Native American Ceremony and Dancers Celebrate the New Algonquian Village @ Institute for Native American Studies

The Institute for American Indian Studies on 38 Curtis Road in Washington has good reason to celebrate and you are invited to join the fun at the Algonquian Village Renewal Ceremony on October 12 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

This is your chance to be one of the first people to visit the new revitalized Village consisting of wigwams and a longhouse and, to be part of a special Native American Smudging Ceremony by Darlene Kascak, Schaghticoke. This fascinating ceremony will cleanse the new longhouse and chase away evil spirits in the village. The Thunderbird Dancers, the oldest Native American Dance Company in New York that have performed all over the world will be on hand to perform dances of celebration in the village. This amazing dance troupe keeps alive the traditions, songs, and dances they have learned that would otherwise be lost. For those interested in how the village was actually constructed, Kalin Griffin, IAIS Educator and, primitive technologist will be on hand to talk about the techniques used to reconstruct the village using only stone tools.

Since the 1980s the replicated 16th century outdoor Native American Village at the Institute has been a favorite of visitors, students, teachers, and staff. Walking on a winding forest path leading to the village that was constructed to resemble the way a Native American community in Connecticut would have looked centuries ago is one of the most memorable aspects of a visit to the Institute. Entering the village, visitors feel transported back in time as they explore the longhouse, a cluster of wigwams, shelters, and gardens. One of the most intriguing aspects of the village is that it is made using only trees and bark and other things found in the natural environment using traditional tools and techniques. Today’s visitors to the Institute and those that plan to visit in the future will continue to enjoy this beautiful village and learn about the fascinating culture of the Eastern Woodland Indians.

About The Institute for American Indian Studies

Located on 15 acres of woodland acres the IAIS preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. We have a 16th c. Algonquian Village, Award-Winning Wigwam Escape, and a museum with temporary and permanent displays of authentic artifacts from prehistory to the present that allows visitors to foster a new understanding of the world and the history and culture of Native Americans. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road, Washington, CT.

THREE TOP FALL FESTIVALS LURE FOOD LOVERS TO WESTERN CONNECTICUT

The aroma of steaming chowder, the tantalizing scent of garlic, and the chance to sample the best specialties of Iceland await autumn visitors to Western Connecticut, home to three of the season’s top food festivals.

Chowdafest, New England’s largest cooking competition, will be held at Norwalk’s Calf Pasture Beach on October 12, a new location spacious enough to accommodate the growing fan base, while another popular event, the tenth annual Connecticut Garlic & Harvest Festival takes place October 11-12, 2014 at the Bethlehem Fairgrounds. The following Saturday, October 18, the fifth annual Iceland Affair and Fire and Ice Music Festival once again will bring fans to Winchester, CT. for a rare treat, one of only two such festivals in the United States.

YOU ARE THE JUDGE AT CHOWDAFEST

At this SOUPerbowl of festivals to benefit the Connecticut Food Bank, attendees are the judges as more than two dozen of the regions best restaurants compete in four categories: classic New England Clam Chowder, Traditional Manhattan and Rhode Island chowders, “creative” chowders that might be anything from sweet potato to Cajun shrimp, and bisque soups such as Butternut Squash and Golden Corn. Everyone receives a spoon, pencil and ballot and can sample unlimited chowder and soups, grading entries on a scale from 7 to 10. Winners are announced at the end of the event.

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For tasting variety, samples are offered at the Cheese and Cracker Corner, at ChowdaMex featuring salsas and chips and at a beverage center stocked with beer and wine. The ChowdaKIDS area will provide samples of ice cream and milk as well as free chef hats, coloring books and stickers provided by Stop & Shop, the event sponsor.

Admission is $10 in advance for adults, $15 at the door on October 11. Ages 6 to 12 pay $5, children under 6 are free. Hours are 12 noon to 4 p.m. Proceeds from this food festival to fight hunger have provided over 100,000 meals for the CT Food Bank. For information, see www.chowdafest.org

GARLIC IN ITS GLORY

Foodies flock each year to the Connecticut Garlic & Harvest Festival where they enjoy cooking demonstrations, informative food talks, lessons in growing garlic, plus free samplings of garlic dips, spreads, cheeses and oils from specialty food vendors. Visitors can buy farm-fresh garlic as well as other bounty from the fall harvest. All of that is the warm-up for some serious eating that includes treats like homemade roasted garlic sausage with peppers and onions, garlic marinated steak sandwiches, garlic roast pork sandwiches, deep fried garlic, and even garlic ice cream.

