A Time For Storytelling at Institute for American Indian Studies November 24

Outdoor Village at IAIS

According to Native American lore, the art of telling stories is an important apect of culture heritage and sharing from one generation to another. Janis, a US, Mohawk-Shinnecock descent notes from “Four Hearts Whispering”, “”We tell our stories to entertain, but they do much more than that. They teach life’s important lessons — to young and old alike. Stories can explain the natural world around us and connect us to our past”

On Saturday, November 24 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. families are invited to share in a Native American cultural experience at the Indian Institue for American Studies on 38 Curtis Road in Washington Connecticut.

It is said that in New England Native American life, stories are traditionally told as the days grow shorter and the winds blow colder. During this special time of year, participants are invited to gather with storyteller, Four Hearts Whispering at the ndian Institue for American Studies and enjoy her delightful and heartwarming traditional Native American stories. There will be a short intermission break where children will be invited to participate in a simple craft.

Please call (860) 868-0518 for reservations. Fee: $5 Adults; $6 Kids. For information visit http://www.iaismuseum.org. For area information visit http://www.litchfieldhills.com

About the Indian Institue for American Studies

Located in Washington, Connecticut, the Institute for American Indian Studies (IAIS) – formerly the American Indian Archaeological Institute (AIAI) – was incorporated in 1975 as an outgrowth of local efforts to recover New England’s then-largely-unknown indigenous history. IAIS is a 501(c)3 museum and research center founded by Edmund “Ned” Swigart and Sidney Hessel. In the early 1970s volunteers of all ages joined Ned – an instructor at the Gunnery School and head of the Wappinger Chapter of the Connecticut Archaeological Society – to dig in and around Washington. A multitude of discoveries pointed to extensive native settlements and soon the back room of the Gunn Historical Museum overflowed with artifacts and field notes in need of analysis. Volunteer archaeologists joined forces with volunteer fundraisers and the American Indian Archaeological Institute opened on July 1, 1975.

Since 1975, AIAI – and later, IAIS – has surveyed or excavated over 500 sites, including the remarkable discovery of a 10,000-year-old camp site, the earliest known archaeological site in Connecticut. But archaeology is about so much more than excavating sites or collecting stone tools; it is about people. Through archaeology, we are able to build new understandings of the world and history of Native Americans. This history echoes throughout all history and informs us in the present. With full awareness of the importance of keeping this knowledge alive, the focus of the Institute has always been stewardship and preservation. In 1991, our name was changed to the Institute for American Indian Studies and there was a shift in focus to include education in conjunction with research. Today, in addition to special events and workshops, IAIS also houses a knowledgeable Education Department, dedicated to developing and providing in-depth and exciting programs for students of all ages. Schools from throughout the region take advantage of the Institute’s on-site facilities, while schools from across the country contact IAIS looking for reliable and accurate information.

IAIS continues to be a membership organization. In addition to annual support from members, IAIS reaches out to foundations and corporations for grant and funding opportunities. This year, more than 10,000 people visited us and another 15,000 students participated in our education programs. We offer workshops, films and lectures throughout the year. The Litchfield Hills Archaeology Club, under the direction of IAIS’s Director of Research and Collections, Dr. Lucianne Lavin, offers a summer excavation of a village dating back over 4,000 years, as well as a lecture series during the winter months. Our Museum Shop, which is an integral part of the museum, is always stocked with Native American gifts and crafts from across North America.

A respect for the earth and for all living things is central to Native American lifeways and this is reflected throughout our museum, which is nestled in 15 acres of woodlands and trails. Outdoors we have created a Simulated Archaeological Site, Three Sisters and Healing Plants Gardens, as well as a replicated 16th century Algonkian Village. The village is based upon traditional knowledge and archaeological research and is built from local natural materials. Self-guided trails let visitors explore the seasonal world of Woodland Indian peoples. Inside, our museum exhibits present information on a spectrum of topics related to the lives and cultures of prehistoric, historic and contemporary Native Americans. Permanent exhibits include Quinnetukut: Our Homeland, Our Story; From East To West: Across Our Homelands; Digging into the Past: Archaeology in Connecticut; a Sachem’s wigwam (longhouse) classroom with a beautifully painted lifeways mural; and a replicated early-1900s Northeastern reservation house room. Changing exhibits and the shop’s Artist’s Corner give visitors a reason to come back again and again. IAIS is open seven days a week year-round. Something exciting and different is always happening here. It is a place of discovery…a place to return to.

Sharon Audubon Enchanted Forest and Kids’ Day Oct. 20 & 28

The Enchanted Forest…meet a Bear….

Family fun is in the works at the Sharon Audubon Center the last two weekends in October. Both events are “non scary” and geared toward families with children pre-K through 2nd grade.

The Audubon’s popular Enchanted Forest will be held on Saturday, October 20th. Guided groups will meet friendly costumed animal characters along a candlelit trail and hear how the animals live their lives on the Audubon grounds. After the tour, which lasts approximately 45 minutes, participants can enjoy a cup of hot chocolate inside the Center building before taking a hayride back to the parking area. This non-scary program is ideal for children up to 8 years old and their families. Tours begin every 10-15 minutes between the hours of 6:00 and 8:00pm. Participants should bring an extra flashlight. Admission is $4 per person. Children under 2 are free.

