Institute for American Indian Studies Modified Summer Camp June 26-August 7, 2020

We all know that this summer will be different. We also know that it is important for children to get out of the house and be engaged socially, mentally, and safely. With that in mind, the Institute for American Indian Studies located on 38 Curtis Road in Washington, Connecticut announced that they are opening a modified summer camp program of weekly themed outdoor fun and education that follows strict state guidelines. The Summer Camp is available one week at a time, Monday- Friday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., from June 26 through August 7. The programs are geared for children ages 6-13. “We decided to offer our camp programs because we feel it can be a gateway back to normalcy for children. We expect these experiences will help our young campers face new challenges with resilience,” Chris Combs, Executive Director said.

There are so many benefits to sending children to summer camp, especially this summer. It gives children the chance to develop confidence and get unplugged; it allows them to make new friends, experience the great outdoors, and to explore new interests while learning at the same time. “This year, parents can definitely expect to see safety as the first and foremost focus at our camp, Chris Combs, Executive Director said. “ For all of our staff, the health and safety of our campers is paramount. All camp activities will be held outdoors and there will be regular sanitizing, social distancing, and smaller group activities as well as staggered arrivals and pick-ups, all in accordance with guidance issued by various state and federal agencies,” Combs continued. For more information, registration and protocols click here

Camp Director Gabriel Benjamin and Assistant Camp Director Susan Scherf have developed a range of exciting activities and projects that follow current health guidelines. Each week, campers will join experienced educators on a journey through one of several themes that relate to the museum’s core mission, such as ecology, archaeology, and traditional skills. While hiking in the woods, playing games, and creating crafts, campers will practice survival skills, teamwork, and problem-solvinghttp://www.iaismuseum.org as they develop confidence while experiencing the great outdoors, and making new friends. Besides the memories that will last a lifetime, campers will learn valuable skills and connect with a culture that has more than 10,000 years of history in this area.

Summer Camp Themes
Weekly camps will have different experiences. On June 29- July 3 the theme is “Wonderful Wildlife” and will include exploring the forests and rivers of the Eastern Woodlands. The camp running from July 6- July 10 will focus on the gifts of the natural world and how Native Americans used their understanding of the natural world to thrive for thousands of years right here in Connecticut.

On July 13 to July 17, children will learn outdoor survival skills similar to those used for centuries by Native Americans. And, if your children love science and technology sign them up for the week of July 20-24 to learn how people of the past figured out creative ways to move around, construct shelter, find food, and make tools.”

For budding archeologists and kids that are intrigued by puzzles, don’t miss the July 27 – July 31 camp where they will learn how to dig and discover.

The last camp of our 2020 summer season, from August 3-7 is for kids that like a challenge – and don’t they all! If your kids want to be amazed, sign them up, and challenge them to put their skills to test! They will come away enriched and confident.

For complete registration information, visit http://www.iaismuseum.org.

About The Institute for American Indian Studies
L
ocated on 15 acres of woodland acres the Institute For American Indian Studies preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. They have the 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.

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

Cider, Cookies and Shopping @ Fairfield Museum and History Center

This weekend, the Fairfield Museum and History Center located on Beach Street is offering several exciting promotions. On Saturday, November 30 they are celebrating small business Saturday by offering a card special.  Folks visiting the museum gift shop, which is chock full of goodies who purchase five packs of cards by Onion Hill by Kassie Foss will get one free! 

The fun ramps up on Sunday, December 1 when the museum store will give visitors a reusable Fairfield Museum shopping bag and a limited edition Woodberry pewter ornament with every purchase while supplies last. 

To add to the festivities, the Fairfield Museum and History Center is offering free cookies and cider all weekend long. The shop is located at 370 Beach Street and is open from 10 am to 4 pm with plenty of on-site parking.  Another perk is that the museum never charged sales tax! 

Save the date for the Holiday Express Train opening night on December 6 from 5 pm to 8 pm that is kicked off with the tree lighting on the Fairfield Green. The hours for the Holiday Express Train are Monday – Thursday 10am – 1pm, Special Friday Evening Hours: 10am – 7pm, Saturdays & Sundays: 10am – 4pm, December 23, 24, 26, 30 and 31: 10am – 4pm, Closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day

Haunted Lantern Stroll in Bridgeport Oct. 24

The Barnum Museum is offering a “Wicked Lantern Stroll” on Thursday, October 24 at 7 p.m.with historian and author, Michael Bielawa. Stroll through the streets of Bridgeport to unravel the mysteries that this vibrant city hides – especially during the Halloween season.  Bielawa is versed in the paranormal and specializes in the study of New England’s shadowy past.

This slightly macabre tour, whose tales are based in fact, is perfect for Halloween jitters and thrills!  Participants will visit scenes of suspected hauntings, Victorian-era murders and unexplained phenomena. These sites are so centrally located and close to one another that they will give you the shivers! 

The walk begins in the People’s United Bank Gallery located at the rear of the Barnum Museum on 820 Main Street in Bridgeport. Tickets should be purchased in advance and are $10 per person for Barnum Museum Members and $20 for non-members. Make sure to bring your camera along to document the area’s paranormal activity!  After the walk, participants are invited to the museum for cider and refreshments. It should be noted that this program is not recommended for children under 12. For your tickets click here.

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.