Author Archives: CT Buzz News

Memoir, Playwriting, Flash Fiction—Westport Writers Workshop’s Fall Programs are Open for Registration

Area writers and are invited to register for Westport Writers Workshop Fall session.

WESTPORT, CT—Westport Writers Workshop is excited to introduce their fall second session of classes with registration now open for in-person and online courses. In his book on writing, “From Where You Dream,” Robert Olin Butler advises forcing yourself to become a morning person. “If you arrange your life so that you can spend two hours writing—or an hour, given the exigencies of some working lives, but ideally two hours—you make that time sacrosanct at the beginning of the day.” In the “Early Morning Accountability” class taught by Amanda Parrish Morgan, the instructor leads participants to be accountable and consistent with their work in a community-focused environment.

Jessie McEntee wants students to know that “no one writes alone!”

“In my class, I seek to create a nurturing, collaborative atmosphere,” Mentee said. “Each week, you’ll share a brief excerpt of up to five double-spaced pages from an ongoing project — a novel or short story — and I’ll lead a constructive discussion of the manuscript, highlighting its positive aspects and suggesting ways to improve it.”

McEntee cut her teeth as an editor at John Wiley & Sons and has provided ghostwriting and independent editorial services for clients in New York and Connecticut. A magna cum laude graduate of Amherst College, she’s the author of four novels. Her debut poetry chapbook was published by Finishing Line Press in 2019, and she was appointed Westport’s Poet Laureate in 2022.

In her memoir writing class, Julie Sarkissian said they only offer positive feedback. No constructive criticism, no ideas of how to “improve.” Feel the Force feedback focuses on what is working, positive and resonates in the piece. In this class, they support, protect and promote positive validation above any other means of improvement.

Other fall session class offerings are listed below.

FALL II SESSION WRITING WORKSHOPS: Registration now open!

6-week workshops begin the week of Oct. 31st

Early Morning Accountability

Introduction/Intermediate Fiction

Introduction/Advanced Fiction – in person

Advanced Fiction
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Introduction to Novel Writing
Crafting A Character
Start Your Historical Novel
Writing Commercial and Upmarket Fiction
Building Your Story Through Prompts
Workshop for Moms of Children with Special Needs – FREE!

Playwriting for Everyone
Writing Books for Kids
Flash Fiction
How to Create Compelling Scenes
Tap Into Your Creative Mind
Copyediting
Introduction to Oral History for Writers – in person

Poetry Writing
Writing From Your Life, Writing with Intention

Writing About Your Life: Memoir – Beg/Int
Feel the Force: Memoir for Women – in person

For more information and to register for classes, visit Westporwriters.org

About Westport Writers WorkshopSince 2003, the Westport Writers’ Workshop has been offering workshops for every level of writer, from novice to published! Our instructors offer friendly, supportive writing workshops designed to encourage, inspire, and spark your imagination. With over 100 workshops a year to choose from, we welcome writers of all skill levels and genres. Our workshops are designed to suit your schedule, with options in the morning, afternoons, and evenings. We also host several Saturday-only workshops and one-week writing-intensive programs throughout the year. You can learn more about our workshops by visiting our WORKSHOP page. 

Let Westport Writers’ Workshop help you discover and develop your own unique writing talent and voice. 

Our Philosophy: You can expect a supportive group led by an experienced instructor. You’ll write, read, and learn from each other. Focus is always on the quality of the writing – not on the subject matter. Writing begets writing. The more you commit to your writing, to showing up for your writing group, the more you will write. By joining a community of writers, you will become a stronger writer and influence others to refine their craft. Our philosophy and practices are inspired by Amherst Writers & Artists and Pat Schneider’s book, Writing Alone and With Others. 

Our Mission: The Westport Writers’ Workshop is an independent literary arts center offering enriching, supportive creative writing classes, as well as literary readings to the local public. Our organization also provides free writing workshops to underserved populations in their own communities. 