Kids Day at the Sharon Audubon Center

Audubon Kids’ Day is taking place on Sunday, October 28th from 12-3pm. This is a fun, autumn afternoon for young children and their families and features brand new carnival-type games for 2012, kids’ crafts, live animals from “The Nature of Things,” a haybale maze, haywagon rides, professional face painting with glitter tattoos and food. Children are encouraged to come in costume and join in the costume parade around the Center grounds at 2:30. The event is held rain or shine. Admission is $7.00 per carload.

The Sharon Audubon Center is located on Route 4 in Sharon, for more information, contact the Audubon Center at (860) 364-0520 or visit http://sharon.audubon.org.

Meerkats” And “Africa” Exhibits Extended Into 2013

Amazing Meercats Extend their Stay

Visitors to The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk are getting more chances to be entertained and fascinated by a special collection of exotic African creatures, including six amusing meerkats.

The special exhibit “Africa: From the Desert to the Sea” will stay open for another five months, through Jan. 20, 2013. And its companion exhibit, “Meerkats,” has been extended through Labor Day 2013. Previously, both had been scheduled to close after this Labor Day (Sept. 3).

The meerkats are very popular with visitors young and old to the Aquarium. The extention of ‘Africa’ through the holidays and into the new year allows the Aquarium the necessary time to prepare for their next special exhibit.

Meerkats (Suricata suricatta) are members of the mongoose family that live in social “mobs” in the Kalahari Desert, in the southern African nations of Botswana and South Africa. (Timon, the comical sidekick in Disney’s “The Lion King,” is a meerkat.)

The Maritime Aquarium’s “Meerkats” exhibit features six sibling meerkats – three males, three females – born in July 2009 at the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, Utah. Their Aquarium exhibit offers lots of opportunities for climbing, digging and exploring. For young Aquarium visitors, a special viewing bubble lets children pop up right among the meerkats.

The animals are so popular that the Aquarium installed a “meerkat cam,” for visitors who want to check up on the animals’ activities remotely. (Click on it at www.maritimeaquarium.org.)

The “Africa: From the Desert to the Sea” exhibit displays some of the fascinating but lesser-known aquatic creatures of Africa, including lungfish, electric catfish and colorful cichlids and reef fish.

Both special exhibits are free with Maritime Aquarium general admission, which is $13.95 for adults, $12.95 for seniors 65+, and $10.50 for children 2-12.

A new special exhibit, “Dangerous Creatures,” is scheduled to open on Feb. 16 in the space currently occupied by “Africa: From the Desert to the Sea.”

For more information about The Maritime Aquarium’s exhibits, IMAX movies and programs, go online to www.MaritimeAquarium.org or call (203) 852-0700.

Bruce Museum’s 31st Annual Outdoor Arts Festival Saturday and Sunday, October 6 and 7, 10 am to 5 pm

10 Savrda

The Bruce Museum’s 31st Annual Outdoor Arts Festival takes place rain or shine on the grounds of the Museum on Columbus Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, October 6 and 7, from 10 am to 5 pm. The Festival is a juried event featuring more than 85 artists selected from across the country. Paintings, photography, drawings, prints, sculptures, and mixed media pieces are all available for purchase. The Festival also includes live music on both days as well as many fun, educational family activities, and a variety of food choices.

On Saturday, live performances include the dance-inducing rhythms and sultry harmonies of the Connecticut-based band The Juicy Grapes from noon to 4 p.m. and, at 2 p.m., an oil pastel demonstration by Carol Boucher on the front steps of the Museum.

On Sunday, world-class instructors from Dance With Me Stamford, part of the chain of ballroom dance studios that are home to ABC’s Dancing with the Stars professionals Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Tony Dovolani, will teach a dance class and give a dazzling ballroom performance in the Lecture Gallery from noon to 2:00 p.m., and Carol Boucher will repeat her oil pastel demonstration at 2 p.m.

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Exhibitors compete for cash prizes in six categories: oils and acrylic on canvas; watercolor and acrylic on paper and under glass; graphics and drawings; mixed media; sculpture; and photography. In addition to individual category prizes, there are two major awards given: “Museum’s Choice Award” and the top prize of “Best in Show.” One of the Bruce’s most popular events, the event annually draws thousands of visitors.

The Bruce Museum is open during Festival hours and will feature new exhibitions highlighting the sculpture of Gaston Lachaise, recent gifts to its collection, and desert habitats.

Festival admission is $8 and includes general admission to the Bruce Museum. Admission is free to members and children under 5. The Bruce Museum is located at One Museum Drive in Greenwich, Connecticut. The Museum will be open for the Festival from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday. The Museum galleries will also be open for the Monday Columbus Day holiday. Festival parking is available in the Island Beach parking lot at Arch Street and Steamboat Road. The Museum is accessible to individuals with disabilities. For additional information, call the Bruce Museum at (203) 869-0376 or visit the website at http://www.brucemuseum.org.

