Monday, December 30, 2013

First Night Danbury

First Night Danbury 2013-2014, presented by Family & Children's Aid and CityCenter Danbury, will salute the “Young at Heart.”  E
njoying its 24th year as CityCenter downtown's family friendly New Year’s Eve celebration, 

First Night takes place on New Year’s Eve, Tuesday, December 31st, from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm in Danbury downtown venues, all within easy walking distance. The highly anticipated event, often shared by three or four generations of family and friends who've been attending since 1989 from throughout the Housatonic Valley and beyond, annually provides everyone a chance to close out a year and begin anew, with community enthusiasm and lots of surprises.

First Night will offer more than 30 entertainments and activities over its youthful and high-spirited 4 hours. A Vaudeville at the Palace Danbury traditionally anchors the evening, this year starring ventriloquist Kenny Warren & his "smarty pants" sidekick Leroy Cool. Seen on NBC's "Last Comic Standing," this extraordinary vocal illusionist has been one of the best known opening acts for many of America's leading headline performers, including Jerry Seinfeld, Rosie O'Donnell, Richard Pryor, Robert Klein and Rodney Dangerfield. Of course, Leroy Cool is no slouch either. He's always by Kenny's side. They will be joined on the stage of Danbury’s 1928 vaudeville house by Connecticut's newest improv group, A Work in Progress, and the jaw-dropping stunts of LuckyBob. Music, Variety, Children’s Activities, Arts & Crafts, Novelties & Exhibitions are planned for every age group, every interest, and every entertainment. There’s Magic, Giant Puppets, Storytelling, Ice Sculpting, special workshops with the Danbury Whalers hockey team, and much more.
Other artists, activities and participants include: Teen rock band Marmalade Sky, two DJ's, Dave Wonsey's Drum Circle, the Easton Banjo Society, the New Hope Mass Choir, and 8-year-old aspiring engineer Leo Luning. Food Truck fare on Liberty Street will keep First Night revelers merry and warm!  And don’t forget to join everyone for the “Young at Heart” FINALE  at 7:30pm on Library Plaza  with carols and line dancing led by DJ Jim Fairchild, Linda Peck Juggling, Mortal Beasts & Deities Stilts & Large Puppets, Ice Matters’ Sculptures, and Hot Cider & Cookies courtesy of Danbury Parking Authority.
First Night buttons, perfect gifts for family, friends, neighbors, business colleagues and stocking stuffing, cost $10 – the price of a movie ticket! – or $8 (a discount of $2 each) if you purchase 20 or more. They are currently available Monday through Friday 10:00am to 5pm – and on Saturday, December 21st and Saturday, December 28th from noon to 3:00pm – at the CityCenter offices, 187 Main Street.  Buttons in bulk (20 or more) can also be purchased through special arrangement outside of regular business hours. Look for buttons on sale at local outlets, including 
Union Savings Bank locations in Danbury, Bethel, Brookfield and New Fairfield; Savings Bank of Danbury locations in Danbury, Bethel, Brookfield, Newtown, New Fairfield, and New Milford; Patriot Parking Garage, Danbury;  Danbury Library;  Danbury Museum & Historical Society;  Appearances Hair Salon, New Milford; and The Sweet Spot, New Milford.
 You can also purchase First Night buttons through PayPal by visiting For information, call (203) 792 1711.

First Night Venues & Performers
Artist bios and other program information are listed under the host site chronologically so that when you visit, you may check out what’s happening there all in one place. 
DANBURY ARENA 1Independence Way
Kids’ Crafts with Kerri LuBell (NY)
4:00 - 7:00pm
Go creative! Kerri’s clever arts and crafts creations have always insured that a child of any age goes home with playful memories... and a keepsake souvenir. 

Danbury Whalers Workshops (CT)
4:30 - 5:15pm & 6:00 - 6:45pm
Danbury’s own Federal Hockey League Champion Danbury Whalers, based at the Danbury Ice Arena, invite you into their home-on-ice for a whirlwind introduction to what they do best - Skate! Their name comes from the Hartford Whalers who were a professional ice hockey team based in Connecticut and played in Hartford from 1975-1997 before relocating to North Carolina. 

Public Skate (discount with button)
5:00 - 7:00pm
Admission is only $3 for everyone with a First Night button. If you don’t have your own skates, you can rent a pair for $4. Get on the ice tonight!

