Watch Future Olympians Soar in Salisbury’s 94th Annual JumpFest February 7,8, and 9, 2020

This will be the 94th year when ski jumpers and lovers of winter sports converge in Salisbury at Connecticut’s signature winter event, JumpFest. Ski jumping was introduced to this bucolic town in 1926 when a Norwegian farmer, Mr. Satre sailed off his barn; making ski jumping a winter tradition here ever since. This year, JumpFest is taking place on February 7, 8, and 9, 2020, at Satre Hill on Indian Cave Road in Salisbury. For updates and more information click here or info@jumpfest.org or www.jumpfest.org.

There are only a half a dozen ski jump facilities on the East Coast, with JumpFest being the southernmost location. Some of the best athletes will be here competing in an event that has launched many Olympians. As a matter of fact, three of the four men that participated in the Olympics at Sochi had something in common, they were all from the east coast, and they all participated at JumpFest.

For the Tri-State area and beyond, JumpFest offers a very special opportunity to watch these graceful athletes fly through the air — up close! The anticipation of watching competitors travel up to 200 feet through the air at more than fifty miles an hour and, guessing who is the fastest — and highest in real-time — is an unforgettable experience. It is so much fun to be part of the excitement! The crowds’ ring cowbells to cheer on their favorites and the jumpers take notice. The excitement reaches a crescendo when the slap of skis hits snow in a smooth landing with everyone hoping that this jump beats the Salisbury record, an impressive 231-foot jump.

Festival Schedule
JumpFest kicks off on Friday, February 7 at 6 p.m. with Target Jumping beginning at 7 p.m. Target Jumping is followed by the infamously fun Human Dog Sled Race, a crowd favorite that begins between 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Teams of six participate, five pulling the sled and one riding. The sleds and costumes, of course, boggle the imagination! Trophies are awarded for the best in men’s women’s, mixed categories. Competitors navigate a .3-mile course through the snow. It’s all in fun, and teams can get very creative with both their costumes and sleds. Two large bonfires and warm food and beverages are available.

On Saturday, February 8, things warm up with a Junior Meet that is followed by the practice of participating jumpers from 11 a.m. to 12 noon. The Junior 20 to 30-meter competition begins at 1 p.m. It is thrilling to watch these Olympians in the making defy gravity and soar through the air with runs of 65 to 98 feet. Another tradition is the Snow Ball Dance taking place at the White Hart Inn with entertainment by the Steve Dunn Band. This is the perfect time to mingle with fellow sports lovers, bid at the silent auction, and take a chance on a raffle ticket that benefits the Salisbury Winter Sports Associations (SWSA) programs. The admission to the Snow Ball Dance is $15. The highly anticipated Eastern U.S. Ski Jumping Championships on Sunday, February 9 begins with practice at 11 a.m.; the competition begins at 1 pm. At this event, there are often Olympic hopefuls that display the tremendous coordination, skill, and grace that have what it takes to soar so far and so high with a smooth and successful landing. Make ski jumping history and be there to see if the Salisbury record is broken – perhaps a new contender for the Olympics! Even the most sedentary spectators will appreciate the extraordinary coordination and skill required to make this jump! Judging from past history, some of the competitors here will go on to the Olympics.

Details and More
Coffee, food, and hot chocolate will be available at all events. As this is an outdoor event, and it is winter, please dress warm – don’t forget your cowbell and cellphone for great photo opportunities! On Friday, February 7, the event ticket booth opens at 6 p.m. and admission is $15; on Saturday, February 8, the event opens at 10 a.m. and tickets are $15, on February 9 the event opens at 11 a.m. and tickets are $15. The Snow Ball Dance is $15 at the door. The Human Dog Sled Race entry is $25 on Friday, February 7 with the downloaded pdf.

Between events, there will be plenty of time to explore the charming town of Salisbury with its many intriguing shops and restaurants all within walking distance of Jumpfest. A highlight is an art show, The Wonders of Winter hosted by the Salisbury Association that includes art by 34 national and international artists showcasing sixty works of art in six locations including William Pitt/Sotheby’s International Realty, Sweet William’s Coffee Shop & Bakery and the White Hart Inn, all within walking distance of each other on Main Street, Salisbury. Many of the paintings are on sale with a portion of the profits going to the Salisbury Winter Sports Association youth skiing programs and ongoing facility improvement.

