Don’t miss the 37th annual Norwalk Oyster Festival

Don’t miss the 37th annual Norwalk Oyster Festival that promises to be the biggest and bester ever!
Fun for families and friends from nine to ninety, the 37th annual Norwalk Seaport Association Oyster Festival will be held this year from Friday, September 5 through Sunday, September 7. This year’s entertainment highlights include music from nationally known-bands on all three days including Scott Stapp of Creed on Friday and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts on Saturday at 9 p.m.. Festival goers will enjoy a wide variety of rides, cooking competitions, arts and crafts and a diverse assortment of attractions and entertainment that promise unforgettable fun.

A festival favorite will feature the action packed Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show that will feature world champion lumberjacks demonstrating their log rolling, axe throwing, chopping, sawing, tree climbing and dragster chainsaw skills. This show will take place on all three days: Friday at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., Saturday at 7 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
The New England Fishing Village with demonstrations, samples and displays as well as the International Food Court offering a diverse selection of dining choices add to the fun.

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For the Kids
The festival’s Pirates Coast Adventure will wow children of all ages. Here, kids can meet real life pirates and look for booty in treasure hunts, hear storytelling and join in other fun-filled activities. New this year will be realistic demonstrations. The Kids’ Cove includes games, rides and entertainment. This interactive pirate encampment gives kids a taste of what seafaring was like during the golden age of piracy from 1650-1750. In addition, there will be an action-packed performance by Marvel Super Heroes.
Sunday is Family Day with special family and children’s packages for entrance, rides and meals. The perk of family day on Sunday is that one child under 12 gets in free with each adult paid admission and for a mere $15 can ride all the amusement rides free from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. To round out the family fun there will be live shows for kids on the festival’s main stage.

For the Whole Family

The festival offers a wide array of attractions the whole family will enjoy, including continuous entertainment by local musicians and national acts. A multitude of fine artists and crafters display whimsical as well as practical items that appeal to all tastes, budgets and ages. For on the water fun, head to the festival docks to tour historic vessels and to cruise the scenic and historic Norwalk Harbor.

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For the Foodies

Food demonstrations and competitions, including the always-popular chowder and chili cook-offs will take place throughout the festival. A highlight of the Festival is the wide variety of great food from around the world that is available at the International Food Court. This culinary fare is prepared by dozens of local nonprofit organizations allowing them to raise vital funds for their charitable causes. At the Oyster Pavilion, learn about Norwalk’s oystering history while watching slurping and shucking contests. The celebrity Slurpoff will be held on Saturday at 3 p.m. in front of Oyster Pavilion.

The event is held at Veteran’s Park, adjacent to Norwalk Harbor on Seaview Avenue in Norwalk, CT. Admission for adults is $10 on Friday, $12 on Saturday and Sunday. Senior tickets are $10 all days. Children 5-12 year’s old are $5. Children under 5 and U.S. military personnel on active duty are free. Sunday is Family Day with special pricing on that day only — 1 child (age 5-12) free with each paid adult admission. Tickets can be purchased at www.seaport.org. Free Parking and Free Shuttle Bus service is provided from four (4) local parking lots, just follow the signs to Oyster Festival Parking.
Save on Metro-North Railroad/Norwalk Oyster Festival Tickets

Festivalgoers can save on admission and rail fare when they purchase the Metro-North Railroad/Norwalk Seaport Association Oyster Festival discount package. Packages are available at all ticket offices and ticket machines (except South Norwalk Station). On sale starting July 15. Package price from GCT/Harlem-125th Street: Adults, $27; Seniors, persons with disabilities and individuals receiving Medicare, $21; Children 12, $22; Children 5-11, $5; Children under 5, free. – See more at: http://web.mta.info/mnr/html/getaways/outbound_oyster_fest.htm
Packages also run from other stations.

About the Norwalk Seaport Association
The Norwalk Seaport Association was founded in 1978 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation, education and public awareness of Norwalk’s maritime environment and heritage. The Seaport Association and its volunteers are solely responsible for organizing and financing the Oyster Festival. In addition to the Oyster Festival, the Norwalk Seaport Association owns Sheffield Lighthouse and its volunteers maintain the lighthouse and grounds as a museum and nature preserve. For more information, visit www.seaport.org or call (203) 838-9444.

West Cornwall Scenery, Shopping & More

There are many reasons to visit the bucolic village of West Cornwall. The West Cornwall Covered Bridge is a wooden lattice truss bridge built around 1864 that spans the Housatonic River. This is one of two bridges that can actually be crossed by auto traffic. Many visitors to West Cornwall take photos of this iconic covered bridge.

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In the heart of the village there are several interesting shops to explore. Cornwall Bridge Pottery http://www.cbpots.com owned by Todd Piker, one of the country’s most prolific potters produces high quality wood fired pots for everyday use. In his shop you will find lamps, planters, mugs, plates, bowls and much more. In addition to pottery, you will also find an official Shaker Furniture Room.

If you are a book lover, don’t miss Barbara Farnsworth Bookseller http://www.farnsworthbooks.com. This shop is located in an old masonic hall and has over 45,000 books ! There are large selections in literature, biography, poetry, diaries and letters, art, architecture, photography, fashion and costume, natural history, cookbooks, children’s books, and many other categories.