Coconuts (CT)
4:00 - 5:15pm on the Main Level
A family-friendly music and comedy show that will have you laughing, clapping and singing along to the music of The Beatles, Four Seasons, Neil Diamond and lots of other classics. You’ll also hear hilarious parodies of some of your favorite songs. The band you won’t forget.

Marty the Magician with Lee Winters (NY)
4:00 - 7:00pm in the Farioly Room
Marty joins First Night Danbury with a decade with us under his top hat. A popular fixture on New Year’s Eve, his prestidigitation entertains children of all ages with a personal flair! He is past president of the Danbury Top Hatters Society of American Magicians. Kid Magician Lee Winters is a 2nd Place Winner at The Tannen's Magic Camp. 

Ice Matters (CT)
4:00 - 8:00pm on Library Plaza
A First Night staple, this award wnning ice carving company always captures First Night’s theme with artistry and good humor. A National Ice Carving Champion, owner Bill Covitz began his career as a graduating chef from the Culinary Institute of America. He now spends some of his time creating ice instruments on the mountaintops of Norway. 

The Storycrafters (NY)
5:45 - 6:30pm & 6:45 - 7:30pm on the Main Level
Jeri Burns and Barry Marshall have been working together as The Storycrafters since 1991. Their natural, energetic style has been featured in major festivals, schools and libraries in the US, Europe, and the West Indies. With awards from Parents Choice, The Oppenheim Toy Portfolio and Storytelling World, they specialize in original retellings and modern renditions of world folklore - crafted with pizzazz! 

DJ Jim Fairchild (CT)
6:00 - 8:00pm on Library Plaza
Jim has been packing dance floors for nearly 30 years for a laundry list of Who's Who. His clients have included Adam Yauch of The Beastie Boys, Sally Jesse Raphael & Michael Bolton, plus many others in the public's eye. Jim is one of the top DJ Entertainers in our region.

Mortal Beasts & Deities (CT)
6:00 - 8:00pm wandering Main Street beginning at Library Plaza. Parade with them back to Library Plaza for the closing gathering at 7:30pm
Mortal Beasts & Deities, led by Mark Alexander of northwestern Connecticut, 
has been creating Controlled Mayhem and Earnest Frivolity with their Larger Than Life  Puppets and Splendiferous Stilt Dancers around the United States and Internationally since 1996. Look for a Flock of Doves!  

Linda Peck (MA)
6:30 - 8:00pm on Library Plaza
Linda Peck will light up the night for First Night Danbury as Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” Her  moving muse “has audiences spellbound” as she spins an orb on a parasol, all the while standing on a golden globe There may even be a meteor shower of light as Linda swings and juggles fire. 
“Young at Heart” Finale
7:30 - 8:15pm on Library Plaza
Featuring DJ Jim Fairchild, Linda Peck, Mortal Beasts & Deities, Ice Matters, and Hot Cider and Cookies courtesy of the Danbury Parking Authority. 

Dave Wonsey (CT)
4:00 - 5:00pm
Dave has facilitated Synergy Drum Circles since 1996. Dave became a World Champion drummer at the age of 16. In a career that has him to Carnegie Hall at the Cathefral of St. John the Divine, he covers a variety of styles including Jazz & Rock, Orchestral Percussion & World Percussion... even Snare Drum for Bagpipe Bands. His communal Drum Circles always are an uplifting jam. Just show up and play, hard and loud. 

Masque Theatre (CT)
5:30 - 6:15pm & 6:45 - 7:30pm
Masque Theatre’s Larry Hunt is an actor, director, mask maker, and educator. He has performed throughout most of the United States, Canada, China, Japan, Australia, Poland, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Bulgaria, Serbia, Czech Republic and more. Since 1980, Larry has produced and performed his own original theater works that combine historical mask traditions with innovative approaches to body movement and improvisation. 

PALACE DANBURY 165 Main Street
Easton Banjo Society (CT)
4:00 - 4:30 pm, 5:00 - 5:30pm & 6:00 - 6:30pm in the Lobby
Entertaining audiences of all ages for over half a century since founded in Easton, CT in 1957, the group serves up an unique American sound, drawn mainly from the mid-1800's to the easily 1930's, with banjos, sousaphone, drums, and washboard. 
Kenny Wilson & Leroy Cool (NY)
Vaudevilles: 4:30 - 5:15pm; 5:30 - 6:15pm; 6:30 - 7:15pm
Seen on NBC's "Last Comic Standing," vocal illusionist extraordinaire Kenny Warren has been one of the best known opening acts for many of America's leading headline performers, including Jerry Seinfeld, Rosie O'Donnell, Richard Pryor, Robert Klein and Rodney Dangerfield. Of course, Leroy Cool is no slouch either. He's always by Kenny's side. The team's comic antics will headline the Palace Danbury vaudeville with A Work in Progress and LuckyBob. 