About Salisbury Winter Sports Association (SWSA)

It all began in 1926, when a gentleman named John Satre (Say-tree) showed off the sport he had learned in his native Norway with the unlikely feat of jumping from the roof of a shed while wearing skis. To everyone’s surprise, instead of crashing Satre soared through the air and glided to earth. It looked like fun and by the next summer, several neighbors had gotten together to begin building a proper takeoff and ski run. A former cow pasture became the landing area. On January 29, 1927, the club, the Salisbury Winter Sports Association (SWSA) held its first competition with a crowd of more than 200 spectators. This all-volunteer group has hosted several National Championships and, today continues to maintain Satre Hill, introduces young and old to the sport of ski jumping, and organizes the competitions.

BETHLEHEM (CT) OFFERS A FESTIVE START TO THE HOLIDAY SEASON

They call this little town in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut “Christmas Town” with good reason. Bethlehem’s Christmas Town Festival scheduled for December 6 and 7, celebrates its 39th birthday this year as one of New England’s favorite ways to kick off the season. Wherever you turn, special treats are waiting, from the town green to the post office to the Abbey of Regina Laudis and the 1754 Bellamy-Ferriday House. Some of the unique attractions continue when the festival is over. This year the opening ceremony will feature Honorary Emcee WFSB Ch, 3 news personalities, Irene O’Connor.

Vendors and More On the Green

The quaint town green, centered with a giant tree, is home to over 70 vendors with unique gift items, wreaths and delicious foods for sale. Strolling carolers and musicians help keep things lively, Santa will be waiting at the firehouse to pose for pictures with young friends, and everyone is invited to climb aboard for hayrides offered in front of First Church. Collectors can garner this year’s unique limited edition Christmas Town pewter ornament, sold only during the Festival.

On Saturday there is a 5K, Santa Made Me Do It road race, 2-mile walk and ¼ mile kids fun run at the festival. The five mile race and two-mile walk begin at 10 a.m. and registration is at Town Hall beginning at 8:30 a.m. The free kids ¼ kids Fun Run starts at 9:30 a.m.

Bethlehem’s beautiful eighteenth-century Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden will be festively decorated and open for tours and holiday cheer during festival hours. Guides will offer house tours and there will be hot cider and a scavenger hunt for children. The home is located at 9 Main Street North, information can be found at http://www.ctlandmarks.org

Hours for the Christmas Town Festival are Friday, December 6 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday, December 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, see www.christmastownfestival.com or phone 203-266-7510, ext. 300.
Christmas Town Mailings at the Post Office

The Bethlehem post office is busy in December serving the many who come every year to mail holiday cards with their unique postmarks. Visitors can select favorites among the “Christmas Cachet” designs, hand-stamp and mail these unique greetings to friends and family. The idea of the special stamps dates to 1938, when a local Postmaster, the late Earl Johnson, designed a “cachet,” a special rubber stamp featuring a tree and lettering that said “From the Little Town of Bethlehem, Christmas Greetings.” New cachets have been added almost every year since. Over 83 designs are now available and nearly 200,000 cards are mailed each year from this small post office. Located at 34 East Street, the post office will have extended hours during the festival, Friday, December 6 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Precious Crèches at the Abbey

One of Bethlehem’s not-to-be-missed jewels is open all month for visitors. The museum-quality eighteenth-century Neapolitan crèche on view in a vintage barn at the Abbey of Regina Laudis includes hundreds of beautiful hand-carved figures. Made of wood, terra cotta, and porcelain, the figures portray the Holy Family, angels, the Three Kings, merchants and peddlers, children, peasants and farm animals. This fabulous gift from artist and philanthropist Loretta Hines Howard is similar to the one Howard donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it is prominently displayed every Christmas.

A second Crèche, The Lauren Ford Crèche, created by a favorite Connecticut artist, is displayed in a farm shed near the Lower Abbey Chapel. This charming rustic Nativity scene displays figures of Jesus, Mary and Joseph dressed in typical New England garb.

The Monastic Art Shop on the property offers crafts, cheeses, jams, herbal teas, flavored vinegar, herbs and honey, and all created on-site by Abbey’s residents.