Our History: In 2003, Jessica Bram founded Westport Writers’ Workshop. In 2010, Jessica moved the workshops into the second floor of the historic building on 3 Sylvan Rd. South in Westport. In 2013, Valerie Leff bought WWW and became the Director. In 2014, Valerie created a Board of Directors and transformed the business into a nonprofit with a mission to offer enriching, supportive creative writing classes, as well as literary readings to the local public, and free writing workshops to underserved populations in their own communities. 

In 2018, Michelle Bradley came on board as the Executive Director, and in summer 2019 when Michelle’s family was transferred to Chicago, Liz Matthews took over as the Director. In March of 2020 with the onset of COVID-19, the workshops transitioned to the Zoom platform and were offered remotely. The organization grew to include writers and instructors outside of our immediate community. 

In 2022, Westport Writers Workshop appointed a new Executive Director, Patricia Dunn, an award-winning writer.  westportwriters.org 

Westport Writers’ Workshop 25 Sylvan Road South, Suite J, Westport CT.

Writers and Art Enthusiasts Are Invited to Fall Open House & Art Show at Westport Writers Workshop

Area writers and art enthusiasts are invited to the Westport Writers Workshop Fall Open House & Art Show featuring oil and pastel artist.

Water Lily, Ninfea, William Papaleo.

WESTPORT, CT—Fairfield County area residents and art enthusiasts are invited to Westport Writers Workshop’s (WWW) Fall Open House & Art Exhibit. This is the first of 20 special events they are planning to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the nonprofit writing organization. The event is intended to spotlight the connection between works of art and spoken word. The featured artist for the art opening and workshop open house William Papaleo, a pastel artist and oil painter who has lived in Italy for more than 35 years.  

The artist lives, paints, and teaches at Salerno University in Italy. He was commissioned by the town of Waterbury to do a sculpture for Liberty Park. He has received various awards in international and juried shows in Italy and America and is represented by Wohlfarth Galleries in Washington D.C. and Massachusetts. In the past few years, he has collaborated with The Royal College of Art of London and The University HDM of Stuttgart, Germany during a series of international painting workshops for European college students. In addition, Papaleo has taught painting at the University of California, Napoli, Italy, and at the Castle Hill Center for the Arts in Truro, Massachusetts.  

“We are very excited to have him, and we will be demonstrating the connection between the visual arts and the written word that evening,” said Patricia Dunn, Westport Writers Workshop’s new Executive Director. “We will have one of many experiences where writers will write in connection to the paintings/photography and other exhibits on display in our space.” 
Papaleo invites attendees to “cast off fear” and live simply in beauty. “We are living in a strange civilization. Our minds and souls are so overlaid with fear, with artificiality, that often we do not even recognize beauty. It is this fear, this lack of direct vision of truth that brings about all the disaster the world holds, and how little opportunity we give any people for casting off fear, for living simply and naturally. When they do, first of all we fear them, then we condemn them. It is only if they are great enough to outlive our condemnation that we accept them.”

The artist says that his work is “rooted in the humanistic, figurative tradition. Many years ago I came to Italy and chose to live and paint in the south, in Naples and the Amalfi Coast. I wanted to paint life and not just study the past grandeurs of the artistic tradition. Southern Italy has suffered eleven dominations in seven centuries and has the depth of an oppressed people and thus, as a subject, contains a universality despite its provincialism. The best an artist can do, given a new situation is to produce a lyrical reaction to the environment that confronts him. Preferable to a rendering from the outside or a visual description of a voyage, an inward reflection with a knowledge of the subject in mind, make a work that, I hope, is more sincere and original.” 

Papaleo’s paintings will be on display and open by appointment for all to view through December. The Westport Writers Workshop Open House & Art Opening will be held on Wednesday, September 7, 2022, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at their new location,  25 Sylvan Road South, Suite J Westport CT. 

