine art, furniture, books and documents, coins, pottery and China, silverware, sports memorabilia, toys, and more.

Appraisals are $15 for a small or medium size item and $40 for large antiques such as furniture, (maximum of three appraisals). One free $15 appraisal will be available for anyone who will become a new member of the Mansion, (an annual individual membership is $35). Jewelry and accessories start at $25. Antiques Appraisals proceeds will benefit the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum.

This year, this popular event will share the limelight with a Vintage & Designer Jewelry Sale, kicking off the Holiday Season with the Mansion as a ‘must go to’ shopping destination. The sale will feature a select group of sought-after designers and offer vintage and designer jewelry as well as one-of-a-kind accessories.

For a complete list of appraisers, jewelry designers, and information on their schedule at the Mansion, please visit www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com. The museum will be closed for tours on both days of appraisals on November 5th and 6th.

During the Antiques Appraisal Weekend the Museum Shop will be open to the public and offer an eclectic array of educational gifts and treasures to reflect the holiday spirit as well as the Museum’s featured exhibits. Victorian-style doll books and reproduction antique dolls will be on sale with other popular seasonal items such as ornaments, wreaths, gift baskets, tabletop decorations, children’s gifts, jewelry, and more. All proceeds will benefit the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Weekend at the Zoo!

I decided to take my niece Ella to the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport this past Saturday – and we had a wonderful time! One of the best things about the Beardsley Zoo is how child friendly it is. The zoo has loads of interactive activities for young and old alike. Best of all, the Beardsley Zoo is just big enough without being overwhelming.Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo exhibits hundreds of animals, primarily from North and South America. Many of the animals are endangered or threatened species, which means there aren't many of them left in the world.

A big hit with Ella, was the prairie dog exhibit with "pop-up" viewing areas. We also enjoyed a stroll through the New England Farmyard with goats, cows, pigs, sheep and other barnyard critters. Next, we took a walk along the hoofstock trail that featured bison, pronghorn, and deer.

High on our list too see was the Bald Eagle exhibit. A Zoo volunteer was on hand to tell us about two of the eagles, Temp and Kada that came to the Zoo from the Alaska Raptor Center. We learned that Bald Eagles use their talons to catch fish, and therefore tend to live near water sources such as lakes and rivers. We learned that they will scavenge carrion, steal other animals' kills and catch small mammals. Bald Eagles, who have an average life span of 28 years, are believed to mate for life and build enormous nests for the pair of eggs they will lay each year.


Next we peeked in at the Brazilian ocelot kitten born January 22 and her mother, Kuma. Both cats were napping in a beautiful rainforest environment. We enjoyed looking through the foliage for a glimpse of the two rare ocelot kittens, Red & Maned. Next we were enchanted by the antics of the Golden Lion Tamarins...whose energy seemed boundless...just like Ella's!

Our last stop was a walk through the "Alligator Alley" exhibit, home to five new alligators. The new deck gave us a terrific view of these reptiles as they went about their daily activities and feedings.

We learned from a volunteer on site that Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo's alligators are between the ages of four and five and are still small, the largest weighing approximately 55 lbs, while the smallest averages 30 lbs. They range from four to five feet long. Known to grow continuously throughout their lives, these creatures are known to reach lengths of thirteen to twenty feet and weights from 400 to 2,000 pounds! They can bite down with 2,000 pounds of pressure with a mouth that contains 65 teeth. Formerly an endangered species, more than one million adult alligators live in the wild today, representing a conservation success story!


On our way to the Carrousel for a spin we stopped to admire two beautiful Amur (Siberian) tigers and the Andean (spectacled) bears.

About Beardsley Zoo

Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo is closer than you think and is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Adult admission (ages 12 & older) is $12.00, children (ages 3 -11) and senior admission (62 and older) is just $10.00, and children under 3 years old are free. Zoo members are also admitted free. Parking at the Zoo is free of charge. For information, call: (203) 394-6565. Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo is located at 1875 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport, Connecticut. For more information, visit http://www.BeardsleyZoo.org

Thursday, October 20, 2011

TAKE A GINGERBREAD BREAK IN WESTERN CONNECTICUT



Lots of places feature colorful gingerbread houses for the holidays, but Kent, Connecticut goes a step further.
The whole town will take part in the second annual Kent Gingerbread Festival from November 25 to December 30. Everyone is invited to follow the Gingerbread Walk through town to view imaginative and ingenious gingerbread delights in over 50 shop windows. Visitors can enjoy the displays as they stroll, then vote for their favorite creations at the Gingerbread Station, 1 Kent Green Boulevard. The station will have its own displays of entries from the local gingerbread baking contest and will also offer baking and craft classes Phone (860) 927-1463 for schedules. Besides gingerbread displays, Kent will have special events every weekend, from pancakes with Santa to caroler and a Messiah sing-along.