Flea Market at Lockwood Mathews Mansion

Lockwood Mathews Mansion Flea Market

On Sunday, September 23, 2012, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum will hold its fifth annual Old-fashioned Flea Market at 295 West Avenue in Norwalk.

The Old Fashioned Flea Market at the Mansion attracts thousands of like-minded shoppers every year looking for special bargains to treasure, and with over 80 vendors this year, the park surrounding the museum will be overflowing with an eclectic mix of old and new merchandise including antiques, repurposed furniture, collectibles, vintage jewelry, household items, clothing, toys and more. General admission to the event is free.

The Flea Market will also feature a concert with the Bob Lasprogato Dixieland Band, a display of antique and classic cars, half price $5 mini tours of the Mansion, face-painting, and much more. An all-American barbecue featuring hot dogs, hamburgers and pulled pork sandwiches courtesy of Michael Gilmartin of Outdoor Cookers will be available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Museum’s Gift Shop will be open during the event and feature new Fall-Holiday merchandise and a broad selection of gift ideas including vintage costume jewelry, Titanic-related material, porcelain tea cups, books on Victorian era art and architecture, local history, and more. All proceeds will benefit the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum.

For details on the full Flea Market schedule please visit www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com.

Norwalk Oyster Festival Sept. 7-9

Lobsterman. Photo credit: Kersten Schriel, Shadow Lounge Productions.

Fun for families and friends from nine to ninety, the 35th annual Norwalk Seaport Association Oyster Festival will be held this year from Friday, September 7 through Sunday, September 9. This year’s entertainment highlights include music from nationally known-bands such as: The Rising on Friday, Village People on Saturday and Lou Gramm on Sunday. Festivalgoers will enjoy a wide variety of rides, cooking competitions, arts and crafts and a diverse assortment of attractions and entertainment that promise unforgettable fun.

New this year the festival will feature the action packed Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Festival that will feature world champion lumberjacks demonstrating their log rolling, axe throwing, chopping, sawing, tree climbing and dragster chainsaw skills. Another new event venue will offer hands on interactive race-themed attractions by nationally recognized Fast Action Motorsports Entertainment. These dynamic additions to the Oyster Festival are awe inspiring and unforgettable.

For the Kids

The festival’s Pirates Coast Adventure will wow children of all ages. Here, kids can meet real life pirates and look for booty in treasure hunts, hear storytelling and join in other fun-filled activities. The Kids’ Cove includes games, rides and entertainment. This interactive pirate encampment gives kids a taste of what seafaring was like during the golden age of piracy from 1650-1750. In addition, there will be an action-packed performance by Marvel Super Heroes.

Sunday is Family Day with special family and children’s packages for entrance, rides and meals. The perk of family day on Sunday is that one child under 12 gets in free with each adult paid admission and for a mere $15 can ride all the amusement rides free from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. To round out the family fun there will be live shows for kids on the festival’s main stage.

For the Whole Family

The festival offers a wide array of attractions the whole family will enjoy, including continuous entertainment by local musicians and national acts. A long tradition of the festival is the multitude of fine artists and crafters display whimsical as well as practical items that appeal to all tastes, budgets and ages. For on the water fun, head to the festival docks to tour historic vessels and to cruise the scenic and historic Norwalk Harbor.

For the Foodies

Food demonstrations and competitions, including the always-popular chowder and chili cook-offs will take place. A long awaited treat of the Festival is the wide variety of great food from around the world that is available at the International Food Court. This culinary fare is prepared by dozens of local nonprofit organizations allowing them to raise vital funds for their charitable causes. At the Oyster Pavilion, learn about Norwalk’s oystering history while watching slurping and shucking contests.

The event is held at Veteran’s Park, adjacent to Norwalk Harbor on Seaview Avenue in Norwalk, CT. Admission for adults is $5 on Friday, $12 on Saturday and Sunday. Senior tickets are $10 all days. Children 5-12 year’s old are $5. Children under 5 and U.S. military personnel on active duty are free. Sunday is Family Day with special pricing on that day only — 1 child (age 5-12) free with each paid adult admission. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.seaport.org. Free Parking and Free Shuttle Bus service is provided from four (4) local parking lots, just follow the signs to Oyster Festival Parking.

Festivalgoers can save on admission and rail fare when they purchase the Metro-North Railroad/Norwalk Seaport Association Oyster Festival discount package. Packages are available at all ticket offices and ticket machines (except South Norwalk Station) or by visiting http://www.mta.info/mnr/html/getaways/outbound_oyster_fest.htm

About the Norwalk Seaport Association
The Norwalk Seaport Association was founded in 1978 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation, education and public awareness of Norwalk’s maritime environment and heritage. The Seaport Association and its volunteers are solely responsible for organizing and financing the Oyster Festival. In addition to the Oyster Festival, the Norwalk Seaport Association owns Sheffield Lighthouse and its volunteers maintain the lighthouse and grounds as a museum and nature preserve. For more information, visit http://www.seaport.org. or call (203) 838-9444.

Area Information:
For further information on Fairfield County and other area activities visit http://www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com or call 800-6631273 for a free Fairfield County brochure.