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Live bands add to the festive feel, fine artisans are on hand offering hand made crafts and young visitors will find rides and games to keep them entertained.

The Garlic Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday October 11 and 12
at the Bethlehem Fairgrounds, Route 61 just north of town. Adult admission is $7, under age 12, just $1. Find more details at www.garlicfestct.com

TAKE A TRIP TO ICELAND

One woman’s love affair with Iceland was the spark that began this unusual festival. Gerri Griswold, a former chef and current broadcaster, visited the “land of fire and ice” and fell in love.
She has made over a dozen trips to Iceland since 2002 and in 2009, decided to introduce more Americans to their northern neighbor in what she thought would be a one-time event in her home town. Instead, the Iceland Affair keeps growing. At this year’s fifth edition at Winchester Center’s Grange Hall visitors will hear experts talk about Iceland’s arts and amazing nature, see prize photography of the land’s lavish geysers and waterfalls, and will be able to sample authentic Icelandic foods such as goat sausage, smoked and dried fish, sensational chocolates and licorice, the special local yogurt known as skyr, pure Icelandic water, and what Griswold calls the best hot dogs in the world.

On the Winchester Center Green the public will meet Iceland’s biologically pure animals including Icelandic horses, sheep, sheep dogs, and chickens. The event will be held on October 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All the day’s activities are free.

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At night, the original small concert in a barn has morphed into the Fire & Ice Festival, to be held this year at Infinity Hall in Norfolk at 8 p.m. Those attending will hear a host of top entertainers rarely seen in this country, and, perhaps discover the next Bjork, Iceland’s best known performer in the U.S.. For details on the festival and information on concert tickets, see http://icelandaffair.com or phone 860-307-6144.

For more information about lodging and other activities in the area and a free copy of UNWIND, a full-color, 152-page booklet detailing what to do and see, and where to stay, shop and dine in Fairfield County and the Litchfield Hills of Western Connecticut, contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, or visit their web site at www.visitwesternct.com

THE BEST FOLIAGE TOWN IN NEW ENGLAND? YANKEE MAGAZINE PICKS KENT, CONNECTICUT

Kent, Connecticut has many claims to fame—two state parks, a 250-foot waterfall, rural beauty combined with sophisticated shops, galleries and museums.  But this fall there is new reason to boast.  Yankee Magazine has named this charming village in the Litchfield Hills of Western Connecticut the peak spot for leaf-peeping in all of New England.

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In one day in Kent, says Yankee, you can drive through rolling hills beside a twisting river, stop for thick hot chocolate and an pastry, hike the Appalachian trail, picnic with a panini by a waterfall, shop for Buddhas or modern art and bite into a crisp native Cortland apple, perhaps in the shade of a historic covered bridge.

This praise is no surprise to those who know Kent and its unique blend of attractions.  A newly published free color brochure with map will help newcomers find their way around.

Foliage watchers who like their leaves close-up on a hiking trail should head for Macedonia Brook State Park, where 2300 acres offer extensive leafy trails.  For views, the Blue Trail is hard to beat with its fantastic vistas of the Catskill and Taconic mountains.

In Kent Falls State Park you can admire the falls from the bottom or hike a quarter-mile up the hill and feel the mist on your face as the water cascades down 250 feet on its way to join the Housatonic River.

The Appalachian Trail runs through this area, and hikers who want scenery without stress will enjoy the Housatonic “river walk,” a peaceful stretch beside the river that is the longest essentially flat section along the entire trail.

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For more worldly diversions, take a walk along Route 7, Kent’s Main Street, lined for miles with irresistible stops.  Five antiques shops beckon, including Pauline’s Place and Koblenz & Co., known for their antique jewelry.  Among the many shops and galleries, Heron American Craft Gallery shows the best work of American craftsmen, Foreign Cargo offers unusual clothing, jewelry and art from Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands and the Kent Art Association is just one of five fine art galleries in town.

Take out the camera for Bulls’ Bridge, one of three remaining covered bridges in Connecticut dating from the 19th century.  George Washington crossed the Housatonic River near the site of the present bridge in 1781.

Just north of town is the Sloane-Stanley Museum.  Eric Sloane (1905-1985) was a prolific artist, author and illustrator and an avid collector of Americana. The museum includes the artist’s studio, examples of his art and his extensive collection of early American handmade tools, beautiful objects of wood that are virtual works of art.  On the property are the remains of the Kent Iron Furnace and a diorama explaining the once-booming local iron industry.  Next-door is the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association Museum, a unique display of steam and gas tractors, a working narrow gauge railroad, an industrial hall with working steam engines and mining exhibit building.