MORE SWEET TREATS


Kent has the biggest show, but Connecticut’s Litchfield and Fairfield Counties offer several other impressive gingerbread displays guaranteed to delight, as well as the chance to take home some of the prize creations or make your own gingerbread confection.


More than 60 buildings, with horse and sleigh teams, ponds, boats, and sledders, all dressed up in Christmas splendor will be featured at the 44th annual Gingerbread Village, a lavish display from December 3 to 10 at St. George's Church on Tucker Hill Road in Middlebury. Everything is for sale, available to take home when the display ends. Admission is Free. Hours are Saturday, December 3rd 10 a.m. to 7 p.m, Sunday, December 4th, Noon to 8 p.m., Monday, December 5th to Friday, December 9th 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, December 10th, 10a.m.to 4 p.m. Call (203) 758-9557 for information.

The third annual Visions of Gingerbread: The Sweetest Architects at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center November 12 through December 18 shows off imaginative confections made by some of the area's best pastry chefs, restaurants, and caterers. DiMare's Pastry Shop of Stamford, SoNo Baking Company of South Norwalk and Sweet Lisa’s Exquisite Cakes of Greenwich are among those who are vying for first prize from a panel of special judges. These are far from ordinary houses; one of the past displays was a perfect miniature of the Duomo Cathedral in Florence, Italy. Visitors are invited to vote for the “Fan Favorite” of the year. Learn more at www.stamfordmuseum.org.




MAKE YOUR OWN

Those who are inspired to make their own gingerbread houses should contact the Silo Cooking School in New Milford. Each year The Silo offers classes for parents and children (ages 5 and up). There are classes also for adults, who enjoy appetizers and mulled wine as they assemble their architectural masterpieces. Classes are held several times on November 25-27, December 2-4 and December 9-10. The cost is $85 for each adult team or each parent-child team, up to 3 people. The classes sell out every year but would-be bakers can check for openings or waiting lists at (860) 355-0300. The Silo is part of the Hunt Hill Farm Trust so they are found on-line at www.hunthillfarmtrust.org/index.php?/silo/cooking)

For more information about gingerbread adventures, directions to events and listings of all the holiday doings in the region, contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, www.visitwesternct.com. They offer a free copy of UNWIND, a 112-page color guide to the attractions in the Litchfield Hills and a free color Fairfield County Getaway Guide.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Lights Are Back On — At Sheffield Island Lighthouse


It has been over one-hundred years since the lighthouse on Sheffield Island off the coast of Norwalk has cast it’s light across the waters of Long Island Sound. Tonight, that will all change thanks to NRG Energy Inc. A low-energy reflective light has been installed in the tower and will be turned on for the first time in over 100 years today. Activated in 1868, the Sheffield Island Lighthouse was in service for 34 years until its retirement in 1902. The lighthouse served as a navigational beacon before the Greens Ledge Lighthouse was built. Today, Greens Ledge Lighthouse is a beacon for pleasure and commercial boaters cruising Long Island Sound.

The Norwalk Seaport Association purchased the lighthouse in 1987 for $700,000 from Thorston O. Stabell, who bought the structure from the U.S. government years prior and used it as a summer residence. Today, the Sheffield Lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is maintained by the Association. Visitors to the island can stroll along the shoreline of the island and explore the lighthouse museum and nature preserve that is home to a number of seabirds and other island wildlife.

The new light on the island will not be used for navigational purposes, rather its intermittent light, visible from the Norwalk side of Long Island Sound is a reminder of the history of this important maritime landmark and a beacon that will welcome visitors to Sheffield Island.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fearsome Or Friendly, Fun Fills The Litchfield Hills For Halloween


Dracula, Frankenstein and other heroes of the horrors will be on hand, while spooks and spiders, ghouls and goblins will abound in haunted graveyards. The Litchfield Hills of Northwestern Connecticut will be filled with unique ways to celebrate Halloween throughout the month of October. Families can choose from fearsome to friendly, with many chances for younger children to don their costumes and parade in happy small town celebrations.