Westport Writers Workshop is excited to announce their fall workshops and classes. Mix and mingle with the instructors at the Open House & Art Show. For more information and to register, visit Westporwriters.org

About Westport Writers WorkshopSince 2003, the Westport Writers’ Workshop has been offering workshops for every level of writer, from novice to published! Our instructors offer friendly, supportive writing workshops designed to encourage, inspire, and spark your imagination. With over 100 workshops a year to choose from, we welcome writers of all skill levels and genres. Our workshops are designed to suit your schedule, with options in the morning, afternoons, and evenings. We also host several Saturday-only workshops and one-week writing-intensive programs throughout the year. You can learn more about our workshops by visiting our WORKSHOP page. 

Let Westport Writers’ Workshop help you discover and develop your own unique writing talent and voice. 

Our Philosophy: You can expect a supportive group led by an experienced instructor. You’ll write, read, and learn from each other. Focus is always on the quality of the writing – not on the subject matter. Writing begets writing. The more you commit to your writing, to showing up for your writing group, the more you will write. By joining a community of writers, you will become a stronger writer and influence others to refine their craft. Our philosophy and practices are inspired by Amherst Writers & Artists and Pat Schneider’s book, Writing Alone and With Others. 

Our Mission: The Westport Writers’ Workshop is an independent literary arts center offering enriching, supportive creative writing classes, as well as literary readings to the local public. Our organization also provides free writing workshops to underserved populations in their own communities. 

Our History: In 2003, Jessica Bram founded Westport Writers’ Workshop. In 2010, Jessica moved the workshops into the second floor of the historic building on 3 Sylvan Rd. South in Westport. In 2013, Valerie Leff bought WWW and became the Director. In 2014, Valerie created a Board of Directors and transformed the business into a nonprofit with a mission to offer enriching, supportive creative writing classes, as well as literary readings to the local public, and free writing workshops to underserved populations in their own communities. 

In 2018, Michelle Bradley came on board as the Executive Director, and in summer 2019 when Michelle’s family was transferred to Chicago, Liz Matthews took over as the Director. In March of 2020 with the onset of COVID-19, the workshops transitioned to the Zoom platform and were offered remotely. The organization grew to include writers and instructors outside of our immediate community. 

In 2022, Westport Writers Workshop appointed a new Executive Director, Patricia Dunn, an award-winning writer.  westportwriters.org 

Westport Writers’ Workshop 25 Sylvan Road South, Suite J, Westport CT.

Young CT Writers Will Be Inspired By Book Scenes In New Workshops With ‘Muse Squad’

A creative writing class just for area kids called ‘Muse Squad’ is coming to a Ridgefield arts studio this fall and encourages youth to explore their creative side.

RIDGEFIELD, CT—A creative writing class just for area kids is coming this fall! Original workshops are on the rise and this new one encourages child to explore their creative side.

Founded by Mompreneur Brittney Richardson, the new youth writing program “Muse Squad” will launch in October at the Ridgefield arts school, Enchanted Garden. Registration is now open for children ages 12 – 14 and Muse Squad Jr. for ages 9 – 11.

Richardson says she dreamed up the course as a space for kids to hear the voices of their peers. The program hones in on the joys of reading and writing in a club-like environment. Students will develop and share personal narratives and artistic works.

She plans to use interactive teaching methods and will incorporate a passage from a world-famous novel into each gathering. Richardson said that this approach of integrating literary experts into instruction helps prepare students for the reading assessments on standardized tests.

According to Smekens, an educational strategist, “This notion of reading excerpts on assessments is not new. However, what may not be common knowledge is how students are reacting to this reading task. Some students are having difficulty with this format—and it’s often the high-ability students.”

The article goes on to explain why certain students had trouble with the format:
“When researchers followed up to determine why some students struggled, many alluded to feeling like they didn’t know enough about the whole story or plot to adequately answer the corresponding questions.”

Smekens, who works to inspire educators with new strategies for teaching, elaborates:
“Students are correct—they do not have access to the entire text in these testing scenarios. They are missing pieces. However, they have enough information in the provided passage to make the necessary inferences and answer the questions.” She then states: “That said, students may need more experience with this type of excerpt-only reading.”

