Howl-O- Ween — at Beardsley Zoo !

It is that spooky time of year again when the attractions are serving up plenty of chills and thrills and family fun in Fairfield County.

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The Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport for example, is calling all ghosts and goblins to their “Howl-O-Ween on Oct. 24 and 25 from 6:30. Visitors will spend a truly fun and frightful evening at the Zoo featuring a “Greek Mythology” Hayride, Haunted Farmyard, Gruesome Greenhouse, and magic show by Jim Sisti. Tickets also include FREE face painting, and of course, CANDY! Don’t miss this frighteningly good time. Admission is $12 per person in advance and for Zoo members; $15 per person at the gate. Event recommended for children ages 6-12, however, some of the “scarier” activities of the evening may be better suited for children ages 8+.
On Sunday, October 26, Boo is at the Zoo… from 12 pm to 3 pm. This spooktacular afternoon that includes harvest hayrides and many other seasonal enjoyments from 12:00pm – 3:00pm. Special scarecrows are guaranteed to delight and fright all visitors to the Zoo adding a ghoulish flair. Make sure you are on hand when the winner is announced so you can congratulate the winner and have your photo taken with winning scarecrow.

The fun at Beardsley Zoo continues with Harvest Hay Rides through the month every weekend in November on at 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The rides begin at W.O.L.F. Cabin and are $2 per person.
Beardsley Zoo is located on 1875 Noble Ave. in Bridgeport. For more information visit http://beardsleyzoo.org. For area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

Wednesday Workshops Challenge Kids’ Creativity

Every Wednesday now through December 17, the Westport Historical Society has organized a series of workshops for curious creative kids from 3:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. These fun workshops will allow kids ages 6 to 12 years old to create a new project each week.

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The workshops will be a fun way to encourage kids to explore their creativity. Projects will be of interest for kids with a variety of interests. For the child fascinated by technology, there’s “Industrial Revolution Robots,” where kids will make their own bots from nuts and bolts. For the budding artist there are workshops on how to make folk art signs and decoupage treasure boxes. Workshops on making sock dolls, parchment paper, scary Halloween stuff, antique toy reproductions and holiday gifts round out the syllabus.

“Wednesday Workshops,” Wednesdays, Oct. 1-Dec. 17, 3:45 to 5:15 p.m. Ages 5-12. There is a $25 per session fee, $20 for members. For 10 sessions, the fee is $150 members, $200 non-members; includes all supplies. Reservations suggested: (203) 222-1424. For additional information visit http://westporthistory.org.

Warner Theatre hosts International Playwrights Festival

The Warner Theatre on Main Street in Torrington Connecticut in the center of the Litchfield Hills is hosting the 3rd Annual International Playwrights Festival. The Festival is a celebration of new works by playwrights from across the country and around the globe. For the third year, over 200 plays were submitted from across the United States and Canada and as far away as Australia, Israel and Great Britain. 12 winners have been selected.

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The festival will consist of three nights of performances by the top three winning playwrights featuring four playwrights each night.

On Thursday, October 16 at 8 pm – BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO GROW UP JULIET will be featured. This play was written by Rex McGregor from Auckland, New Zealand. This will be followed by FIREFLY IN AUGUST by Sheila Curran Bernard from New York, MOVES LIKE JAGGER by Suzanne Bailie from Washington, and THE COUNTER OFFER by David L. Williams from Pennsylvania.

On Friday, October 17 at 8 pm – I’VE GOT A PROBLEM WHATEVER by Cynthia “Andy” Landis from Tennessee will start off the evening. This performance will be followed by CRACKED by Gwydion Suilebhan from Maryland, TIME TRAVEL IS GOOD FOR THE COMPLEXION by Shari D. Frost from Massachusetts, and CUTHBERT’S LAST STAND by Andrew Biss fromPennsylvania.

On Saturday, October 18 at 8 pm the first performance will be CAPTIVE AUDIENCE SWORD PLAY* (By Invitation only) by Charlene A. Donaghy from Connecticut. This play will be followed by CHECKING THE BASEMENT FOR LEAKS by Doug DeVita from New York, BUDDHISTS IN THE BASEMENT by Mary Beth Smith from Massachusetts, CAPTIVE AUDITION by Paul Braverman from California and THE ELEVEN O’CLOCK NUMBER by Julie Weinberg from New York.

