The sweet scent of gingerbread in Kent

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 beginning on November 25 and running 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.

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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/

“‘POLAR EXPRESS’ PAJAMA PARTIES” AT THE MARITIME AQUARIUM AT NORWALK

Make a magical milk-mustached memory this holiday season with tasty treats, visits with Santa Claus and a giant-screen thrill ride to the North Pole during “‘Polar Express’ Pajama Parties” offered by The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

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On the weekends of Dec. 10-11 and 17-18, the Aquarium is inviting families to roll out of bed and come in their jammies for special morning screenings of the animated Christmas IMAX® movie “The Polar Express,” showing on the six-story screen. Each day, the movie starts at 10 a.m. but come at 9 a.m. to first enjoy a hot-chocolate bar, cookies and other baked treats, a special holiday craft, and visits – and pictures – with Santa Claus.

Each “‘Polar Express’ Pajama Party” begins at 9 a.m. with a hot chocolate bar featuring all-natural cocoa complements of Sillycow Farms™. Guests can top their hot chocolate with whipped cream and a selection of exotic toppings. Plus, they can choose from a delicious spread of decadent cookies provided by SoNo Bakery in Norwalk (Dec. 10 & 11) and Sunny & Frankies in Stamford (Dec. 17 & 18).

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“Pajama Party” partiers also can visit with Aquarium educators, who will help them make a holiday ornament and explore some of the strategies that animals use to keep warm in winter – all before the movie starts at 10 a.m.

Featuring Tom Hanks as the voices of five characters, “The Polar Express” expands on the 1986 Caldecott Award-winning book by Chris Van Allsburg. The story follows a young boy who doubts the existence of Santa Claus. On Christmas Eve, a locomotive magically arrives to take him and other doubtful children to Santa’s North Pole headquarters.

IMAX is the world’s largest film format. Outstanding image clarity and the enormous screen size, combined with The Maritime Aquarium’s 12,000-watt surround-sound audio system, results in an immersive thrill that is so unique it’s been trademarked.

Tickets for a “‘Polar Express’ Pajama Party” are $17 for adults and $15 for kids 3-12 ($15 and $13 for Aquarium members). Each show is limited to 310 seats, so advance purchase is strongly recommended. Buy online at http://www.maritimeaquarium.org or call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.

Can’t make it to a morning “Pajama Party” but still want to see “The Polar Express” in the IMAX Theater? The film is showing at 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 18, and also will play at 5 p.m. on Fri., Dec. 23 and at 5 p.m. daily Dec. 26-Jan. 2. Because it is an hour and 40 minutes long, it’s specially priced: $11.50 for adults; $10.50 for youths (ages 13-17) & seniors (65+); and $9.50 for children 3-12. Maritime Aquarium members save $1.

Besides the weekend shows and the “Pajama Parties,” screenings of “The Polar Express” are available for preschool and elementary-school students on weekdays at 9 and 10 a.m.

Get more details or reserve your tickets in advance at www.maritimeaquarium.org or by calling (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206. To sign up for a monthly newsletter on all there is to see and do in Litchfield Hills and Fairfield County visit www.fairfieldcountyct.com

HOLIDAY SPIRIT IN FULL SWING @ The PALACE THIS DECEMBER

The Palace Theater has a calendar filled with a wide array of holiday themed shows beginning in December to get you into a holiday mood.

The merriment begins with the presentation of MANHEIM STEAMROLLER BY CHIP DAVIS sponsored by Savings Bank of Danbury on Sunday December 4, has been America’s favorite holiday tradition for the past 30 years! Grammy Award-winner Chip Davis has created a show that features the beloved Christmas music of Mannheim Steamroller along with dazzling multimedia effects performed in an intimate setting. The group’s holiday CDs have become synonymous with Christmas and continue to occupy top spots on Billboard’s Seasonal Charts every year. Experience the magic as the spirit of the season comes alive with the signature sound of Mannheim Steamroller!

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On December 16 usher in the spirit of the holiday season with SOULFUL SOUNDS OF CHRISTMAS featuring WILL DOWNING & NAJEE presented by ACT Jams Productions. With a career that spans over 27 years and 18 albums, Will Downing is one of the most versatile and loved voices of our time. His repertoire consists of signature interpretations of R&B classics like “I Go Crazy,” “Wishing On A Star” and “I Try,” with original hits “A Million Ways,” “Sorry I” and the show-stopping duet with Rachelle Ferrell, “Nothing Has Ever Felt Like This.” His distinctive baritone voice has resonated in the hearts of women world-wide and carved a unique niche in the music marketplace.

Two-time Grammy nominated saxophonist and flautist, Najee has made a career following his heart and keen musical intuition by pushing musical boundaries, all of which have made him an international pioneer in the music industry. Having collaborated with everyone in the music business from Prince and Quincy Jones to Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan and Herbie Hancock, Najee’s technical agility, grace, compositional prowess, unbridled passion and fearless genre bending have made him one of the most sought after musicians of his generation. With two Platinum and four Gold albums under his belt, Najee is an icon whose musical vision spawned an entire new genre by fusing the music close to his heart.

Following the concert, guests are invited to take to the dance floor in the orchestra lobby for an Old School Holiday Dance Party featuring everyone’s favorite R&B, funk, house and holiday classics spun by the evening’s host, Al “DJ ACT” Taylor from 94.3FM WYBC.

December 6 – 11the week-long tour of KINKY BOOTS will make its debt!

Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.palacetheaterct.org, by phone at 203-346-2000, or in person at the Box Office, 100 East Main St.