Scary Scenarios

For chills, make haste to the Haunted Graveyard at Lake Compounce Family Theme Park in Bristol, which has been called "The granddaddy of the horrifically good time." An unholy order of monks keep watch over the graves in the dark caverns of the Catacombs here and a dark and misty fog envelops the graveyard where zombies and night stalkers have wakened from the dead. Some are real; others are amazing animatronic creations made by The Haunted Graveyard's crazed staff. Recommended for adults, teens and very brave children, the park opens at dusk weekends from September 30 to October 31, and runs to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, to 10 p.m. on Sundays. The Haunted Graveyard will not be open October 2 and rides will not be open on October 31st. Lake Compounce will also be operating 17 thrill rides including Boulder Dash, Wildcat, Down Time, and Zoomerang. Proceeds will benefit the American Diabetes Associations. (www.lakecompounce.com)

This will be the 45th year for the annual Witches Dungeon Halloween Classic Movies Museum in Bristol. The Graveyard Of Classic Ghouls sets the atmosphere as you enter the dungeon where accurate life-size figures of Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi, and others are featured in 13 scenes or dioramas based on the vintage movie chillers. Many of the figures are made from the actual life casts of the actor's faces, plus some original costumes or props, in a wax museum style setting with special voice tracks by Vincent Price, Mark Hamill, and John Agar. Many Hollywood props are on display and vintage films may be shown outdoors, weather permitting. A special highlight this year is the display of the classic 1966 “Batmobile” for the opening weekend of Sept. 30 to October 2. Hours are Friday through Sunday evenings, 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., September 30 to October 31. The Museum is not recommended for children under age 7. A $2.00 donation is suggested for all ages! (www.preservehollywood.com)

Historic Happenings

At the historic Glebe House Museum in Woodbury on Saturday, October 22 costumed spirits will lead the way through the Ancient Burying grounds, where 20 of Woodbury's most famous and infamous 'spirits' await at their gravesites to relate tales from the darker side of 18th and 19th century Woodbury. There will be a spooky candlelit tour in the museum itself and stories and tales from Moll Cramer, the Witch of Woodbury, told in the Museum cottage. Madame Suzolo will be offering Tarot Card readings and there will be free fall refreshments for all. The Hollow will be closed to traffic and the area, including the walk to and through the cemetery will be lit with over 200 luminaries. Hours are 5 pm to 9 p.m. The rain date is October 29. www.theglebehouse.org.

The night of October 29 also brings the Halloween Spooktacular at the Tapping Reeve Law School on Rte. 63 South Street in Litchfield beginning at 6:30 PM.. The Litchfield Historical Society has partnered with the White Memorial Conservation Center for a spooktacular that promises candlelight reading of excerpts from the Washington Irving classic, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" interpreted by local thespians, Ilvi Dulac, Jane Coughlin, and Michael Medeiros. Next get ready to take a guided walking tour along Gallows Lane, site of the hanging and death of America's first mass murderer. The evening ends at White Memorial's A.B. Ceder Room with spooky treats. Here kids will also meet an owl and a bat and watch out for other things that go bump in the night! Bring a flashlight! Halloween costumes are suggested but not required! (860-567-0857). http://www.whitememorialcc.org

Once again this year, the festively decorated Railroad Museum of New England in Thomaston is scheduling Halloween Weekend train rides on its vintage trains on Saturday, Oct. 29 and Sunday, Oct. 30. The Halloween Express will take costumed passengers on a scenic 20-mile round-trip ride that runs along Mattatuck State Forest to the Brass Mills of Waterbury and back to the spectacular Thomaston Dam amid splendid fall foliage. Free pumpkins are given to every child as long as the supply lasts. (860-283-RAIL; www.rmne.org).

Hunt Hill Farm on Upland Road in New Milford is hosting “The Silo and the Supernatural” on October 30 from 4pm to 6 pm. Participants will enter the realm of the paranormal with The Northwest Ct Paranormal Society's professional investigator John Zontok and Bob Mills, a professional photographer who helps the team differentiate true paranormal pictures from forged images. Tools of the trade, the history of paranormal photography, and audio of ghostly voices and videos of what could be a revolutionary soldier will be shared and experienced. Local hauntings, including a Barkhamsted barn investigation featured on the Animal Planet's "The Haunted" series and "My Ghost Story are highlights of this macabre evening of paranormal fun. Due to the nature of this program, ages 12 and up please. (860-355-0300). www.hunthillfarmtrust.org.