The Abbey of Regina Laudis, located at 249 Flanders Road, is open to visitors daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.abbeyofreginalaudis.org

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo Makes the Holidays Merry and Bright at Breakfast with Frosty and Friends

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo located on 1875 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport, has a longtime family tradition: Breakfast with Frosty! A full buffet breakfast in the Carousel Building includes a visit with Santa and his elf, photo opportunities with Frosty the Snowman, Stripes the Tiger, and Thirsty the Penguin, carousel rides and lots of family fun. These breakfasts sell out every year, but there’s still time for local families from around the region to enjoy the holidays at the Zoo! Pre-Registration is required: https://www.beardsleyzoo.org/breakfast-with-frosty.html

Breakfast with Frosty requires online reservation & pre-payment is required to attend. All days but December 14th are $20 per person for Zoo Members and $25 per person for non-Members. December 14 (Special Activities Day!) prices are $25 for members and $30 for non-members. Children 2 years old and younger are free.

Frosty will be visiting the Zoo on Saturday and Sunday, December 7 and 8, Saturday and Sunday, December 14 and 15 and Saturday and Sunday, December 21 and 22. In addition to Frosty the Snowman, kids will visit with Santa Claus and his Head Elf, Stripes the Tiger, and Thirsty the Penguin

About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

Let your curiosity run wild! Connecticut’s only zoo, celebrating its 97th year, features 300 animals representing primarily North and South American species. Guests won’t want to miss our Amur tigers and leopards, Mexican and Red wolves, and Golden Lion tamarin. Other highlights include our Spider Monkey Habitat, the Natt Family Red Panda Habitat, the prairie dog exhibit with “pop-up” viewing areas, plus the Pampas Plains featuring maned wolves, Chacoan peccaries and Giant anteaters. Guests can grab a bite at the Peacock Café, eat in the Picnic Grove, and enjoy a ride on our colorful, indoor carousel. For more information, visit beardsleyzoo.org.

Images – Jack Bradley

WonderSpark Puppets present The Gingerbread Man

On November 30 from 2 pm to 3 pm the Wilton Historical Society located on 224 Danbury Road is hosting a special puppet show from NY that is noted as the best puppet theatre in NYC from 2 pm to 3 pm.

The show called Run, run as fast as you can can – you can’t catch me I’m the Gingerbread Man is the classic story of a little running cookie – with a Christmas twist. Kids will watch the Gingerbread Man outwit and outrun various hungry animals – and figure out what he really wants for Christmas. During the show, the children will listen, laugh, interact directly with characters, and can ask questions about puppetry and storytelling afterward. This ancient art form engages the imagination and kickstarts a love of theater at an early age. Best of all, you get a theater experience in a historic barn!

After the show, there will be a puppet craft activity. This event is $10 per person and tickets are available online. To get your tickets, click here.

Spooktacular Witch’s Dungeon!

This will be the 55th season for the annual Witch’s Dungeon Halloween Classic Movies Museum in Bristol, the longest-running exhibition of its kind started in 1966. This wax style museum is a tribute to the actors and make-up artists that gave audiences classic movie monsters. A highlight of the event is the guest appearance of Argyle Goolsby (musician Steve Matthews) plus the screening of the Mel Brooks classic movie, Young Frankenstein on real film at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 25.

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 will be shown in the auditorium on “real” film until 10 p.m.

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.

The location for Witches Dungeon is 98 Summer Street in Bristol at the Bristol Historical Society. The hours are weekends in October, Friday through Sunday evenings, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Oct. 25-27 and Oct. 31- Nov. 3. The Museum is not recommended for children under age 7. A $6 donation is suggested. For additional information visit http://www.preservehollywood.org.

Wine and Cheese Market @ Hopkins Vineyard

Hopkins Vineyard overlooking beautiful Lake Waramaug is a perfect spot to visit this autumn. If you are foodies that love wine and cheese, don’t miss the Wine and Cheese Market on October 19 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hopkins Vineyard has teamed up with Jones Winery, Land of Nod Winery, Spring Hill Vineyards and Sunset Meadow Vineyards to host a wine and cheese tasting and market. This event will feature wine from each of the vineyards as well as cheese and food samples from a host of local vendors. Another highlight of this event are the handmade gift items from talented local craftspeople and artisans that will be for sale. If you want a bit more than cheese samples, not to worry, food for purchase will be available from the Clambaking Company. This company specializes in fresh seafood and BBQ, so there will be something to delight every palate.

Hopkins Vineyard is located on 25 Hopkins Road in Warren Connecticut. The tickets for this event are $25 per person and $12 for a designated driver. For tickets click here.

If you miss this event, keep in mind that the picnic area at Hopkins Vineyard is open daily this October. You can either bring your own picnic lunch and pick up a bottle of Hopkins wine from the shop or purchase one of the cheese platters stocked with Arethusa and other gourmet cheeses at the shop.