Holiday Tea and Sale @ Historic Rider House in Danbury

The Danbury Museum & Historical Society will host their 9th Annual Holiday Tea in the Historic Rider House on Friday, December 2 and Saturday, December 3 with seating at 12 noon each day. Reservations are now being taken for this popular holiday event.

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Treat yourself, your Mom, sisters, co-workers, neighbors or best girlfriends to a special afternoon of tea, entertainment and holiday celebration. Chat with costumed museum staff and Friends of the DMHS about tea customs, and take time to shop at our Holiday Shoppe & Craft Fair and museum gift shop.

The cost for the tea is $25 per person and includes a selection of fine teas, sandwiches, savories and sweets. Space is limited and reservations are required. Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.danburymuseum.org or make your reservation today by calling 203.743.5200 or email info@danburymuseum.org

The annual Holiday Shoppe & Craft Fair opens on Saturday, November 26th and runs through Friday, December 23th . You’ll find unique, handcrafted items from dozens of regional artisans and the museum gift shop will be open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Admission is free.
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Westport’s 30th annual holiday house tour and soiree Dec. 3 & 4

This year marks the 30th Anniversary Holiday House Tour which has become a highly anticipated December tradition for many visitors and residents alike. This year’s holiday house tour is taking place on December 4 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature six historic houses all built before 1850, in addition to the Adams Academy, Westport’s first school. All the homes and the school will be festooned with festive seasonal décor.

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To recognize this special 30th anniversary, each home was carefully selected for its architectural merit and interesting stories. Each house has been preserved to retain its period style facing the street, while the backs have been ” blown out” to create kitchens and living spaces that modern families require. Careful attention has also been paid to preserving and recreating authentic dry stack stonewalls.

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Some highlights include:
• A major museum-quality restoration of a c. 1760 house in the Kings Highway North Historic District. Its owner will provide fascinating insights into its history and the restoration process.
• A house noted for its seven hearths all of which will be ablaze on the tour day and features a mystery mural in the stairway.
• The former residence of H. Daniel Webster who designed the Minuteman Monument at Compo; an expanded renovation that includes a tavern room;
• The circa 1700 John Platt House documented as one of the oldest houses in Westport
• The Adams Academy, Westport’s one-room schoolhouse.
• A home featured on this tour 25 years ago that is proposed to be part of the newly designated National Register Historic District on Bridge Street. Let’s see if anyone recalls it from that tour!

The Soiree will be held at the beautiful Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum, in Norwalk on Saturday, December 3, from 6 pm -9 pm. On view will be six beautiful homes on the house tour plus the Adams Academy, Westport’s first one- room schoolhouse!

For ticket information visit http://westporthistory.org. To sign up for our monthly newsletter go to www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

Take a Turn Around Bristol: A Holiday Progressive Dinner

Three museums in Bristol have teamed up to offer a unique way to celebrate the holidays this year with the first ever “progressive dinner on Friday, December 9 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The evening begins at at 5:30 p.m. with playful hors d’oeuvres served at the Imagine Nation located on One Pleasant Street. The Imagination Nation Museum is dedicated to inspire young children and families to investigate tangible, interactive learning experiences.

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The next stop is the Carousel Museum for a buffet dinner with all the trappings in the Museum’s elegant ballroom replete with chandeliers and twinle lights. Guests will enjoy dining amid carousel horses that are on display here amid festive holiday decorations. The Carousel Museum is located in a beautifully renovated hosiery factory that dates to 1837 and houses one of the largest collections of antique carousel horses in the U.S. The Carousel Museum is located on 95 Riverside Avenue.

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The evening will “wind-up” at the American Clock and Watch Museum located on 100 Maple Street. Guests will be in for a sweet time while enjoying coffee and dessert. This museum is one of the few museum’s in the country dedicated solely to horology which is the history, science and art of timekeeping and timekeepers.

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At each location, guests will enjoy drinks and music while viewing the museums galleries. Tickets are $50 per person and proceeds from this event will benefit the educational programming of the three museums.

Tickets are available to purchase at all three museums and reservations are needed by December 5, 2016 to hold your place. Call 860-585-5411 to make your reservation. Or purchase tickets online.

Keeler Tavern hosts holiday luncheons and boutique

Ridgefield’s Christmas Luncheons and Holiday Boutique at the historic Keeler Tavern Museum have become a holiday tradition. Keeler Tavern is located in the heart of Ridgefield on 132 Main Street.

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Guests dine in the festively decorated Garden House overlooking the brick walled Garden designed by American architect Cass Gilbert which is lovely, even in December and especially with a dusting of light snow. The luncheons will be held this year from Tuesday, December 6th to Saturday, December 10th.

There will be two seating’s each day at 11:30 AM and 1:15 PM. The cost will be $25 per person by prepaid reservation. Guests will be invited to visit the seasonally decorated rooms of the Tavern Building.

If making a reservation for more than one person, please list the names of other members of your group. Reservations and payment may be made securely on line at keelertavernmuseum.org or by calling the Museum and paying by charge card or by mailing a check directly to the Keeler Tavern Museum. For further information or the menu to be served call the Museum at 203-438-5485.

Holiday Boutique

The Holiday Boutique in the Gilbert Dining Room and Museum Gift Shop will be overflowing with gifts for everyone and every occasion. A new selection of Christmas ornaments, unique decorations of the season, gifts for children and adults will fill the area. These unusual gifts will make filling your gift giving needs easy. The gift shop will be open from 10:30 AM to 4 PM November 28 through December 21, 2016. In addition it will be open Sunday, December 9th from 1 PM – 4 PM. During these days, talented crafters will bring products that will enrich the variety of gifts available. And, don’t forget to buy a gift for yourself.

For a monthly newsletter on Litchfield Hills and Fairfield County www.litchfieldhills.com