A Work in Progress (CT)
Vaudevilles: 4:30 - 5:15pm; 5:30 - 6:15pm; 6:30 - 7:15p
Connecticut’s newest improv group serving Fairfield County and based out of A Common Ground right here in the heart of downtown Danbury.  Members include founder James Diamond, improv veterans Andree Lambertson and Christopher Dube, and newcomer and rising star Ryan Cummins. Together they have over 40 years of combined improv experience. 

LuckyBob (MA)
Vaudevilles: 4:30 - 5:15pm; 5:30 - 6:15pm; 6:30 - 7-15pm
LuckyBob is perfect blend of magic, juggling and comedy. From beginning to end, LuckyBob's superb skill and affable personality will entertain, mystify and keep you wanting more. High-Energy, Jaw-Dropping Stunts and the wit of a seasoned comedian, LuckyBob proves he can do anything with his uncanny juggling skills.

ST. JAMES’ CHURCH 25 West Street
Linda Parker (CT)
4:00 - 4:45pm
Ms. Parker has sung at St. James Church for many years, performs with the Danbury Chorus, St. John’s Chorale in Washington CT, and at New Milford Fair Days. Her repertoire includes classical and sacred works as as pieces from the legenday Broadway songbook. A 2012 First Place winner of the National Association of Teachers of Singing award, Linda is currently a member of the Waterbury Chorale.

New Hope Mass Choir (CT)
5:15 - 6:00pm
The New Hope Baptist Church Mass Choir (Reverend LeRoy G. Parker) was formed in 2003. With their mission to spread the “good news,” The choir has had a long history of serving the Greater Danbury community and many other cities inside and outside of New Hope's  entire music ministry is comprised of the mass choir, the male chorus, the Praise Team, the Youth Choir and the Sounds of Joy children's choir. The choirs are under the musical direction of Minister of Music Brother Jonathan Hill and choir director Sister Corean Strong. 

Mad Hatters Barbershop Chorus (CT)
6:30 - 7:15pm
A non-profit fraternal organization the Mad Hatters are affiliated with the 24,000 member Barbershop Harmony Society.  Since 1966, Danbury's popular a cappella troupe has  promoted in song one of the city's historic industries, singing four-part harmony in the " barbershop style," featuring a rich repertoire of love songs, movie and Broadway Show tunes, folk, doo-wop, patriotic and 19th century vaudeville melodies. 

DJ/MC Man-u-iLL (CT)
4:00 - 7:30pm
Considered among Hip-Hop’s best, Man-u-iLL was discovered as the proprietor of iLL iNK Graphic & Printing Services on Main Street. “Music is a reflection of life, opinions, thoughts, and feelings... Words are power and my aim is to spark brain cells and move hearts.” 

Portuguese Traditional Games (CT)
4:00 - 7:30pm
Always welcomed at First Night and CityCenter events throughout the season, this group demonstrates the key components of games: goals, rules, challenges, and interaction. For the past 15 years under mentor Antonio Heitor, this group of young people find that the best feeling of all is when the older crowd expresses their memories of playing the same games.

Masque Theatre Istallation (CT)
4:00 - 7:30pm
A cascade of Larry Hunt’s exquisitely handcrafted and evocative masks. 

HEIRLOOM  ARTS THEATRE 155 Main Street at the end of Palace Walk
Marmalade Sky (CT)
4:45 - 5:30pm, 6:00 - 6:45pm
Jason, Josh and Ben - friends for over 10 years - started jamming together at Band Camp three years ago, where they met drummer Max.  The boys were later joined by Amber on vocals. Marmalade Sky has been rocking crowds throughout CT & NY, winning the Ridgefield BandJam competitions in 2012 & 2013. Audiences are wowed by the professional quality music, spot-on covers & remarkable originals. Most importantly, the band has fun! 

ESCAPE TO THE ARTS 293 Main Street
Craft Projects
5:00 – 7:00 pm
Fun new craft! Create and take home your own miniature yarn doll. Face painting will also be available.

Gallery Exhibition: For Emilie 
5:00 – 7:00 pm
View exhibit of colorful paintings created by artists of all ages in honor of former ESCAPE student and Sandy Hook victim Emilie Parker.   