Tickets are $15 per night or $30 for all three nights. For tickets, call the Box Office at 860-489-7180 or visit www.warnertheatre.org

On Sunday, October 19 at 3 p.m. the Warner is hosting the Connecticut Artists & Playwrights Festival that brings together visual art featuring Connecticut artists exhibiting in Torrington’s Five Points Gallery with Connecticut playwrights to create new ten-minute plays that will be produced at the Warner Theatre’s Nancy Marine Studio Theatre.

The Connecticut Artists & Playwrights Festival recognizes the work of emerging and established artists from across the state. It gives visual artists an opportunity for their art to serve as inspiration for a piece of dramatic writing. It gives playwrights a forum for production of their ten-minute plays that are inspired by one of three pieces of visual art.

THIS YEAR’S ARTISTS & PLAYWRIGHTS:

ANNUNCIATION – Judith Thorpe
VENUS SMILED by Steven Otfinoski (Stratford, CT)
FLIP by Jonathan Yukich (Hamden, CT)
QUELCHED by Robert Schneider (New Haven, CT)
THE SEQUENCE – Katherine Myers
THE SEQUENCE by Bob Tilton (Storrs, CT)
LOBSTER SPECIAL by Mara Dresner (Rocky Hill, CT)
CIRCLING THE GLOBE by Victoria Z. Daly (Goshen, CT)
OMNES ORGANUM TRIPLUM – Pam Bramble
TO TELL THE TRUTH by Allan Appel (New Haven, CT)
FAULT by Julie Weinberg (Goshen, CT)
YOUR EYES, THE STARS by Darcy Parker Bruce (Norwich, CT)

Tickets are $15, for tickets, call the Box Office at (860) 489-7180 or visit www.warnertheatre.org

Pastoral Solitudes and Landscape Paintings at the Gregory James Gallery

November 4th. All of the paintings were produced over the past two years and reflect the farms and untouched landscapes of Connecticut’s Northwest Corner. A few marine paintings were inspired by scenes near Adkins’ home in Maine, where as a boy, he spent summer vacations with his family.

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Most of his paintings are derived from small sketches made on location, which Adkins refers to later in the studio, making subtle changes in color and light to evoke a mood, the season or time of day.

The green and gold fields of “Northern Farm Early Spring” draw the eye up to an aging grey barn illuminated by sunlight peeking over the hills beyond the farm. The last remnants of snow are visible on hilltops and the bare branches of trees stretch toward a pale sky tinged with purple. The interplay of light and shadow hint at a scene captured just before sunset, or perhaps slightly after sunrise.

The change of season is evident in “Fall Diagonal Light Kent,” which features a pair of barns, bookends to a white farmhouse, tucked beneath leafy green trees tinged with orange. The last slanting rays of sun fall over the scene from beyond the frame of the painting as thick clouds move in from the opposite side.

Looking at “Lake Waramaug Summer,” the viewer seems to be perched on the path, in the same spot Adkins set up his easel, pausing to take in the view of the lake and green the hills sloping down to its edges. There is a small farm tucked into the hillside, yet there is a sense that the viewer is able to take in this tranquil scene alone. Adkins calls it “a snapshot of the moment. You get a true sense of the atmosphere and the feeling for the place.”

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A graduate of Paier College of Art of New Haven, Adkins completed graduate classes at the School of Visual Arts of New York. He has worked as art director and creative director for some of the most prestigious advertising agencies in Connecticut and New York.

As a contemporary painter, Adkins’ style and technique has developed from early influences by Impressionistic painters of light on nature, such as Monet, Pissaro, Willard Metcalf. Adkins’ work is featured in private collections throughout the United States and abroad. His paintings have been shown in galleries and exhibitions in Connecticut and New England, including the New Britain Museum of American Art, The Butler Institute Of American, Old Lyme Association, Gregory James Gallery, Greene Art Gallery and at Bayview Gallery in Brunswick, Me. A member of the Connecticut Plein Air Painters Society and the Association of Oil Painters of America, he participated in the prestigious International Marine Art Exhibition at The Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport. In 2014, he will be one of a select few award-winning artists from seven countries selected to participate in the 35th Annual International Marine Art Exhibition at Mystic Seaport.

The Gregory James Gallery is located at 93 Park Lane Road (Route 202) in New Milford, about 100 feet from the intersection of Route 109. For more information, please call (860) 354-3436 or visit gregoryjamesgallery.com.

Chili and Beer highlight of Salisbury’s Fall Festival

Chili, beer, brats and live music are featured as the 5th Annual Brew-Ski Fest returns bigger and better than ever to the Salisbury Fall Festival on Sunday, Oct. 12th at Satre Hill in Salisbury.