Small Town Fun—for Free!!

Everyone is invited to join the 35th Annual Kent Pumpkin Run on October 30th. The festivities begin with a Kids Fun Run at 11:15 AM followed by the 5 mile run / walk at noon. The spectator friendly certified course starts and finishes at Kent Green in front of Town Hall. Festivities include music, refreshments (including Billy's famous Pumpkin Soup!), face painting, Halloween fun and much more.

The 19th Annual Halloween on the Green in Danbury will take place on Saturday, October 29 from 2 pm to 4pm with a Costume Parade scheduled for 3:30 pm. Prizes will be awarded for Most Original, Scariest, Cutest and Funniest get-ups. Children will have their own costume parade and games and get to decorate a pumpkin. (203-792-1711; www.citycenterdanbury.com).

Bristol is hosting the 17th Annual Free Halloween Carnival and Costume Parade for boys and girls up to 5th grade that will take place on October 30, from 11:45 to 3 p.m. at Rockwell Park. The parade begins at noon and Amazing Andy’s Magic Show follows. Carnival games, arts and crafts, Big Daddy’s Racing, an old fashioned photo booth, Twinkles and Jingles the clowns and Train Rides are also on the agenda. Each child will receive a free reflective trick or treat bag. Children participating in the Costume Parade will receive a small bag of treats. There is no charge to participate in the Fall/Halloween Carnival. (860-584-6160)

The Big Day

On October 31, beginning at 4:30 pm, the annual Halloween Costume Party for Children will go on at the New England Carousel Museum in Bristol, with the costume contest scheduled for 5 p.m. Ghoulish games and fun are promised, along with a crazy costume contest and what is billed as “frightening foods.” Kids are free, but adults are asked to contribute $1.

Finally, anyone who is in the area on Halloween night is invited to join the Safe Halloween fun at the Terryville Fairgrounds in Terryville from 6pm to 10pm. Sponsored by the Terryville Lion’s Club, it will feature hayrides, games, food and treats. All you need to participate is a non-perishable food item for the Plymouth Food Pantry.

For more information about Halloween happenings and other fall events and a free copy of UNWIND, a 112-page color guide to lodging, dining and all the attractions in Western Connecticut, contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, www.visitwesternct.com.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Unwind from the Daily Grind! Unwind from the Daily Grind! Travel tips, sneak peaks, special events, and first hand travel destination information… around the corner, up the street and around the county About Janet Serra CELBRATE THE FALL HARVEST AT STAMFORD MUSEUM AND NATURE CENTER OCT. 15 AND 16

The crisp days of fall are a glorious time of year in Connecticut and part of our New England Heritage. What better way to celebrate the fall than to visit the Stamford Museum and Nature Center www.stamfordmuseum.org this weekend for the Harvest Festival. The fair is located on 39 Scofieldtown Rd. in Stamford and takes place on October 15 and 16 from 11 am to 3 pm.

Kids will enjoy hayrides, apple cider demonstrations, a scarecrow contest, pumpkin carving, llama trekking, farm animal demonstrations and many other fun activities.

As Halloween is just around the corner, children are encouraged to wear a costume and participate in the Harvest Festival parade led by a special guest! Many other activities will keep families busy including an apple slingshot, corn husk dolls, live music, face painting, farm tool demonstrations, cauldron-cooked corn, storytelling, and children’s crafts.

A special highlight of this year’s harvest festival includes the chance to meet the newest members of Heckscher Farm – two female guinea hogs. Families are invited to help name these two new residents during Harvest Festival Weekend. Visitors can make suggestions for the piglets’ names as part of Stamford Museum and Nature Center’s “Name Our Pigs” Challenge. The people who suggest the winning names will receive free admission for four to the Maple Sugar Weekend (in March 2012) and Spring on the Farm Weekend (in May 2012) at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Last Chance to Win A Harley


Have you ever wanted to win a Harley -- and to cruise the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut amid the beautiful firecolors of fall? If this is a dream of yours then take a chance with the clever raffle offered by the New England Carousel Museum (http://www.thecarouselmuseum.org) in Bristol.