PLAY N TRADE 147 Main Street
4:00 - 7:30pm
Video gaming (discount with button)

BlueBossa (CT)
4:30 - 7:00pm
This Danbury-based group plays bossa nova, Latin jazz, samba from Rio and folkloric traditional songs. The group featuresTom Wolff on guitar and flute, Colin Mayo on guitar, João Nunes vocals, Fernanda Franco vocals, Keith McDade on bass, and Jake Habegger on drums. A great way to celebrate Danbury’s rich Brazilian history. 

4:00 - 7:30pm
The Danbury Innovation Center, newly opening, will be the home of the Danbury Hackerspace, Western Connecticut Score, and will be a co-working and event space. Guest innovator is Leo Luning, a third-grader at Hudson Country Montessori School.  His favorite activities are those where he can express his creativity using things he has learned about the world.  Inspired by seeing a 3-D printer at Danbury’s First Night last year, Leo not only wanted to use one, but built a 3-D printer himself! 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

December Creature Cruises in Long Island Sound

Bundle up for a fun journey out onto Long Island Sound in hopes of seeing some of the seals that spend the winter just off our shores during The Maritime Aquarium’s new season of Winter Creature Cruises.

These invigorating cruises seek out the harbor seals and gray seals that have been coming down into the Sound each winter. Educators on board the research vessel Oceanic will point out these federally protected marine mammals and talk about their natural histories. They’ll also help identify such winter waterfowl as buffleheads, mergansers and long-tailed ducks.

The 2013-14 Winter Creature Cruise season kicks off the weekend of Dec. 28-29 and will be offered on many Saturdays & Sundays through April 5.  Dates and departure times will vary by the tide schedule.  Initial cruises are: Sat., Dec. 28 at 1 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 29 at 1:30 p.m.; and Sat., Jan. 11 at 1 p.m.  See the full season schedule at

Tickets for a Winter Creature Cruise are $22.95, or $17.95 for Aquarium members.  Participants must be at least 42 inches tall.  We recommend that you bring binoculars and plenty of warm clothes!

Space on the Oceanic is limited so advance reservations are strongly recommended. Walk-up tickets will be sold, space permitting. The cruises depart from the dock outside the Aquarium’s IMAX movie theater.

For area information

Monday, December 23, 2013

Gregory James - Holiday Show

Gregory James Gallery - Fine Art & the Art of Framing located at 93 Park Lane road (route 202), New Milford, Connecticut, is pleased to announce its annual Holiday Art Show. The exhibit opens Saturday, December 14, and runs through Saturday, January 26, 2013.

The holiday show will feature Southbury, CT painter Thomas Adkins. Adkins recently painted a series of Lake Waramaug scenes.  The gallery is also pleased to exhibit several of Washington, CT artist Vincent Giarrano’s genre paintings of contemporary life. Other gallery artists will included Scott Zuckerman of West Cornwall, CT, Christopher Magadini of Croton-on-Hudson, NY, Aviary sculptor Bill Rice of Warren, CT, and many others. Gregory James Gallery’s Holiday Art Show is a great opportunity to give someone the gift of an original work of art.  The offerings are a perfect way to begin a new or enhance an established collection.

For more information, please call Gregory James Mullen at 860-354-3436, or visit their website: The gallery hours are Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10-6, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday 10-5, and Sunday 11-4 or by appointment.

For area information

Friday, December 20, 2013

Skiing in Full Schuss in Litchfield Hills

No need to drive to northern New England. There’s skiing and snowboarding a-plenty at three popular areas in Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills, with ample snowmaking to guarantee good conditions and new features this year to add to the fun.

This is the earliest that Connecticut's largest ski area, Mohawk Mountain located on 46 Great Hollow Road in Cornwall has opened.   Mohawks boasts 107 skiable acres, on 350 scenic acres of state forest that has 25 trails and 7 lifts including the new Arrowhead Triple Chair lift.  The area's full Schedule Operating Hours are: M-F, 9:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m., Sat., 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m., Sun., 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.  For information on events, snow conditions and special deals

A new feature being offered this year at Mohawk Ski Area is "Mohawk Money".  This is a unique gift card/ credit card that allows purchasers to preload any amount of money on a magnetically coded card, allowing customers to be "wallet free" and still able to conveniently purchase items at Mohawk Mountain.  The cards are available online through the express line or by calling 800-895-5222 or 860-672-6100.  Mohawk Money is easy to use to purchase lift tickets at the areas ticket windows, rental equipment or lessons, food in the main lodge and gear and clothing in the gift shop. 