She encourages bringing such reading scenarios into the classroom.
Miss Brittney” has a unique approach of studying scenes in books to elucidate a lesson which will equip students with life-long skills, advancing a love of literature and learning. Muse Squad promotes imagination and growth of individuals.

“The course focuses on all the fun and amazing things that writing has to offer,” Richardson said about the evening class. The 10-week program concludes with a final reading and reception for family and friends at Enchanted Garden’s performance space.

Visit https://musesquad.godaddysites.com to learn more and register your child today!

Candlewood Lake Authority Kicks Off 50th Anniversary with Lake Cleanup

BROOKFIELD, CT —The Candlewood Lake Authority has announced that they are kicking off CLA’s 50th Anniversary with an event to benefit Candlewood Lake. A clean up project is being organized at Candlewood Lake on Saturday, May 21, 2022, for the annual “J. Marsicano and F. Cioffi Memorial Candlewood Lake Clean-Up.”

As teams did last year, boat Captains will provide their own cleanup crew. Captains and crews should pick up their materials (bags, gloves, and additional instructions) between 8-10 a.m. at the New Fairfield Town Park boat launch. Crews will return at around 12 noon to unload the trash picked up at the ramp and then will gather at the park for lunch.

To sign up and fill out the waiver, visit the Candlewood Lake Authority’s website.

https://candlewoodlakeauthority.org/Volunteer

About Candlewood Lake Authority:

The Candlewood Lake Authority is wholly dedicated to the safekeeping of Candlewood Lake.  We promote responsible recreation, conservation, and stewardship for the largest lake in the state of Connecticut. Candlewood Lake Authority partners with the many stakeholders to advocate for Candlewood Lake including owners FirstLight Power, federal permittee Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) as well as local public officials, businesses, and residents.

Southbury’s Arts Escape to Host Kid’s Egg Painting Workshop & Visit with the Easter Bunny

SOUTHBURY, CT—The Easter Bunny has recently announced that he will be hoppin’ down to Arts Escape in Southbury for a visit with the kids after Arts Escape’s Easter egg painting workshop. Instructor Kothy Hafersat will introduce kids and teens to the art of dot painting which will lead to the creation of beautiful works of art on wooden Easter eggs. 

The instructor Kothy (not Kathy) is a national educator for three sewing machine companies—Singer, Viking and Pfaff. She is a certified Zentangle instructor, co-owns and runs a pattern company that produces quilt and sewing patterns, and is a professional digitizer for the 6D embroidery software company which is sold to use with today’s embroidery sewing machines. She has been teaching kids and adults for over 30 years. 

The class includes three eggs to paint and take home plus a photo with the Easter Bunny after class. Each child will also receive a goody bag. The workshop takes place on Saturday, April 16, 2022 from 10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at Arts Escape493 Heritage Road, Southbury. The fee for the 2-hour workshop is $25 and the class is limited to 20 students.

Register on Arts Escape’s website by clicking here.

About Arts Escape

Arts Escape is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Arts Escape encourages engagement in the arts through an extensive range of programs and classes. Our community of adult learners explore the arts in a welcoming and nonjudgmental environment. At Arts Escape, our values and goals support the research that participating in creative activities improves adults’ problem-solving skills, self-esteem, and well-being.

“Arts Escape, where creativity and learning promote well-being.”

Give Your Home a Makeover with New Windows from Elite Construction Group

BROOKFIELD, CT—With Spring weather on the way, many homeowners are
beginning to think about improvements to their home’s exterior. Upgrading to vinyl
siding, adding new windows and doors, and a new roof can boost your property value by
tens of thousands of dollars, according to experts in the field. Inflation is now at the highest level since the 1980s, according to experts, supply chain issues due to Covid, and the cost of materials skyrocketing, making home improvements might be the last thing on a person’s mind. However, David Alger, owner of Elite Construction Group in Brookfield, said now is not the time to neglect your biggest investment—your home.