There are only three weeks left until the New England Carousel Museum draws the winning ticket for the lucky winner of its annual raffle! The 2500 tickets that benefit the Carousel Museum are running out, fast --- to avoid disappointment buy your tickets today...it might be your lucky day!

For only $20.00 per ticket, you have a chance at this year's first prize, a fabulous 2011 Harley Davidson Fat Boy! The second prize is a 5' x 8' trailer, and the third prize is a $100.00 gift certificate redeemable at Yankee Harley Davidson in Bristol.

Tickets can be purchased on line by visiting their homepage (http://www.thecarouselmuseum.org), just scroll down the page and look for the "fat boy" and download the raffle form. Fill out the form and send it along with your check for $20 to: The New England Carousel Museum, 95 Riverside Avenue, Bristol, CT 06010 to receive your ticket and a chance to win a classic Harley Fat Boy! Make sure to make your check payable to the Carousel Museum!

The Fourteenth Annual Raffle ends on Saturday, October 29th. There will be a public drawing at 7 P.M at the New England Carousel Museum when the three winners will be revealed! Everyone is welcome to attend the drawing, but the winner need not be present. The winner will be contacted immediately upon completion of the drawing.

Tickets may be purchased at the Carousel Museum at 95 Riverside Ave in Bristol and are also availabe at Andy's Hair Studio, Hamelin & Sons Garage, Pine Street Package Store, Martino's Market, Farmington Bank in Farmington, Webster Bank on Pine Street, Mikes Hair Design, the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, Burlington Wine & Spirits, Yankee Harley Davidson, Greer's Chicken, South Side Market, Harvest Bakery, Bristol Glass, Trim Unlimited. Chute Gates in Terryville, the Bushnell Park Carousel in Hartford, Jerzie Joe's in Southington and Sam the Clams in Plantsville also sell raffle tickets on behalf of the museum.

The Museum is located at 95 Riverside Avenue, Route 72 in Bristol. For more information, call the Carousel Museum at (860) 585-5411. Fax: 860-314-0483, E-mail: info@thecarouselmuseum.org, Web site: www.thecarouselmuseum.org.

About the New England Carousel Museum

The New England Carousel Museum was founded as a nonprofit educational organization in 1990, in Bristol, Connecticut. Visitors to the Museum will tour two floors of fascinating displays, exhibits and galleries including: The New England Carousel Museum, The Museum of Fire History, The Fine Art Gallery and The Greek Museum of Art and History. In season the New England Carousel Museum also manages the historic Bushnell Park Carousel in Hartford CT.

Friday, October 7, 2011

WACky Halloween for Families at Westport Arts Center on October 23


Sometimes "WACky is fun! On Sunday, October 23, from 2 to 4 pm toddlers, children, parents and grandparents are invited to the Westport Arts Center to have some "wacky" fun that will feature all new creative mixed-media arts projects inspired by Halloween. Participants are encouraged to come in costume to really enjoy this festive event!

Families will build 3-dimentional haunted houses, create "WACky" Halloween hats, and make costumes using fabric and an eclectic mix of materials...sounds like fun already! Attendees will also have the opportunity to explore the current exhibition, "Love: In the Eye of the Beholder," coinciding with Westport Country Playhouse's production of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night, or What you Will."


In chatting with the Director of Education, Danielle Ogden, she told me that "it's the only program of its kind in the area that provides creative arts experiences that attract a multi-generational audience. This particular Family Day is one of our most popular programs. It is a festive event, where kids dress in wacky costumes and enjoy creating Halloween-themed projects with their families." To me this is an event that should not be missed!

Admission is $10/child; admission free for adults and kids under two.




About The Westport Arts Center


The Westport Arts Center is a visual and performing arts organization dedicated to creating arts experiences that enrich the lives of area residents and the entire community. For more information, contact Westport Arts Center at 203-222-7070, www.westportartscenter.org. Gallery hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., at 51 Riverside Avenue, Westport, CT.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Civil War Artifact Appraisal Day at Gunn Museum in Washington, October 15


This year marks the 150 Anniversary of the Civil War and Connecticut is one of many states that have commemorated this important anniversary in our nations history with a vast range of evocative events. The Civil War was perhaps the most trying time in our nation's history, as this war rocked our nation to its very core. It is estimated that 620,000 soldiers perished and every aspect of society was impacted in the north as well as in the south.

