Kent Gingerbread Festival

The sweet scents will tease your sense of smell as you enter the quaint village of Kent CT. The rolling pins are spinning and creative minds of all ages are working hard to create dozens of Gingerbread Houses. Ovens are filled to capacity and working overtime to get ready for the ANNUAL KENT GINGERBREAD FESTIVAL brunning through December 31.

Gingerbread Houses of all shapes and sizes will be on display in many of Kent’s beautifully decorated shop windows until December 31. As you approach Kent you will find yourself in what looks like a movie set of the perfect little New England town, twinkling lights will guide you through the unique one of a kind shops. What an enjoyable way to do your holiday shopping.

Lots of places feature colorful gingerbread houses for the holidays, but Kent, CT goes a step further. The whole town will take place in this sugary sweet celebration. Everyone is invited to follow the Gingerbread Walk through town to view imaginative and ingenious gingerbread delights. Visitors can enjoy the displays as they navigate the gingerbread map and solve the NEW mysterious riddle the Ginger Girls have cooked up this year. At the end, visitors vote for their favorite creations. Displays are guaranteed to delight all ages!

Should you be hungry after your Gingerbread Walk there are many temptations that will lure you, from a chocolate shop and baked goods to delicious culinary delights in one of Kent’s many restaurants & cafés. In addition to gingerbread displays, Kent will have special holiday events every weekend, from the Annual Kent Holiday Champagne Stroll, wine tastings and even Pancakes with Santa to an old time horse-drawn carriage ride through town and a Messiah sing-along. For more holiday information a visit http://kentct.com/events/

Westport Country Playhouse Announces 2018 Season

Westport Country Playhouse announces its 2018 season, featuring five productions that are “big for the soul,” according to Artistic Director Mark Lamos. The Connecticut professional theater’s lineup includes two comedies, one modern and one classic; a drama; a musical; and a world premiere, running from May 29 through November 17. 2018 season tickets are now on sale.

“In this American Moment of turmoil and mistrust, unsteadiness and accusation, comes a season of productions at our historic Playhouse that digs deep into the heart and gives the soul an uplift,” said Lamos. “A wide human canvas of emotions, from joy and surprise to tears of hope — this is what characterizes the coming 2018 season of drama, comedy, and thrilling musical theater. Five productions. Five chances to connect with feelings we can sometimes only access when we confront, and are embraced by, live performance.”

The 2018 season will begin with “Flyin’ West,” playing May 29 – June 16, written by Pearl Cleage, directed by Seret Scott. Set in 1898 when the Civil War is still a living memory, the all-black town of Nicodemus, Kansas, offers a refuge for many former slaves. At one homestead lives a family of courageous and sharp-witted women determined to make a place for themselves. They overcome tremendous odds in a heroic effort to escape the scars of the past in this uplifting story of bravery, pride, and sisterhood.

“A Flea in Her Ear,” a new version of Georges Feydeau’s farce, written by David Ives and directed by Mark Lamos, is scheduled July 10 – 28. The comedy is a co-production with Resident Ensemble Players at the University of Delaware. Raymonde has everything a turn-of-the-century Parisian housewife could want. Everything, that is, except for a husband who lavishes her with attention in bed. Doubting his fidelity, she gets a “flea in her ear,” sending all involved on a wild ride of accusations, mistaken identities, and riotous confusions.

“The Understudy,” written by Theresa Rebeck and directed by David Kennedy (2017 Connecticut Critics Circle Award for Best Director of a Play), will run August 14 – September 1. Audiences mob the theater when a Hollywood action star takes the Broadway stage in a recently discovered play by Franz Kafka. But what if he can’t go on? Enter Harry, the understudy, a journeyman actor who has the chops but not the résumé. This hilarious look at life backstage gets even crazier when Harry reunites with the stage manager (his ex-fiancée) and dukes it out with the film star as obstacles mount and tensions rise.

“Man of La Mancha,” written by Dale Wasserman, music by Mitch Leigh, lyrics by Joe Darion, and directed by Mark Lamos, will be staged September 25 – October 13, 2018. Winner of 5 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and based on Cervantes’ masterpiece, this “Impossible Dream” comes to life in an imaginative journey with Don Quixote as he tilts at windmills and battles for good and the love of his fair maiden Aldonza.

The 2018 season culminates with the world-premiere drama, “Thousand Pines,” written by Matthew Greene and directed by Austin Pendleton, playing October 30 – November 17, 2018. The new drama was incubated in early 2017 by Westport Country Playhouse’s New Works Initiative. Thanksgiving feels hollow this year to the families of a small suburban town where the memories are still too fresh. Nothing is the same since the day when Thousand Pines Junior High School was on every news channel and in everyone’s hearts. This important and uplifting tale of redemption shows that everyone is the same in wanting to feel safe and in wanting to heal.