“Leaving an old, worn-out roof for too long can lead to major, expensive problems down
the road,” Alger stated. “A leaky roof can cause water damage with water working its
way down to your windows and siding. This could be very costly to repair and cause
structural damage as well.” Alger said.


His in-house design team works with all budgets in mind to create a cost-effective plan
for homeowners to improve their homes from windows to doors to roofs and more. One
of the best ways to start on home improvements when trying to increase a home’s
energy efficiency, while also adding a fresh new aesthetic and some curb appeal, is by
adding new windows.

According to Charlotte Reach of Hunker Design, trends in windows for 2022 include arched and circular windows and floor-to-ceiling windows with accents that pop in an all-white room.

“More homeowners are using their homes to show off their individuality. It makes sense, as people have gone from having to be home to wanting to be at home in an environment that expresses their personalities and individual tastes. Since no one could travel [during quarantine], homeowners had to bring those experiences into their homes.”

Alger said that adding modern windows offer better insulation, which makes it easier for your heating and cooling system to keep your home energy efficient.

“If your energy bills are skyrocketing, replacing the windows in your home might be the solution to more savings down the road,” said Alger.

For more information on how you can turn your home living space work better for you and your family, contact David Alger at Elite Construction Group”: (203) 648-9995 or David@eliteegroup.com.

*This is a sponsored post. To learn more about your business being featured on CT Buzz News, please email CTBuzzNews@gmail.com.

Westport Writers Workshop Celebrates ‘National Poetry Month’ with New Spring Classes

WESTPORT, CT—Westport Writers Workshop (WWW) is offering a combination of online and in person classes this spring at their new space located at 25 Sylvan Lane, Unit J, Westport, Conn. Their new location features a gallery-like space with a large workshop/community space that enables them to collaborate with other local arts organizations. 

Their spring workshops begin the week of March 28th and open registration is now open. With over 100 workshops a year to choose from, WWW welcomes writers of all skill levels and genres with classes and workshops that are designed to suit any schedule, with options in the morning, afternoons, and evenings. Saturday-only workshops and one-week writing-intensive programs are also held at various times throughout the year. ​

Several of their spring workshops include a creative nonfiction class (Writing About Your Life), Poetry (April is National Poetry month), an Introduction to Screenwriting workshop, an in-person Write to Prompts class (Just Write), and a new workshop on Writing Novels, as well as the classes listed below:

Workshop in Poetry – All Levels with Charles Rafferty: This class is for students interested in learning about the genre from Charles Rafferty, whose poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, The Southern Review, and O — Oprah Magazine.  Each week, participants will share a poem, and the instructor will lead a discussion of the manuscript, highlighting what is working well and suggesting ways to improve it. As time allows, there may also be general discussions of craft and perhaps some in-class writing.

WHERE: Online via ZOOM

TIME: 7 Tuesdays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

DATES: March 29, April 5, 12, off, 26, May 3, 10, 17

Introduction to Novel Writing with Rahla Xenopoulos: Embarking on the exciting and, at times daunting business of writing a novel. The class will focus on banishing the pesky inner critic, developing characters, establishing themes and structure, excavating and exploring your story, and deciding on a narrator.

WHERE: Online via ZOOM

TIME: 7 Fridays, 10am to 12noon

DATES:April 1, 8, off, 22, 29, May 6, 13, 20

Flash Fiction with Liz Matthews – IN PERSON: In flash fiction, writers become attuned to language on the sentence level. This is good practice for writers of all genres, as you’ll learn how to transform abstract ideas into specific moments. We’ll pay close attention to pacing, metaphor and imagery, endings, and poetic techniques to employ in writing flash. There is room to experiment and take more risks with poetry or prose told in 1,000 words or less. Each week students will study examples of both well-known and more obscure writers who have mastered this form. During and in between workshops, you’ll receive unique writing prompts for continual inspiration and support.   