Photos by Marlena

Photos by Marlena

The event hosted by the Salisbury Winter Sports Association (SWSA) that organizes the popular Ski Jumping Championships have organized a “Brew -Ski” event that is featuring beers from 30 breweries and that’s a Brew-Ski record” ! Popular brands like Big Elm, City Steam, Charter Oak, Goose Island, Sam Adams and Berkshire Mountain will return as well as new names like Black Hog, Broad Brook and Fool Proof. For a complete list of breweries, as new breweries are added daily, visit www.Jumpfest.org or go to www.brewskifest.com.

The Chili Cookoff, longtime favorite event of the the Fall Festival has found a new home along side the Brew-Ski at Satre Hill. This is a professional competition open to restaurants and other food service organizations with certified inspected kitchens. Judging will take place from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Photos by Marlena

Photos by Marlena

Live music also returns to the Brew-Ski this year when the popular local band The Nice Ones perform. The band, which won the Housatonic Youth Services Bureau Battle of the Bands several years ago played to an enthusiastic packed house at SWSA’s Snowball last year.

Tickets for Brew-Ski Fest cost $30 per person in advance and are available at Stateline Wine and Spirits in Canaan, 860 824-7295 and Ledgebrook Spirit Shop in Winsted 860 379-4216. Tickets will cost $35 the day of the event. The price includes the chili tasting. Visitors interested only in the Chili Cookoff can taste and vote for a suggested donation of $5.

Proceeds from the Brew-Ski and Chili events which will be held rain or shine will benefit SWSA’s youth skiing programs.

For more information about Litchfield Hills visit: www.litchfieldhills.com

“Photos by Marlena”

THREE TOP FALL FESTIVALS LURE FOOD LOVERS TO WESTERN CONNECTICUT

The aroma of steaming chowder, the tantalizing scent of garlic, and the chance to sample the best specialties of Iceland await autumn visitors to Western Connecticut, home to three of the season’s top food festivals.

Chowdafest, New England’s largest cooking competition, will be held at Norwalk’s Calf Pasture Beach on October 12, a new location spacious enough to accommodate the growing fan base, while another popular event, the tenth annual Connecticut Garlic & Harvest Festival takes place October 11-12, 2014 at the Bethlehem Fairgrounds. The following Saturday, October 18, the fifth annual Iceland Affair and Fire and Ice Music Festival once again will bring fans to Winchester, CT. for a rare treat, one of only two such festivals in the United States.

YOU ARE THE JUDGE AT CHOWDAFEST

At this SOUPerbowl of festivals to benefit the Connecticut Food Bank, attendees are the judges as more than two dozen of the regions best restaurants compete in four categories: classic New England Clam Chowder, Traditional Manhattan and Rhode Island chowders, “creative” chowders that might be anything from sweet potato to Cajun shrimp, and bisque soups such as Butternut Squash and Golden Corn. Everyone receives a spoon, pencil and ballot and can sample unlimited chowder and soups, grading entries on a scale from 7 to 10. Winners are announced at the end of the event.

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For tasting variety, samples are offered at the Cheese and Cracker Corner, at ChowdaMex featuring salsas and chips and at a beverage center stocked with beer and wine. The ChowdaKIDS area will provide samples of ice cream and milk as well as free chef hats, coloring books and stickers provided by Stop & Shop, the event sponsor.

Admission is $10 in advance for adults, $15 at the door on October 11. Ages 6 to 12 pay $5, children under 6 are free. Hours are 12 noon to 4 p.m. Proceeds from this food festival to fight hunger have provided over 100,000 meals for the CT Food Bank. For information, see www.chowdafest.org

GARLIC IN ITS GLORY

Foodies flock each year to the Connecticut Garlic & Harvest Festival where they enjoy cooking demonstrations, informative food talks, lessons in growing garlic, plus free samplings of garlic dips, spreads, cheeses and oils from specialty food vendors. Visitors can buy farm-fresh garlic as well as other bounty from the fall harvest. All of that is the warm-up for some serious eating that includes treats like homemade roasted garlic sausage with peppers and onions, garlic marinated steak sandwiches, garlic roast pork sandwiches, deep fried garlic, and even garlic ice cream.

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Live bands add to the festive feel, fine artisans are on hand offering hand made crafts and young visitors will find rides and games to keep them entertained.