Connecticut sent 55,000 men to war; a figure that reflected 12% of Connecticut's total population and for men that were between the ages of 15 and 50, this number reflects 47% of the population, a figure that is unparalleled in Connecticut's history. Connecticut organized 29 regiments and supplied a full third of Union weaponry.

Support for the Union and its War against the South is only one aspect of Connecticut's history, as 40% of the state's population opposed the war and gave tremendous political strength to the Peace Democrats, a group that tried to stop Governor Buckingham from supporting President Lincoln and the war. Understanding the history of the Civil War helps to define Connecticut's past as well as our future. The many events that commemorate the Civil War helps us to understand where we have been, where we are and where we are going.


A special Civil War artifact appraisal day will take place on Saturday October 15 from 12-3pm in the Gunn Museum in the charming town of Washington. The public is invited to bring their Civil War artifacts to be evaluated by Thomas Zanavich, a long-time dealer and the guest curator of the current exhibit. He will answer your questions and verbally appraise items for estimated age and value. Do you have artifact that you suspect might be from the Civil War? It is always interesting and fun to bring in a suspected "treasure" for evaluation by an expert that knows the period and can identify authentic artifacts.

There is no charge for admission or appraisal, but donations are greatly appreciated. Registration is required, call 860-868-7756 to reserve your spot.

The Gunn Museum's exhibit, Letters from the Battlefield: Stories of Washington's Civil War Soldiers, will be open for viewing from 10am-4pm this day. The exhibit ends on October 30th. The Gunn Museum is located at 5 Wykeham Road, at the intersection of Wykeham Road and Route 47, on Washington Green. Call 860-868-7756 or view www.gunnlibrary.org for information.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ready for Halloween? A Haunting at Mill Hill in Norwalk October 15 and 22


As the sun sets, on Mill Hill in Norwalk, the spirits come out to play. Take a lantern-light tour through the historic Mill Hill graveyard and hear chilling tales from the spirits of Norwalk's past on Saturdays, October 15 and 22 (rain or shine). Tours are scheduled at 5:30 p.m., 7:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Each tour will be followed by refreshments in the old one-room schoolhouse. This pre-Halloween event is organized by the Norwalk Historical Society.

During "A Haunting at Mill Hill," participants will hear stories of murder, death, destruction and more while they meet renegade Tory Easias Bouton, Chester, the haunted Civil War statue, and other entities from Norwalk's colorful history. The cemetery is located at 2 East Wall Street, Norwalk, CT 06851.

Space for each tour is limited so reservations are recommended (203-846-0525). Advance tickets are $10 for adults/teens and $6 for children ages 8-12 (not recommended for children younger than 8). Tickets at the door are $12 for adults/teens and $8 for children. There is a $2 discount for Norwalk Historical Society members. For more information visit http://norwalkhistoricalsociety.org.



About Mill Hill Historic Park

The Mill Hill Historic Park consists of three historical buildings and the third oldest Burying Ground in Norwalk.

The Burying Ground on Mill Hill dates to 1767 and was originally called Whitney's Hill after a miller that opened a mill on the site. A list of those buried in the Mill Hill Burying Ground was recorded in 1924 and consisted of the names on the headstones that were clearly readable. Not all that are buried on Mill Hill are accounted for because in the Colonial Period less than a third of the burials were marked with an inscribed headstone. Some of the time, a simple rock was used.

Several notable buildings are located on the grounds of the Mill Hill complex. The federally styled brick Norwalk Town House dates to 1835 and served a multiple of purposes over the years as a gathering place for special groups.

The Law Office of Governor Fitch is also on the grounds. Thomas Fitch was Governor of the Colony of Connecticut from 1754 to 1766. Restored in 1971, the small colonial style building I saw on the grounds was reconstructed as a colonial law office. Originally, it was part of the kitchen wing of Governor Fitch’s house. I was told that it was the only portion of the house that survived the burning of Norwalk by the British on July 11, 1779. The house that stands on Mill Hill today, was once located in East Norwalk. It was moved in 1956 because it was in the construction path of the Interstate 95.

The red-clapboarded building known as the Downtown District School House is also located in the complex and was built in 1826. The building was used as a school until 1871. The British destroyed the original school, and the present schoolhouse was built on the lines of the first utilizing its original foundation.