WHERE: In person at:  25 Sylvan Road South, Suite J, Westport, CT 06880

TIME: 7 Thursdays, 10am to 12noon

DATES: March 31, April 7, 14, off, 28, May 5, 12, 19

Writing Books for Kids with Christine Pakkala: Have you always wanted to write a picture book or a book for children or teens? This writing workshop is targeted for adult writers of picture books, early and middle grade and young adult fiction. The goal will be to support each writer’s efforts to develop and hone new projects as well as works-in-progress. We will explore the art of creating characters that young people care about and with whom they can identify. In addition, we will exercise our ability to bring emotion to our narratives, to bring setting to life, and to strengthen our plots for greatest impact. The weekly sessions will employ positive, non-threatening feedback in a small group environment. Workshop members are invited to bring up to five double-spaced, 12-point-font pages of writing to the first session. Please note: email your pages to the instructor as well as the entire group. Please keep your word count to a maximum of 1250 words.

WHERE: Online via ZOOM

TIME: 7 Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

DATES:March 30, April 6, 13, off, 27, May 4, 11, 18

Writing About Your Life (Beginner) with Phoenix Glass-Destruge: Thinking about writing a memoir or personal essay? Perhaps you’ve already begun but aren’t sure where to go next. Maybe there are subjects you wish to ignore, that feel taboo, or worse yet, boring. You may ask yourself, “Why would anyone care about what I have to say?” or “How could I possibly share this part of myself?” If you’ve had these fears, or any fear related to writing, I promise you, you are not alone. These concerns are part of the process and mean you are doing something right. Here is the truth: your story matters. It is not too dark nor too dull. Mary Oliver said the writer, “stands between two marvelous and complex things—an experience (or an idea or a feeling) and the urge to tell about it in the best possible conjunction of words.” The merging of experience and written word will be the objective of this workshop, where each week writers will bring pages of new or revised writing to read aloud and receive feedback on what is working and what might be strengthened.

WHERE: Online via ZOOM

TIME: 7 Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 12 noon

DATES: March 29, April 5, 12, off, 26, May 3, 10, 17

For more course offerings this spring and to register, visit the Westport Writers Workshop website. Westport Writers’ Workshop is an independent literary arts center offering enriching, supportive creative writing classes, as well as literary readings to the local public in Connecticut. Their organization also provides free writing workshops to underserved populations in their own communities. To learn more, visit the WWW SCHOLARSHIPS and SUPPORT US pages.

About Westport Writers Workshop:

Since 2003, the Westport Writers’ Workshop has been offering workshops for every level of writer, from novice to published! Our instructors offer friendly, supportive writing workshops designed to encourage, inspire, and spark your imagination.

With over 100 workshops a year to choose from, we welcome writers of all skill levels and genres. Our workshops are designed to suit your schedule, with options in the morning, afternoons, and evenings. We also host several Saturday-only workshops and one-week writing-intensive programs throughout the year. You can learn more about our workshops by visiting our WORKSHOP page. Let Westport Writers’ Workshop help you discover and develop your own unique writing talent and voice.

Our Philosophy: You can expect a supportive group led by an experienced instructor. You’ll write, read, and learn from each other. Focus is always on the quality of the writing – not on the subject matter. Writing begets writing. The more you commit to your writing, to showing up for your writing group, the more you will write. By joining a community of writers, you will become a stronger writer and influence others to refine their craft. Our philosophy and practices are inspired by Amherst Writers & Artists and Pat Schneider’s book, Writing Alone and With Others.

Our Mission: The Westport Writers’ Workshop is an independent literary arts center offering enriching, supportive creative writing classes, as well as literary readings to the local public. Our organization also provides free writing workshops to underserved populations in their own communities.