The Garlic Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday October 11 and 12
at the Bethlehem Fairgrounds, Route 61 just north of town. Adult admission is $7, under age 12, just $1. Find more details at www.garlicfestct.com

TAKE A TRIP TO ICELAND

One woman’s love affair with Iceland was the spark that began this unusual festival. Gerri Griswold, a former chef and current broadcaster, visited the “land of fire and ice” and fell in love.
She has made over a dozen trips to Iceland since 2002 and in 2009, decided to introduce more Americans to their northern neighbor in what she thought would be a one-time event in her home town. Instead, the Iceland Affair keeps growing. At this year’s fifth edition at Winchester Center’s Grange Hall visitors will hear experts talk about Iceland’s arts and amazing nature, see prize photography of the land’s lavish geysers and waterfalls, and will be able to sample authentic Icelandic foods such as goat sausage, smoked and dried fish, sensational chocolates and licorice, the special local yogurt known as skyr, pure Icelandic water, and what Griswold calls the best hot dogs in the world.

On the Winchester Center Green the public will meet Iceland’s biologically pure animals including Icelandic horses, sheep, sheep dogs, and chickens. The event will be held on October 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All the day’s activities are free.

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At night, the original small concert in a barn has morphed into the Fire & Ice Festival, to be held this year at Infinity Hall in Norfolk at 8 p.m. Those attending will hear a host of top entertainers rarely seen in this country, and, perhaps discover the next Bjork, Iceland’s best known performer in the U.S.. For details on the festival and information on concert tickets, see http://icelandaffair.com or phone 860-307-6144.

For more information about lodging and other activities in the area 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 County and the Litchfield Hills of Western Connecticut, contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, or visit their web site at www.visitwesternct.com

Westport Arts Center Presents a New Performing Artists Season with Local and International Musicians

The Westport Arts Center is proud to announce a new season for their Performing Arts Series of Jazz and Chamber concerts. The season will feature international musicians, such as Croatian guitarist Ana Vidovic as well as local gems like the Hartford Jazz Orchestra. Bernard Purdie and the Juilliard String Quartet will return for encore performances after their wonderful performances from the Arts Center’s past performing arts seasons.

Julliard String Quartet

Julliard String Quartet

The Center begins and closes the season with Sunday-afternoon performances by some of America’s most distinguished veteran artists. It all starts on Sept. 7 with a concert at the Pequot Library by the long-respected duo-pianists Misha and Cipa Dichter, who have brought their elegant style and technical command to the major music capitals of the world. Audiences will remember that the incomparable Juilliard String Quartet created a sold-out sensation when they performed here during the 2012-13 season, and they will wrap up the new season with another concert at the Pequot on May 17 with a salute to the musical traditions of Vienna.

Dover Quartet

Dover Quartet

The younger artists performing at the Westport Arts Center are all first-rate. When the late-winter storm of 2013 forced the cancelation of the dazzling Armenian clarinetist Narek Arutuynian’s concert, the Center knew they had to re-engage Arutuynian—and he’ll play at the Pequot Library on March 1. Another Young Concert Artists winner, Ana Vidovic, continues the Center’s tradition of solo guitar recitals at the Westport Arts Center gallery on April 26, presenting a satisfying program of music by Bach, Paganini, William Walton, and pieces from the Spanish repertory. On Nov. 9 will be the Dover Quartet, will perform at the Westport Arts Center. The Dover Quartet has swept the major string-quartet competitions in the last two years and is on track to become a major ensemble.

Bernard Purdie

Bernard Purdie

The 2014-15 WAC jazz series will provide a panoramic view on American and world music styles. Legendary funk drummer Bernard Purdie will kick things off in October followed by an intimate concert in November with jazz vocalist Nicole Pasternak featuring Chris Brown in a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. Brasilian sounds will be presented in 2015 with Ali-Ryerson and Joe Carter followed by the Hartford Jazz Orchestra lead by the esteemed pianist Donn Trenner.

Tickets are $30/ $25 for Members of the Westport Arts Center, with a $65 ticket available for the Juilliard String Quartet. Student tickets start at $10 per concert and Jazz Jams are $20/ $15 for WAC Members. Season tickets for the Jazz Season are $125/ $105 for Members, and Chamber Season tickets are $165/ $145 for Members of the Westport Arts Center. A limited number of discounted Senior tickets will be available for presale at the Westport Center for Senior Activities, 21 Imperial Avenue, Westport.Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at www.westportartscenter.org and 203-222-7070.