In addition, “The Pianist of Willesden Lane” will return by popular demand for a special engagement in December 2018, directly following the regular season. The acclaimed musical memoir stars Grammy-nominated pianist and storyteller Mona Golabek, and is directed by Hershey Felder. In 1938 Vienna, a 14-year-old piano prodigy finds her dreams of becoming a concert pianist threatened by the looming war in Europe. When her parents buy her a one-way ticket to England on the Kindertransport, the children’s survival train, a story of art preserving life begins.

All play titles, artists, and dates are subject to change.

The performance schedule is Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 and 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Special series feature Taste of Tuesday, LGBT Night OUT, Opening Night, Sunday Symposium, Open Captions, Thursday TalkBack, Together at the Table Family Dinner, Playhouse Happy Hour, and Backstage Pass.

5-Play and Pick 4 season tickets are now available, including online purchasing capability 24/7. Patrons who purchase before Saturday, October 14, will receive a one-half price guest pass, and save 25% on “The Pianist of Willesden Lane,” if added to their package. All season ticket holders receive a host of benefits not afforded to single ticket buyers, including up to 35% off single ticket prices, priority seating, free and easy ticket exchanges, and discounts at selected Westport restaurants. In addition, they will be invited to a season preview event in the spring with Lamos and other artists. 2018 Flex Passes are also currently on sale for those seeking to see any combination of shows on varying days and times. Single tickets will go on sale in March.

For more information and to buy season tickets, visit http://www.westportplayhouse.org or call the box office at (203) 227-4177, toll-free at 1-888-927-7529, or visit Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport. Stay connected to the Playhouse on Facebook (Westport Country Playhouse), follow on Twitter (@WCPlayhouse), and on YouTube (WestportPlayhouse).

About Westport Country Playhouse

The mission of Westport Country Playhouse is to enrich, enlighten, and engage the community through the power of professionally produced theater worth talking about and the welcoming experience of the Playhouse campus. The Playhouse creates this relationship with the community and provides this experience in multiple ways by offering: Live theater experiences of the highest quality, under the artistic direction of Mark Lamos, from May through November; educational and community engagement events and opportunities to further explore issues presented by the work on stage; special performances and programs for students and teachers with extensive curriculum support material; Script in Hand play readings throughout the year to deepen relationships with audiences and artists alike; the renowned Woodward Internship Program training program during the summer months for aspiring theater professionals; Family Festivities presentations from December through May to delight young and old alike and to promote reading through live theater; youth performance training through Broadway Method Academy, the Playhouse’s resident conservatory; and the beautiful and historic Playhouse campus open for enjoyment and community events year-round. The value of the Westport Country Playhouse to all it touches is immeasurable.

Shen Yun @ Palace Theatre in Waterbury Dec. 22-23

Shen Yun, a global sensation returns to the Palace Theatre in Waterbury located on 100 East Main Street with a brand new production. Watch glorious legends and heavenly realms spring to life through classical Chinese dance. See dazzling costumes and powerful flips fill the stage with color and energy. And let the orchestra’s exquisite melodies, the singers’ soaring voices, and the dynamically animated backdrops uplift your spirit and transport you to another world.

Through the universal language of music and dance, Shen Yun weaves a wondrous tapestry of heavenly realms, ancient legends, and modern heroic tales, taking you on a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese culture. Its stunning beauty and tremendous energy leave audiences uplifted and inspired.

A Shen Yun performance features the world’s foremost classically trained dancers, a unique orchestra blending East and West, and dazzling animated backdrops—together creating one spectacular performance. Experience the world of China’s divine culture at the Palace Theater.
Performances are on December 22 at 7:30 pm and at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 pm on December 23. Tickets are available online.

Sharon Audubon hosts bird count

Each year, the Sharon Audubon Center located at 325 Cornwall Bridge Rd. invites small groups of birders to venture out for the sole purpose of counting birds. This free event, known as the Trixie Strauss Christmas Bird Count, occurs on Sunday, December 17th from 12:01 am to midnight. Our count area is a 15-mile circle with its center at Hotchkiss School, thus taking in some of the good birding areas in Sharon, Salisbury, Falls Village, Amenia and Northeast. Teams from all over the state and all over the country take part in Christmas Bird Count, and all of the numbers are compiled and reported to help better understand flock formations and migrations.

You don’t have to be a great birder to enjoy Christmas Bird Count. And, if it’s cold outside, you don’t even have to get out of the car! “Feeder watchers” are also always appreciated. If you would like to participate, but would rather not leave the comforts of your home, you can choose to count the birds at your bird feeders, even if only for one hour. Your numbers can then be given to our compiler Zach Adams right after the count and they will be included in the overall Christmas Bird Count report. Forms for the bird feeder count can be picked up at the Sharon Audubon Center on Route 4 in Sharon, CT. You can also call the Audubon Center to find out who the “area captains” are so you can contact them to learn meeting places and times throughout the day.