Our History: In 2003, Jessica Bram founded Westport Writers’ Workshop. In 2010, Jessica moved the workshops into the second floor of the historic building on 3 Sylvan Rd. South in Westport. In 2013, Valerie Leff bought WWW and became the Director. In 2014, Valerie created a Board of Directors and transformed the business into a nonprofit with a mission to offer enriching, supportive creative writing classes, as well as literary readings to the local public, and free writing workshops to underserved populations in their own communities. In 2018, Michelle Bradley came on board as the Executive Director, and in summer 2019 when Michelle’s family was transferred to Chicago, Liz Matthews took over as the Director. In March of 2020 with the onset of COVID-19, the workshops transitioned to the Zoom platform and were offered remotely. The organization now offers both in-person and online classes and has grown to include writers and instructors outside of our immediate community.

westportwriters.org

Danbury’s Irish-Americans Kick Off 2022 St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations with Parades & More

DANBURY, CT—After two years of cancellations due to the global pandemic, Danbury’s Irish-Americans are glad to celebrate their Silver Anniversary at the 25th Annual Danbury St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The month-long celebrations kicked off on Sunday, Feb. 20th with their St. Patrick’s Day Parade fundraiser at Molly Darcy’s, followed by the St. Patrick’s Day Ball on Saturday, March 5th. Not even a “bomb cyclone” could stop Danbury and New Fairfield area Irish-Americans from celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New Fairfield (Danbury’s parade will be held on 3/20/22). New Fairfield resident Peter Hearty was presented with a proclamation from State Senator Julie Kushner for his contributions to the town by organizing the 52nd annual New Fairfield St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Danbury’s Ancient Order of Hibernians and Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians hold the St. Patrick’s Day Ball annually the first Saturday in March at the Amber Room where they honor the man and woman of the year. This year, Richard Hawley, of Danbury, and Wendy Mitchell, of Brookfield, were named the Hibernians of the Year. Hawley was recognized for his years of fundraising at the annual golf classic and for starting the setback league. Mitchell was recognized for her efforts to raise funds for the club at last year’s “SHAMROCKAPALOOZA” benefit concert, serving as co-chair of the parade for the last five years, and serving as state recording secretary and webmaster, division Catholic Action and publicity officer. 

The Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation and the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center kicked off their month-long St. Patrick’s Day celebrations with the annual Irish Ball on March 5, 2016. Danbury’s new Mayor Dean Esposito presented Mitchell and Hawley with a proclamation from the City of Danbury for their dedication the mission and helping to preserve Irish culture in the greater Danbury area. Senator Julie Kushner presented a proclamation to both from the State of Connecticut.

The duo will have the distinct honor of leading the City of Danbury’s parade on Sunday, March 20th at 2:00 p.m., along with their fellow Hibernians, Celtic Cross Pipes and Drums Corps, Newtown Horse Guard, Girl Scout and Boy Scout Troops, local politicians and officials, Danbury and surrounding town’s fire departments, Danbury police, and other marching units. The Danbury St. Patrick’s Day Parade is co-chaired this year by Kevin Hearty and Catherine Bach.

The following events are planned for St. Patrick’s Day on Thursday, March 17, 2022:

  • 9 a.m. Bethel flag raising, 1 P.T. Barnum Square, Bethel
  • 11 a.m. – Mass at St Peter Church, Main St. Danbury with prayers in English and Gaelic
  • 12 p.m. – Irish flag raising at Danbury City Hall, Deer Hill Ave. followed by refreshments 
  • 12:30 p.m. on – Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center (GDICC), 6 Lake Ave., Danbury, corned beef, cabbage, Shepherd’s pie, Irish soda bread, and refreshments. The GDICC has Guinness and Harp on tap as well as a wide variety of other libations. Local Irish dance schools will perform and live bands Fiddlesuice and Steve O’Tree & Friends will play traditional Irish favorites.

On Saturday, March 19th, Two Roads Brewery is sponsoring a “Tap Takeover” with Tipperary Knights, $5 Two Roads specials, raffles, and more!

The 25th Annual Danbury St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held this year on Sunday, March 20, 2022. It is being sponsored by Title Sponsor, Townsquare Media Danbury, Platinum Sponsor Mercedes-Benz of Danbury, Gold Sponsor UK Gourmet and Dream Home Realty of CT. The parade steps off at 2 p.m. at Center and Main Street, Danbury in front of St. Peter Church. 