Ski Sundown  located on 126 Ratlum Road in New Hartford is also open for the 2013-2014 winter skiing season.  According to the ski area’s operations manager, all the chairlifts are running and the 15 trails are optimal with full snow coverage. In addition over a mile of features for skiers and snowboarders are available in two terrain parks – one advanced park on Stinger and one intermediate park on Tom’s Treat. The area is open 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. weekdays, check the website for holiday hours from Dec. 23-31, Jan. 1, 20 and Feb. 17-21.

New to the park this year is the installation of a 300 -foot long conveyor “carpet” lift in the learning area, a reconfiguration of trails and the revival of the S’noWay trail, that adds intermediate terrain to the learning area.  There is also a new beginner terrain park.  Ski Sundown is located at 126 Ratlum Road, off Routes 44 and 219, in New Hartford. For lift ticket and rental rates, lesson and event information, visit 

Woodbury Ski, Skate and Tubing Park located on 785 Washington Road in Woodbury are an economical family area with fun for all ages. Extensive snowmaking makes it one of the first areas to open each season.  Besides 18 trails for downhill skiing and snowboarding and the newly designed terrain park, Woodbury boasts one of the largest tubing parks in New England, with 15 dedicated snow- tubing trails serviced by four lifts. Night tubing on trails designed in accordance with National Ski Association guidelines is also available here.  The area is open daily 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

In addition to down hill skiing and snow tubing there are areas for snow shoeing, and groomed cross-country trails.  Beginners will have a choice of two new Magic Carpet lifts, a 400-foot lift to the east servicing four ski runs and eight tubing runs, and an 184-foot lift to the west leading to two ski trails.
 For current snow condition, lessons and event information visit:

For area information

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Celebrate Victorian Holiday Splendor at the Hotchkiss Fyler House in Litchfield Hills

The elegant Hotchkiss-Fyler House Museum, located at 192 Main Street, is decorated for the holiday season and will open for tours beginning December 14 and continuing to December 29th, Wednesdays through Sundays.

Museum staff members will offer guided tours of the house which was built in 1900 and home to the Hotchkiss and Fyler families for more than half a century.  The house has been maintained as a museum since 1956 when the last family member, Gertrude Fyler Hotchkiss, bequeathed the property to the Torrington Historical Society.

Much of the Christmas decoration is done in turn-of-the-century style with lavish displays of greenery, garlands, wreaths and flowers adorning the staircase, chandeliers, and mantles.  This year, several local floral artists have created custom arrangements to set off the home’s rich interior of mahogany woodwork and stenciled walls.

Seven Christmas trees, a number of them decorated by private individuals using vintage ornaments from their own collections, are displayed over the first and second floors of the house.  Visitors can also view antique toys from the Torrington Historical Society’s collection, arranged beneath the trees.

The dining room table will be set for Christmas dinner with the linens, china, and crystal that belonged to Gertrude Fyler Hotchkiss.

Guided tours of the Hotchkiss-Fyler House Museum will be available Wednesdays through Sundays, 12 noon to 4 p.m., with tours on the half hour and the last tour each day at 3:30 p.m.  The house is closed Mondays, Tuesdays, and on December 25th.  Admission is $7 for adults, free for members and children under age 12.  Children must be accompanied by an adult.  For more information, call the Society at 860-482-8260 or visit  For area information

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Treats at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk

Santa Claus will be popping up at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, including a few scuba dives in with the sharks, as part of the Connecticut attraction's schedule of bonus holiday offerings in December.

Back by popular demand, "The Polar Express" steams back onto The Maritime Aquarium's giant IMAX screen for a limited holiday engagement. 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 but gets taken on a magical Christmas Eve trip to the North Pole.
Digitally re-mastered into the immersive IMAX format, the animated film has Tom Hanks lending his voice and likeness to several main roles, including the train conductor, a mysterious hobo and Santa Claus.

"The Polar Express" will play through Dec. 22 at 4 & 7:30 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays and at 4 p.m. Sundays. From Dec. 26-Jan. 1, "The Polar Express" will play at 4 & 7:30 p.m. daily (except just at 4 p.m. on Dec. 31). Confirm show times at

On select dates in December, Santa Claus will join The Maritime Aquarium's dive team to demonstrate that sharks aren't the blood-thirsty killers of myth. Santa will strap on scuba gear and enter the Aquarium's 110,000-gallon "Ocean Beyond the Sound" exhibit, which is home to 7-foot sand tiger and lemon sharks. 