The Wish House is a gorgeous shop that offers a wide array of gift items and clothes. The gallery at the Wish House exhibits the artwork of local artists and hosts author events. The West Cornwall Farmers Market is also held here on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through October. The Wish House often hosts book signings with local authors.

George Geary, Award-Winning Cookbook Author, TV Food Judge and Educator to teach at the Silo Sept. 20 and 22

Do you want to learn what its like to be a Critic Judge for ABC’s “The Taste” with Anthony Bourdain – and to work on television productions like “America’s Next Best Baker” with Jeff Foxworthy, “Hells Kitchen” and many others?

Do you want to meet an award-winning world-traveling cookbook author?

Do you want to take classes with the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) 2014 Culinary Educator of the Year?

You can do all this and more at The Silo Cooking School in New Milford, CT.

Join Chef George Geary on Saturday, September 20, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., and again on Sunday, September 21, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Novice and experienced chefs alike will learn to prepare amazing and elegant dishes.

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Chef Geary is passionate about cooking and sharing that passion with others. His tenth and newest book, “Hollywood Restaurants of the Gold Age,” will be the focus of Saturday’s class and will feature classic dishes including Crab Cakes with Red Pepper Sauce from Spago’s, Paul Newman’s Red Potato Salad, and Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Icing from Clifton’s.

On Sunday, September 21, participants will be “Baking with the Best.” Recipes include Mini Fruit Cheesecakes, Five-Chocolate Brownies with dusting of Bittersweet Ganache, Mini-Apple Crumb Tarts with Grated Cheese Crust, and Pucker Up Meyer Lemon Bars with Raspberries.

When not in a kitchen or television studio, George leads culinary tours of major cities in America and Europe and teaches aboard Holland America Lines.

The Silo Cooking School at Hunt Hill Farm, named “Best Cooking School” in the state by Connecticut Magazine, is located at 44 Upland Road in New Milford. Housed in a converted barn, c.1800, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places it is surrounded by hundreds of acres of open space, and active farmland, stonewalls, and woodlands. The school is part of the Smithsonian Institution affiliated Hunt Hill Farm, a non-profit organization, which provides the public with diverse opportunities to explore the culinary, musical and visual arts amid historic farm buildings and protected open space in the heart of Connecticut’s northwest corner. It is conveniently located – just 90 minutes from New York City and a short drive from Fairfield
and Hartford counties.

The cost of the class is $90 per person. Enrollment is limited. For more information and to register for the class, or to learn about other upcoming classes, call (860) 355-0300 or visit http://www.hunthillfarmtrust.org. Registration is also available at The Silo during regular business hours. The Silo Gallery and Store are open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m.

Coffeehouse at the Westport Historical Society salutes Peter Seeger

On August 29 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. join -songwriter Suzanne Sheridan and other local musicians for an evening of Civil Rights and Vietnam War protest songs in tribute to the late folk icon Pete Seeger.

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The writer of such Sixties anthems as “If I Had a Hammer,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” and “Turn, Turn, Turn,” Seeger was also an environmental activist and co-founder of the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater project. He died Jan. 28 at the age of 94.

The evening kicks off with a set by Weston’s Bruce Taylor, a retired teacher and maker of string instruments who was a friend of Seeger’s. Taylor specialized in the “Seeger- style” 12- string guitar and the long-neck five-string banjo that he created just for Seeger. He and Seeger collaborated on a few songs and also performed together, usually in support of the Clearwater project.

Sheridan, who began her music career writing jingles for such companies as Pepsi, Hasbro toys and Texaco and writing music for The Electric Company and PBS television, has been traveling the world the last three years doing tributes to the music of Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. In addition to Seeger’s “If I Had a Hammer,” she will perform other favorites of the Counterculture era.

Also joining the songfest will be Westport keyboardist Bob Cooper. Cooper played piano in the John Mooney Blues Band from 1978 to 1981, and keyboard for Harvey Robbins’ Doo-Wop Hall of Fame concerts from 2000 to 2009.

So, if you were wondering where all the flowers had gone back in the Sixties, or just love great music, come out to the Westport Historical Society on August 29 for an evening that combines Seeger’s songs with a bit of recent U.S. history.
Admission is $15 and reservations are recommended. Light refreshments will be served. For more information and to reserve, call (203) 222-1424.

For more information on the Westport Historical Society http://westporthistory.org.

Silvermine Arts Guild Faculty Exhibition and open house

Silvermine School of Art located on 1037 Silvermine Road in New Cannan celebrated its 90th birthday this year and was once again recognized in Moffly Media’s “Best of the Gold Coast” issue for best art classes for the third consecutive year. The Silvermine Galleries were also voted “best gallery” for the fourth consecutive year.

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Liza_Masalimova Silvermine Pond Faculty Exhbition_2014

What distinguishes the Silvermine School of Art is the quality of its faculty. Acclaimed artists, many of whom are Silvermine Guild members, teach a wide range of disciplines and media from painting and drawing to metalwork.There will be an exhibit of their work in Silvermine’s Sara Victoria Hall from August 21st until September 11, 2014 with an opening reception at 6:30 pm on Thursday, August 21st.

