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

Haunted Graveyards and Witches Dungeon Deliver Chills and Thrills

It is that spooky time of year again and Bristol Connecticut in the Litchfield Hills is “spook central”!

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.

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Recommended for adults, teens and very brave children, the park opens at dusk weekends from through November 1, and runs to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, to 10 p.m. on Sundays. Lake Compounce will also be operating 17 thrill rides including Boulder Dash, Ghost Hunt, Down Time, and Zoomerang. Proceeds will benefit the American Diabetes Associations. For tickets visit https://www.lakecompounce.com or http://hauntedgraveyard.com.

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This will be the 48th 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.

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While waiting for each wax museum tour, you can view actual film props, actor’s life casts and movie posters, or step into our film room, to view classic silent horror movies, shown on film, not video. Featuring far more life size figures & original movie props than we have ever had on display before! Figures based on the classic films of Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi and more.

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The new location for Witches Dungeon is 98 Summer Street, Bristol Historical Society in Bristol. The hours are Friday through Sunday evenings, 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Oct. 24-26 and Oct. 31 – Nov. 2. The Museum is not recommended for children under age 7. For additional information visit http://www.preservehollywood.org.

7th Annual Washington Green Cemetery Tour

The 7th Annual Washington Green Cemetery Tour, with a special World War One theme, will take place on Friday, October 24from 6:30-8:30pm.

Costumed guides will lead groups of visitors every ten minutes from the Gunn Museum to the Washington Green Cemetery where the town’s departed citizens will be stationed at their gravestones to tell their tales of tragedy and triumph.

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Tour groups will follow a magical path of 1,000 luminaries spanning a quarter mile through the shadowy cemetery and hear the lively and dramatic stories of Washington’s residents from World War One. The costumed character actors stationed at each gravestone will share such stories as the perilous tales of combat in Europe; the life of a soldier stationed in muddy rat infested trenches; women will describe what the fascinating experiences they had as nurses and YMCA workers; summer residents from New York City will talk about how they joined forces with the locals to form war relief organizations such as the Sister Susie Society on the home front; and so much more.

The tours depart from the Museum in groups of fifteen people every 10 minutes between 6:30-8:30 pm, and last approximately 45 minutes. Numbers for the tours are handed out at the Museum starting at 6:15pm. A Halloween themed movie will be shown and treats will be served in the Wykeham Room of the Gunn Library as you wait for your tour group to depart. The Museum will also be open for viewing of the exhibit, Over There: Washington and the Great War. The cemetery is dark and cold, please bring a flashlight with you and dress warmly.

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While this event is free, donations are always appreciated. The rain date is Sunday October 26. The Gunn Museum is located at 5 Wykeham Road, at the intersection of Wykeham Road and Route 47, on Washington Green, Connecticut. Parking at the Gunn is limited, please use nearby lots and side streets. Call 860-868-7756 or view www.gunnlibrary.org for information.

For information on Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.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.

Audubon Greenwich offers late October Family Fun

Audubon Greenwich located on 613 Riversville Road has several exciting events planned for late October that are sure to please young and old alike.

On Sunday, October 19, the Audubon has planned two family fun events. The first event, a Wild Bird Banding Demonstration begins at 12:30 p.m. This hour long demonstration will show how scientists study bird migration, health, and ecology using ‘bird ID bands’ that are placed on birds, large and small, as they pass through the Audubon’s 285-acre sanctuary in Greenwich, CT. After a short learning session indoors, guests will venture into the field for an up-close bird encounter with bird banding expert, Sean Graesser. All ages welcome.$10/person includes cookies & cider afterwards. RSVP required & space limited.

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The bird banding demonstration is followed by an Autumn Nature Art Class that will take place from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Special guest teacher, Adriana Rostovsky, will show how to create textures and collages with autumn treasures found outdoors. These sessions willfocus on using natural items like grasses, cones, seed heads and other itemsto create nature-themed decorations. All ages welcome. $25 for first two peopleand $5 per additional. RSVP required & space limited.

On Saturday, October 25, the Audubon Greenwich will host an Enchanted Orchard and Live Animal Show from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. This fun Halloween-themed evening for the whole family. Meet kid-friendly, costumed animal characters on a tour of the ‘Enchanted Orchard’. After the tour, participants will enjoy dinner, treats and a live animal show, too. Costumes welcome but are not required! All ages are welcome to this event and it is $10 per person. Space very limited so RSVPs & parent supervision is required. The rain date for this event is October 30.

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

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