It's all part of the regular dive-team program, in which Aquarium visitors can see – and talk with – divers swimming in the exhibit on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 12:15 & 2:15 p.m.
Check the Aquarium's website – – for specific dates when Santa can pull himself away from the North Pole and exchange his snow boots for swim fins. Viewing the Santa shark dives is free with Aquarium admission.

While visiting the Aquarium, don't forget to cast your vote for your favorite lighthouse. Once again the Aquarium displays an imaginative array of handcrafted lighthouses at the 12th annual Lighthouse Holiday Exhibit.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Breakfast with Frosty at Beardsley Zoo!

Once again, the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport is planning Breakfast with Frosty the Snowman from 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. on December 21 and 22 that is sure to get the entire family in the holiday spirit.   The breakfast will take place in the Zoo's colorful Peacock Cafe that is decorated for the holidays. 

Frosty and his friends will be making two special appearances, one at 9:30 and another 10:30 am. on both days.

Reservations for this event are required and can be made by calling (203) 394-6574. The cost of the breakfast is $10 per person for Zoo members and $15 per person for non-members. This price includes zoo admission & breakfast.  

If you still have some gift buying to do, check out the Beardsley Zoo gift guide that offers a series of unique gifts for the animal lovers in your life!  A membership at the Zoo, for example,  starts at $50 and is a gift that lasts the entire year!  If you are looking for a personalized gift, consider giving an engraved commemorative brick that will be displayed at the Zoo's front gate.  Another option is to sponsor a special zoo animal for $35 or purchase a birthday party package and go wild in 2014! 

The Beardsley Zoo is located on 1875 Noble Ave. in Bridgeport Connecticut. For more information visit  For area information

Friday, December 13, 2013


Imagine a park wonderland aglow with thousands of twinkling lights and a show every half hour when glittering lights dance to holiday music. 

That is the thrill awaiting families when Lake Compounce, New England’s family theme park, inaugurates its first Holiday Lights season on weekends beginning November 29. The park, located in Bristol, in Western Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills, is one of a trio of special events for families in Litchfield and Fairfield Counties.

Lights are not the only fun planned at Lake Compounce. Family rides and Kiddieland rides will be in operation, strolling carolers will fill the park with song, an ice carver will create frozen sculptures, and the park’s train will be transformed into the North Pole Railway, operated by a certain special bearded conductor dressed in red.  Indoor activities will include cookie decorating, gingerbread house making and the chance to send a letter to Santa, with a guaranteed reply to come in the mail a few days later. Santa himself will be waiting in the Starlight Theater to pose for pictures with his young fans.

Holiday Lights will be open 5 p.m. to 9 pm. on Friday, and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, November 29-December 1, and December 6-8, 13-15 and 20-22. For more information, see

                        See Santa’s Village, Meet Santa’s Reindeer

No need to travel to the North Pole to visit Santa this holiday season. Every year since 1947, Santa and Mrs. Claus have been at home in Torrington’s Christmas Village, greeting friends in a “living room” where a log fire crackles in the fireplace and the ceiling sparkles with tinsel and lights. After a chat with Santa and a small gift, kids can head for the toy-filled workshop where local “elves” from the Parks and Recreation Department are busy with toys destined for youngsters in the town hospital. Live reindeers are waiting in a pen outside.

It is wise to come early as families do line up for this special event, but all declare it is worth the wait. The Christmas Village is located at 150 Church Street in Torrington.  It will be open daily from December 8 to 23 from 1 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Christmas Eve from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Entrance is free.  For information, check

Santa and his reindeer do get around in December. Over in Fairfield County, the 5th Annual Greenwich Reindeer Festival & Santa's Workshop will be on from November 29 to December 24 at McArdle's Florist & Garden Center, 48 Arch Street in Greenwich. Santa and his reindeer, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and Blitzen, arrive on November 29 at 2 p.m., riding down Greenwich Avenue to the Garden Center where refreshments are served to welcome the start of the festival. They remain for all to enjoy through Christmas eve. Feeding times for the reindeer are 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily. For more information, see

For more information about holiday activities and a free copy of UNWIND, a full-color, 152-page booklet detailing what to do and see, and where to stay, shop and dine in Fairfield and Litchfield Counties in Western Connecticut, contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-45606, or visit their web site at