At approximately 5:00 pm, the teams congregate at the Sharon Audubon Center to turn in their data, enjoy some snacks, and determine who has the best hold on “bragging rights” for the day’s finds. Even if you can’t join us in the field, you are welcome to join us at the Center to hear the results. We ask anyone who lives in the surrounding towns to fill up your bird feeders to help with our counts! Please contact the Center at (860) 364-0520 if you would like more information on the Trixie Strauss Christmas Bird Count.

Christmas at the Hotchkiss-Fyler House Museum

The Hotchkiss-Fyler House Museum, 192 Main Street, Torrington, is once again decorated for the Christmas season. During the Christmas season, the house takes on a special ambiance as trees, lights, and various Christmas decorations sparkle against the richly embellished interior of this historic home. During the Christmas season, guided tours of the first floor will be available to visitors. Tours will be available beginning on Saturday, December 9th and ending on Saturday, December 30th. Hours are Thursdays through Sundays, 12-4, last tour is at 3:30. Admission is $10 for adults; FREE to Torrington Historical Society members.
Children 12 and under are free. The house museum will be closed December 25th.

At Christmas, the house takes on a particularly festive look. This year, the woodwork and richly embellished interior will be accented with touches of white, poinsettias, wreaths and several Christmas trees. The rooms on the first floor will be decorated with an array of Christmas trees and greenery. One of the many trees will feature antique ornaments from a private collection while others will be decorated with vintage ornaments from the Society’s collection and antique toys from the Society’s collection will also be on view. In addition, the dining room table will be set for Christmas dinner with the fine china, crystal, silverware, and linens that belonged to Gertrude Fyler Hotchkiss.

One of Connecticut’s best house museums, the Hotchkiss-Fyler House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A tour of this house provides visitors with a rare opportunity to view an historic home as it was when last occupied. Built in 1900, the Hotchkiss-Fyler House Museum was home to the Hotchkiss and Fyler families for more than half a century until 1956 when it was bequeathed to the Torrington Historical Society by Gertrude Fyler Hotchkiss. The interior features impressive woodwork, painted and stenciled walls, original furnishings and collections of fine and decorative arts.

The Torrington Historical Society always welcomes new members. Join now and your tour is free! For more information, call (860) 482-8260 or visit http://www.torringtonhistoricalsociety.org.

A History of Chairs @ Sharon Historical Society Dec. 16

On Saturday, December 16 at 2 p.m. the Sharon Historical Society hosts scholar William Hosley in his debut lecture on the history of chairs. This picture show and lecture will delve into chairs as one of the oldest most universal elements of household furnishing in human history.

The history of chairs actually started in ancient Egypt with chairs made of ebony and ivory,they were often carved and the wood was gilded and supported upon representations of the legs of beasts or the figures of captives. Egyptians believed that the chairs need to represent natural forms to avoid creating chaos in the universe, by creating an artificial object. Fast forwarding through time, the oldest dated example of American furniture is a chair. Chairs have use. They have artistic expression. They reflect evolving technology and, especially in the pre-industrial era, they mark the places they come from stylistically, especially here in Connecticut.

Chairs from Norwich or Wethersfield or Woodbury are as distinctive as a thumb print. Chairs were also abundant enough that we have plenty of evidence – thousands of chair – to show the scope and scale of change from the earliest years of settlement to today. This program will provide a fast-paced overview of 350 years of chairs and chair-making in America.

Keep it local @ Flanders Nature Center’s Artisan Holiday Market

Looking for a distinctive handmade gift that will truly be appreciated by the special people on your shopping list? Decked out in festive style, the historic Van Vleck House at Flanders Nature Center located at the corner of Flanders and Church Hill Roads in Woodbury is the setting for their annual “Artisan Marketplace”.

This popular annual event will run through December 17, 2017. At the Artisan Marketplace you will find a wide variety of quality creations handmade by local crafters and artisans including quilts, wreaths and greens, jewelry and pottery, toys, chocolates, ornaments, home décor, hand painted wine glasses, hats and hand dyed scarves, skin care and pet items as well as wool from Flanders own sheep and much more.

Artists and crafters will also be exhibiting their items and also showcasing their talents through demonstrations and workshops as featured artisans of the day. Proceeds benefit local artisans and Flanders land conservation and educational programs.

The Van Vleck house is located at the corner of Flanders and Church Hill Roads in Woodbury. The “Artisan Marketplace” will be open Saturdays and Sundays 11-4 through December 17th. This holiday season keep your shopping handmade and local!