Heirloom Tomato Festival @ White Silo Farms

Heirloom Tomato Festival The White Silo Farm & Winery located on 32 Rte. 37 East in Sherman is hosting their 2nd annual heirloom tomato festival on Saturday, August 31st, and Sunday, September 1st, 12-5 PM both days.

The tomato festival will feature six small plates of food prepared with their farm-grown heirloom tomatoes. The menu includes: Virgin Bloody Mary served with a mini grill cheese and pickles, sliced tomato and cucumbers, marinated cherry tomato salad, quinoa, and feta stuffed tomatoes, home-made ketchup and baked parmesan steak fries, and fresh tomato sauce and sausage and pasta.

Reservations are not required, and admission is free. Wine and food purchased for a fee. Live music Saturday, 1-4:30 PM with Potter’s Field and Sunday, 1–4:30 PM with Sherman’s own Don Lowe. Free winery and field tours will be held throughout the day. Pets and children are welcome to join their parents.

Harvest Fun @ Country Fairs in Litchfield Hills

”Tis the season. In Connecticut’s rural Litchfield Hills, harvest time means the region’s favorite end-of-summer celebrations, old-fashioned country fairs. On weekends from late August to mid-October, these much-loved traditional events will feature farm shenanigans from racing pigs to tractor pull competitions, competition for blue ribbons for prize animals and crops, midway rides, non-stop entertainment and plenty of good food.

All the fairs include judging of prize sheep, cows, pigs and goats, a rare chance for city and suburban youngsters to see fine farm animals close-up. Many of these events have been attracting families for generations. The Goshen Fair has been a tradition for over 107 years, the Bethlehem Fair has been offering up family fun for 94 years the Riverton Fair dates back to 1909, and the granddaddy of them all, the Harwinton Fair, is past its 160th birthday.

Almost every fair offers tractor pulls and lumberjack contests that send chips flying, but each event also has its own unique attractions. Fair-goers in Bethlehem can see wood chopping contests, antique tractor pulls, horse shows and even a Hollerin Contest! Goshen’s antique barn is a perennial draw for its demonstrations of handcrafts such as quilting, weaving, and basketry. Special contests at the Goshen Fair include a frozen t-shirt contest, hay bale toss, pie-eating contest, and skillet throw contest! The last major fair of the season, the Harwinton Fair is known for its country store and working blacksmith shop. The Riverton Fair, now in its 109 -year has a pie-eating contest and women’s skillet throw, lumberjack competition, rides and several drawings that include a bicycle and a Hitchcock Chair.

Litchfield Hills Country Fair Schedule
Goshen Fair August 31 – Sept. 2, Bethlehem Fair September 6-8, the Harwinton Fair October 4-6, and the Riverton Fair, October 11-13.

Questions of Travel – Sherman Chamber Ensemble Aug. 30 & 31

The Sherman Chamber Ensemble expanded its horizons this summer playing to audiences in Litchfield and Amenia in addition to multiple venues in Kent and Sherman. So it’s entirely fitting that its final classical performance of the Summer Season is entitled Questions of Travel.

Performances on Labor Day weekend begin at 8 pm and take place on Friday, August 30 at St. Andrews Church in Kent and Saturday, August 31 at The Lake Mauweehoo Clubhouse in Sherman.

The program includes Mendelssohn’s Venetian Boat Song, female composer Edith Hemenway’s Questions of Travel for flute, piano and cello, and English composer Sir Edward Elgar’s Quintet for Piano and Strings, in A minor, Op. 84, written in the tradition of the great piano quintets of Brahms, Dvorak, Franck, Schubert and Schumann and a grand and magnificent ode to nature.

The program is a musical journey to Mexico, Venice, Scandinavia, America and England. Pianist Margaret Kampmeier joins Susan Rotholz (flute), Jill Levy (violin), Paul Woodiel (violin), Sarah Adams (viola), and Artistic Director Eliot Bailen (cello).