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When hunger pangs strike in Kent, the Panini Café is the place for a tasty picnic sandwich, and for a treat the Kent coffee and Chocolate Company offers the “best hot chocolate in Connecticut.”  For dinner, the Fife & Drum is a long time favorite for continental dinners with nightly music, Bull’s Bridge Inn has a choice of fine dining or pub fare, and Doc’s Trattoria serves excellent Italian fare and has a pleasant patio for fine fall days.

For a copy of the new free guide and map of Kent and a free copy of UNWIND, a 163-page color guide to lodging and dining and other regional attractions in all of the Litchfield Hills contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, www.litchfieldhills.com.

Kent Antique Machinery Fall Festival in Litchfield Hills

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This year marks the 30th annual Fall Festival hosted by the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association, www.ctamachinery.com on 31 Kent Cornwall Rd. in Kent on September 26, 27 and 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This event features special demonstrations, vendors and food along with the many permanent exhibits of the Association that includes Industrial Hall, a mining museum, a tractor hall, a narrow gage working railroad and the Cream Hill Agricultural School.

Highlights of this event include an American #1 sawmill with plenty of logs to be cut into planks. There will be demonstrations throughout the weekend of the sawmill, as well as other wood handling machinery including an antique planer, a splitter, and maybe even a drag saw.

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Another popular spot is the blacksmith’s shop headed up by Skip Kern who will be showing visitors the art of blacksmithing. In the Industrial Hall of Steam, Conrad Milster will be giving talks and live demonstrations of various antique steam engines. The Association hopes to see their Nagle-Corliss engine in operation for this show. A highlight in Industrial Hall is the Associations newest acquisition, a very early (possibly Ames) engine, on loan from the New York Hall of Science.

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Lumber Jack/Jill demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday of the Festival, featuring Shannon Strong, a well-known local fitness trainer are certain crowd pleasers. The show will feature demonstrations of handsaw and ax skills. Demonstration times will be announced at the show.

In the Industrial Hall of Steam, Conrad Milster will be giving talks and live demonstrations of the Association’s various antique steam engines. The Association hopes to see their Nagle-Corliss engine in operation for this show. Visitors will also see the Association’s newest acquisition, a very early (possibly Ames) engine, that came to them in beautiful condition, on loan from the New York Hall of Science.

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Don’t miss the Friday evening spaghetti w/meatballs and sausage. There’s a limited number of tickets available, so buy them in advance at the food pavilion. The dinner is from 5:30 to 7:00 PM and will be held at the picnic pavilion unless inclement weather forces it inside the Industrial Hall. Tickets are $10 per person. Menu includes spaghetti with meatballs and sausage, salad, Italian bread, soft drinks, coffee and dessert. All proceeds benefit the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association.

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Parking is free in the lower parking field and a free shuttle bus will bring you to the main gate.

For more information http://www.ctamachinery.com and for area information www.litchfieldhills.com

Halloween Naturally…..

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On October 27, Bridgeport’s Beardsley Zoo located on 1875 Noble Ave., is hosting a spooktacular afternoon that includes harvest hayrides and many other seasonal enjoyments from 12:00pm – 3:00pm. Special scarecrows are guaranteed to delight and fright all visitors to the Zoo adding a ghoulish flair. Make sure you are on hand to congratulate the winner of this years scarecrow contest…a perfect photo opportunity. Best of all, if you’re under 12, in costume, and are accompanied by a paying adult, you get in to the Zoo for FREE! http://beardsleyzoo.org

Stamford’s Heckscher Farm
Stamford’s Heckscher Farm

Stamford’s Heckscher Farm, at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center on 39 Scofieldtown Rd., is hosting the annual ICK Fest on October 27 from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Children of all ages are invited to don their Halloween costume and head up to Heckscher Farm to trick or treat with their favorite farm friends! Be sure to grab a map and head off in search of different “treats” at the trick or treating stations around Heckscher Farm. See what Dakota the Clydesdale, the farm’s calves Moose and Monty, and the farms new little piglets have to offer. Then, celebrate all things creepy and crawly at the annual “Ick Fest” at the Overbrook Nature Center building where you can visit with the center’s snakes, tarantulas, lizards, worms and other animals! Don’t miss the slime table! Activities of the day include making bats and spiders and even a photo opportunity with one of the center’s snakes. Don’t forget your treat bag. Members: FREE| Non-Members: FREE with gate admission. http://stamfordmuseum.org

RR Museum of New England
RR Museum of New England

All Aboard

Once again this year, the festively decorated Railroad Museum of New England in Thomaston is scheduling Halloween Weekend train rides on its vintage trains on Saturday, Oct. 26 and Sunday, Oct. 27 at Noon and 2:00 PM from Thomaston Station. Take a ride to the Pumpkin Patch aboard the Naugatuck Railroad, costumes welcome! During the ride, you may stretch your legs and choose your pumpkin in the Naugy’s own pumpkin patch, one per child as long as the supply lasts. Re-board the train for a fun and scenic one hour and 15 minute train ride that runs along the Naugatuck River south to Waterbury and north to spectacular Thomaston Dam amid splendid fall foliage across the Litchfield Hills. (860-283-7245; www.rmne.org.