To coincide with the Faculty Exhibition, the Silvermine Arts Center will host an open house on Sunday, September 7 from 2 to 4 pm. Visitors can tour the campus and studios, meet with faculty, see demonstrations by Silvermine faculty members, participate in hands-on activities, and register for courses and workshops.

The School of Art offers art students and working artists in-depth courses and workshops in traditional and nontraditional media. Beginners are welcome; in fact the School of Art now offers one-day workshops and evening mini-sessions for those who would like to try a Silvermine course for the first time or explore a new discipline or medium.

Some of the new classes at Silvermine include an anatomy and figure drawing class in which artists learn the structure of the body; a botanical drawing class; and an advanced stained-glass course that involves making the glass and painting onto it with enamels. One-day courses will be offered in pottery, metal sculpture, felting, and precious metal clay jewelry. In the precious metal clay workshop, students create their own crafted metal piece.

Silvermine Galleries are open Wednesday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (203) 966-­9700 ext. 20 or visit the website: www.silvermineart.org.

Lorikeets will be eating out of your hand!

There is still time to visit the Lorikeets and step into a lush aviary to share a laugh and a squawk with beautiful tropical birds that will sip food right out of your hands. The “Lorikeets” returns is the special summer exhibit at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk through September 1.

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The exhibit will feature more than 50 free-flying lorikeets, which are colorful medium-sized parrots native to the south Pacific (SE Asia, eastern Australia, Polynesia). The birds come in a dazzling rainbow of colors – with feathers that almost radiate an iridescent glow when seen in full sunlight. Lorikeets are naturally found in rainforests and woodlands, but also in wooded urban areas, where they primarily feed on the nectars of various blossoms and fruits.

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Visitors are invited to purchase a cup of nectar for $3 that will attract lorikeets to land on you while drinking creating an unforgettable experience and photo opportunity.

Lorikeets are specially adapted to their sweet nectar diet through their specialized tongue. Tiny hair-like appendages called papillae form a U shape on the end of the tongue. When the tongue is extended, these papillae stand up like bristles on a brush, expanding the tongue’s surface area and allowing the birds to easily soak up nectar. Unique to lorikeets, these papillae have earned the birds the nickname “brush-tongued parrots.”

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Some other important items to note about “Lorikeets”: • It will be handicapped-accessible but no strollers, please. • Guests will be asked to sanitize their hands before entering. • To encourage the birds to rest, the exhibit will close for a half-hour at 1:30 p.m. daily. • The exhibit will close 30 minutes before the rest of the Aquarium: at 5:30 p.m. in July and August.

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Get more details about “Lorikeets” and other summer offerings at The Maritime Aquarium, including the new IMAX movie “Journey to the South Pacific” by calling (203) 852-0700 or logging onto www.maritimeaquarium.org.

Larry Silver/Westport Visions: Four Decades of Photography at Westport Historical Society

Today, some 40 years since his earliest forays into Connecticut, Larry Silver is sharing his retrospective of Westport photographs at the Westport Historical Society, located on 25 Avery Place in Westport through October 18, 2014. The exhibition, titled Larry Silver/Westport Visions, features images of the town’s favorite haunts, quiet spots and humorous encounters of everyday life in this culturally dynamic community along the shore of Long Island Sound and mouth of the Saugatuck River.

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Larry Silver spent decades photographing the neighborhoods and public spaces of Westport, and the coming exhibit features images of its beaches, open fields, parks and downtown that are indicative of a love affair with his adopted town. This personal, creative journey began in 1973, when Larry Silver and his family moved from New York City to Westport.

Drawn from hundreds of images of Westport, this exhibition includes over 50 gelatin silver prints, many vintage. Included are icons of Silver’s career, such as the Compo Beach images Beach Showers (1980) and Dancing on the Jetties (1979), which depict isolated human figures in strongly composed, and graphic environments. This body of work is stylistically reminiscent of his earlier Photo League material, yet demonstrates the evolution of his lyrical and balanced compositions that define his trademark style. It also features images never exhibited or published before, including views of Sherwood Island State Park, the Gillespie Center (now Homes for Hope), town celebrations, local farms and neighborhoods, plus additional images of Compo, Longshore and downtown Westport. Silver shot the majority of these with a 35-millimeter Nikon, a 2 1/4 by 2 1/4 Hasselblad or a 4 x 5 view camera. However, in recent years, he has explored possibilities of digital cameras.

Westport Visions offers longtime residents, those new to the area, along with visitors an opportunity to pause and reflect upon the ever-evolving town, from its roots as an agrarian village to a summer resort and artistic community to a modern metropolitan suburb. Many of the places that Silver captured with his camera have changed or disappeared, yet, others, like views of commuters at the train station and bathers at Compo Beach, remain, at once timeless and familiar. This exhibition will provide audiences an opportunity to think about Westport’s past and future, with its omnipresent call to improve and be vibrant.

Westport Historical Society is open Mon. – Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sat. 12 noon – 4 p.m. For additional information http://westporthistory.org. For area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com