A “Meet and Greet the Artists” reception will follow the performances.

Also on Labor Day weekend the Ensemble presents its annual free Bluegrass Jamboree – Saturday, August 31 at 2 pm at the Lake Mauweehoo Club and Sunday, September 1 at the Kent Barns under the tree.

General Admission to the concerts is $30. Senior and Student admission is $25. Children 15 and under receive free admission when accompanied by an adult purchasing a regular admission ticket. Tickets may be purchased at ShermanChamberEnsemble.org or by calling 860-355-5930. Tickets may also be purchased at the door subject to availability.

The Sherman Chamber Ensemble was founded in 1982 to bring world-class live classical music performance to Western Connecticut and nearby New York State. Its summer chamber music series has been described in The New York Times as “about as close as it gets to the Platonic ideal of a chamber music concert.” Additional events coming later this year include Labor Day weekend bluegrass jamborees; the annual “Live at the Lake” coffeehouse; and Thanksgiving weekend classical-jazz matinee performances.

Clambake & A Special Behind the Scenes Tour Institute for American Indian Studies Sept. 7

Each September the Institute for American Indian Studies hosts a clambake, this year it is on Sept. 7th. A new highlight of this year’s clambake is a very special behind the scenes tour at the museum. On this exclusive occasion, guests will join collection staff members for a memorable visit into the depths of the Institute’s vault for an intimate view and discussion of some of the rarely seen objects in the museum’s extensive collection. This special experience gives participants a sneak peek not only at lesser-seen objects but also an idea of how these objects are carefully stored and cataloged. Visitors will enter the world of archeology and learn how objects tell the story of different indigenous cultures and how they lived.

Another highlight of this special tour is the chance to meet the members of the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers that will be performing at the clambake. This is a special opportunity to discuss the importance of dancing, regalia, and music to indigenous peoples with members of this highly esteemed dance troupe. The Thunderbirds were founded in 1963 to keep alive the traditions, songs, and dances that would have otherwise been lost. This one of a kind backstory tour experience is an additional $50 per person. The proceeds from this one of a kind tour will go toward the reconstruction of the Algonkian Village at the museum.

This year, the Institute for American Indian Studies clambake will be held on September 7 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the River Walk Pavilion, on 11a School Street in Washington Depot, Connecticut.

A highlight of this clambake is a performance by the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, the oldest resident Native American dance company in New York formed in 1963. The Thunderbirds have toured across the United States, and in Japan, Canada, and Israel bringing a greater understanding of American Indian people through dance.

The cost of this traditional clambake is $50 per person; please call the museum, 860-868-0518 or email general@iaismuseum.org by September 6 to reserve your spot.

This annual event is held every September to honor the Founders of the Institute for American Indian Studies and to celebrate Connecticut’s indigenous people and the bounty harvested from Connecticut’s waterways.

New Saturday Night Sunset Cruises Offered by the Seaport Association

While many enjoy the summer and early autumn sunset from the shoreline, there is something very special about seeing the sunset on the water where the horizon seems endless. The Seaport Association has long offered Friday evening cruises, and, new this year, they are also offering sunset cruises on Saturday nights.

The Seaport Association’s vessel is roomy and comfortable with plenty of space for passengers to unwind as they glide through the historic Norwalk Harbor and catch glimpses of sea life, birds, and the necklace of islands in Long Island Sound. Passengers are encouraged to BYOB and snacks, making this cruise the perfect way to end the workweek.

The sunset cruise is also ideal for a romantic night out. There is nothing more relaxing – and romantic than watching the sun dip beyond the horizon while gazing at the beautiful Connecticut coastline with a glass of wine or Champagne in hand and the sea breeze in your hair. This on the water excursion is the perfect way to step away from the hustle and bustle you find on land and enjoy a picture-perfect sunset…on the water.