Small Town Fun

The 20th Annual Halloween on the Green in Danbury will take place on Saturday, October 26 from 2 pm to 4pm with a Costume Parade scheduled for 3:30 pm. Prizes will be awarded for Most Original, Scariest, Cutest and Funniest get-ups. Children will have their own costume parade and games. There will be a special goody bad for the first 500 costumed children. (203-792-1711; www.citycenterdanbury.com).

The New Cannan Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the annual Halloween Parade, on October 27 at 12 -noon rain or shine. Kids are invited to meet at 12 p.m, in the Park Street Parking Lot where goodie bags will be given out at this free event until they run out! At 1 p.m. children are invited to participate in the 32nd. Annual Halloween Parade that loops down Elm Street to Main Street and back. Vehicular traffic is closed for this fun-filled event.

Plymouth Lit up!
Plymouth Lit up!

On October 26, Rain date Oct. 27, Plymouth is holding a PumpkinFest on the Green, 10 Park Street from 4 to 7 p.m. Bring your carved jack-o-lantern to enter the carving contest prizes will be awarded. At 6 p.m. all the pumpkins will be lit for a spectacular display. Other event activities include face painting, live music, lantern tours of the old burying ground and a costume parade led by a bagpiper.

Everyone is invited to join the 37th Annual Kent Pumpkin Run on October 27th. The festivities begin with a Kids Fun Run at 11:15 AM followed by the 5 mile run / walk at noon. The spectator friendly certified course starts and finishes at Kent Green in front of Town Hall. Festivities include music, refreshments (including Billy’s famous Pumpkin Soup!), face painting, Halloween fun and much more.

Monster Mash at the Stepping Stones Museum For Children Oct. 26

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It will be a night of tricks and treats as Stepping Stones Museum for Children welcomes all into its halls of wonder for the museum’s annual Halloween party. Celebrate this mystifying holiday the Stepping Stones way at Monster Mash: Questions and Mysteries on Saturday, October 26, from 6:00 – 8:30 pm. You’re sure to have a monstrously-good time during the museum’s kid-friendly costume party. It’s a night to quench the curiosity in everyone!

Monster Mash: Questions and Mysteries will be a spellbinding night jam-packed with not-so-scary family fun. Guests can meander through the museum on a scavenger hunt, find out what is fact or fiction as their minds are boggled by the wonders of real life. They will make their own magnifying glass, uncover mysterious messages and scrawl their own secrets with invisible ink, use their nose to sniff out solutions to questions and use their hands to feel for the answers. Of course there will be masquerading down the catwalk during the spooktacular costume fashion show and the BOO-tiful evening will end when they strut their stuff in the puzzling parade throughout the museum.

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Don’t fret about bringing the littlest visitors. At this Halloween party, we won’t have you crying for your “mummy.” There will be age-appropriate activities for all visitors, so that the whole family can enjoy this costume party.

Tickets for this event cost $10 per person for museum members and $12 per person for non-members. Children under the age of one will be admitted for free. Monster Mash tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. Registration is required. Space is limited, so register early. Call 203 899 0606, ext. 247, or visit www.steppingstonesmuseum.org/monstermash.

About Stepping Stones Museum for Children

Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk, Conn., is an award-winning, private, non-profit 501(c)(3) children’s museum committed to broadening and enriching the lives of children and families. Located on five acres in Mathews Park, the LEED Gold certified museum encompasses five hands-on galleries, state-of-the-art Multimedia Gallery, Family and Teacher Resource Center, cafe and retail store.

Stepping Stones is located at 303 West Avenue, exit 14N or 15S off I-95 in Norwalk. Museum hours are Labor Day through Memorial Day, Tuesday—Sunday and holiday Mondays from 10 am-5pm; and Memorial Day through Labor Day, Monday-Sunday from 10 am-5 pm. Admission is $15 for adults and children and $10 for seniors. Children under 1 are free. To learn more, call 203 899 0606 or visit www.steppingstonesmuseum.org.