Norwalk Seaport Association Stages Murder Mystery to Preserve Historic Sheffield Island Lighthouse October 21!


Who done it? Find out as Norwalk Seaport Association (NSA) hosts a murder mystery dinner, “Double Trouble,” to benefit Sheffield Island lighthouse. The event will be held at the Norwalk Inn and Conference Center on Friday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m., and includes hors d’oeuvres and dinner while guests solve an exciting and entertaining mystery.

“It’s great fun to stage this murder mystery in support of our ongoing efforts to demystify the historic beauty and magnificence of our Sheffield Island lighthouse,” said Tom Shrum, president of the non-profit, volunteer-run NSA. “There’s no better way for southern Connecticut residents to show our pride in our local maritime heritage.”

This is the second event this year to benefit the lighthouse. In March, a sold-out crowd at NSA’s Light Keeper’s Gala collectively donated a record $49,000 for the environmental organization’s stewardship of the lighthouse.

Reservations to the murder mystery are required. Tickets are $75 per person for Seaport Association members and $85 for non-members, and can be purchased online at www.seaport.org.

About Norwalk Seaport Association

Norwalk Seaport Association was established in 1978 and stewards the Sheffield Island lighthouse, which celebrates 142 years as the jewel in Long Island Sound. During the summer, its C.J Toth ferryboat takes visitors to Sheffield Island for tours of the historic lighthouse, special events and enjoyment of a walking trail through the Stewart B. McKinney Wildlife Refuge.

NSA provides environmental education programs that use Sheffield Island and offers diverse special events and community projects, including the annual NSA Oyster Festival, now in its 34th year. This event attracts up to 50,000 people during three days in early September and provides $200,000 in fundraising opportunities for more than 20 other local non-profit organizations. In addition, the Seaport Association helped create Norwalk’s Coastal Area Management Plan; establish the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk; and revitalize historic South Norwalk.

More information can be found at www.seaport.org.

Monday, October 3, 2011

New Canaan Nature Center’s 42nd Annual Fall Fair October 15


The crisp days of autumn are here! It is a glorious time of year in Connecticut when families can enjoy traditional fairs and festivals amidst a backdrop of orange, scarlet and gold leaves.

The New Canaan Nature Center's 42 annual Fall Fair is chock full of traditional fall fair activities that will please young and old alike. Visitors to the Fair will enjoy pony rides, a “haunted” woodland trail, apple slingshots, nature-based crafts, a hay maze, cupcake and pumpkin decorating, and fire engine rides on New Canaan’s antique fire engine, Old Faithful. The giant bungee jump, one of last year’s most popular attractions will also be back along with the “Kids On The Go” obstacle course and other inflatable rides.


The Fall Fair will feature a wide range of entertainment throughout the day. The Moses Brothers band will entertain families with a live performance of their blues/bluegrass/rock music from 11a.m. – 3 p.m. The 4th Annual Apple Pie Eating contest will begin at 3 p.m. with categories for youth and adults. There is an entry fee ($5 for youth and $15 for adults) and prizes will be awarded. Other live shows include birds of prey demonstrations, shadow puppet shows and story readings between 10:30am – 2:30pm.

New this year will be an "Eco-Village" where attendees can learn about the latest products, services and businesses to help green their home, family and life. Participating Eco-Village sponsors/exhibitors include Alteris Renewables, BPC Green Builders, Going Green Landscape Lighting, Graze Delivered, Sunlight Solar Energy Inc. and Vinylume Inc. Renewal by Andersen.

A wide range of fresh foods will be available to purchase throughout the day, including grilled hot dogs, pulled pork and vegetarian sandwiches, pizza, hot soup and hot and cold beverages. A variety of homemade baked goods will be for sale courtesy of Nature Center volunteers.


Admission to the Fall Fair is free and parking is available at St. Mark's and the First Presbyterian Church. Tickets can be purchased for $1 each for the activities and food, which range from 1-7 tickets.

About the New Canaan Nature Center

The New Canaan Nature Center is a not-for-profit organization that is an environmental education center and sanctuary dedicated to helping people of all ages better understand, appreciate and care for the world of nature. The annual Fall Fair helps raise funds to maintain and offer this community treasure admission-free to residents of New Canaan and the surrounding area throughout the year. For more information about the Fall Fair visit www.NewCanaanNature.org of call (203) 966-9577.