Friday night cruise dates are Friday, August 23 and 30, and September 13 and 20. For Friday night cruise tickets click here. The Saturday night cruises are offered on August 31, and September 14, 21, and 28. For Saturday Night tickets click here. The boat departs Norwalk Harbor at 6:30 p.m. for a two-hour cruise.

*New* @ Chowdafest Save the Date Oct. 6

Not just any restaurant can enter the New England Chowdafest, only those who are invited. “About six years ago, chowder lovers started telling us that Chowdafest was the best such competition in New England,” said executive director, Jim Keenan. “We knew what they meant but it made us wonder how we could be the best if the rest of New England wasn’t in the competition. Soon after that we started searching for great chowder, soup, and bisque from restaurants from all over New England.”

Restaurants frequently ask to compete in Chowdafest and Keenan is happy to consider them after he’s samples what they want to enter. “Just having a good chowder doesn’t mean it’s good enough to be invited. As a rule, we don’t invite anyone if we don’t think they can win one of our four categories. One of our competing restaurants who literally travels all over the country participating in chowder events probably says it best, “when you win the New England Chowdafest, you’ve earned it”. ‘”Every year the bar is raised and the level of completion gets better and better”.
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About 50% of those invited this year are new to Chowdafest and joined by those chefs & restaurants who have already distinguished themselves in prior years. “I call it the hunt for next October” said Keenan as he explained the annual event is usually held on the first Sunday in October. The hunt includes those who have won local events or received great press but he puts an emphasis on word of mouth Keenan says. “When we hear people tell us about great restaurants, we listen. Foodies know what they are talking about. It’s why Chowdafest is a true people’s choice event and why they determine our winners. We don’t have celebrities or trained pallets determining who is best. It’s people who love chowder and soup, just like you and me”.

Keenan’s search covers all six New England states but 80% of the competition he says comes from Connecticut. “Connecticut is spoiled” said Keenan amusingly. “So many great chefs call it home”. The incredible concentration of culinary talent in Connecticut lead this annual event being held at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport. People travel from all over the country to Connecticut to determine the best chowder, soup & bisque in New England. Chowdafest has made Connecticut the chowder capital of New England. To reinforce this distinction, the state includes a Chowdafest Cafe in their Connecticut building at the Big E, the fifth largest state fair in the U.S. Over 1.6 million people visit the building and can purchase a cup of great chowder, soup & bisque, just a small example of what they can try at Chowdafest in October.

This year, restaurants from New Canaan CT (Gates), Danbury (21 Lake Restaurant), Redding (Redding Roadhouse), Georgetown (Milestone), New Hartford (BLT), Old Saybrook (Saybrook Soup & Sandwich Co. and Penny Lane Pub), Ansonia (Crave 102) and Westrook (Braise & Brew) are among towns represented in the New England wide competition for the first time. “You never know where you’ll find a great chowder or soup” said Keenan. “I think everyone will be more than impressed with this year’s line-up”.

Chowdafest, presented by Stop & Shop, will be held on Sunday October 6th at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport. CT The event benefits Food Rescue US in the ongoing fight against food insecurity. Over 2 million meals have been funded through Chowdafest in the past 4 years. For additional information about Chowdafest, please visit http://www.chowdafest.org or email event director, Jim Keenan at chowdafest@gmail.com.

Chowdafest is presented by Stop & Shop and sponsored by Cabot Creamery Co-operative, Chabaso Bakery, Chica de Gallo, City Carting, CT Bites, Copp’s Island Oysters, Dave’s Planet Pizza, Eight O’Clock Coffee, Even Hotels, Foods of the Vine, Hood Cream, Local Food Rocks, Lowe’s, Lucy’s, Michele’s Pies, Mi Nina Tortilla, MINI of Fairfield County, Natalie’s Juices, New England Dairy Council, People’s United Bank, Polar Beverages, PKF O’Connor Davies, Silly Cow Farms, Tetley Tea, Toast, Wades Dairy, WEBE 108 and Westminster Crackers.