Parade Day is Sunday, March 20, 2022:

  • 2 p.m. Greater Danbury St. Patrick’s Day parade begins in front of St. Peter Church, Main and Center Streets
  • Shuttle buses will begin at 12 p.m. at the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center, 6 Lake Ave., Danbury
  • Corned beef & cabbage, Shepherd’s pie, Irish soda bread, and refreshments will be sold at the Danbury Irish Club, 6 Lake Ave., Danbury. Local Irish dance schools and live bands will perform traditional Irish favorites.

Questions? Call the club at (203) 739-0010 or email DanburyIrish@gmail.com

Photo: Wendy Mitchell, 2022 Danbury Lady Hibernian of the Year, Richard Hawley, 2022 Danbury Mens Hibernian of the Year

Photo Credit: Marion Lynott, Irish Flare Photography

Office Furniture Pop-Up Shop Offers Work-From-Home Clients Deep Discounts in Danbury

DANBURY, CT—For Russell Castro and his wife Andrea, Covid’s impact on the supply chain has caused business to boom as millions of Americans opt to work, and learn, from home during the pandemic. The pair, who have been in business for more than 30 years, noticed that their customers were fine with giving up their commute but not their high-end office chairs.

Originally from Rockland County, New York, the family now has ties to New Fairfield with the owner’s brother, Rick Castro, also his business partner, having deep roots in the community for over 25 years. Brothers Russell and Rick Castro partnered to open OFIS Furniture as a pop-up shop located at 61 Newtown Road in Danbury, next to Denny’s Restaurant.

Russell has been selling high-end, gently used office furniture since 1994. He said he went into business after college, being unable to find a job that he liked.

“Two friends were in the business of removing old phone systems from companies that went out of business, then saw that there was a huge resale value in the used furniture that was left behind,” Russell said. “Landlords needed the space empty and the clients asked us to remove it.”

During and after quarantine, the partners said a big change they have seen since the pandemic is people taking part in the “Great American Resignation” and starting their own business. They have seen people who used to work in the corporate environment now starting their own hair salons, boutiques, and small businesses. Even accountants and tax professionals have been coming to them as they, along with thousands of Americans, have chosen to work for themselves rather than deal with the corporate world.

Castro said they are one of the largest office furniture liquidations companies in the country and being able to help people downsize or move off into their own business venture has been so rewarding. 

“We take in the furniture from Fortune 100 corporations and resell it to smaller Fortune 500 companies.  During Covid, people working from home found themselves sitting on a folding chair and were missing that high end $1,500 ergonomically correct chair that they had at the office.”

All of the furniture they sell is in excellent condition, cleaned and sanitized, and in stock with no long lead times. They offer affordable delivery and stand behind their product by offering a 3-year warranty even after the manufacturer’s warranty has expired. If the chair breaks and is not functioning properly, they will repair or replace it for our customers no questions asked.

“The people came from hours away,” he shared, “sometimes with the whole family—kids looking for a good learn-at-home set up. We have been getting calls from the Westchester and Connecticut area for furniture and decided to open up a second location in this area to help meet the demand in this area.” 

The owners said they decided to take their furniture “on the road” and “test the waters here in Connecticut.” They hope to extend their lease should the demand and market call for it.

“We have been doing this for 30 years and it is all we know. This new retail sector is fun as we get to meet new people, learn what people do and help them to find what they need to work better and feel better. Knowing we are helping someone on many levels feels good. Saving them a lot of money is great. When people walk through our door to buy a single chair or to furnish an entire office and when they see our inventory and the prices their reaction to us is, ‘Why would we go anywhere else?’ or ‘Why would we buy new office furniture when we can buy this for 2/3 off new?’ That is what we are proud to offer. During the year we have clubs/organizations that we work for donations,” Russell said.

The Grand Opening of OFIS Furniture will be on Saturday, March 5th from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. They will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. They will also be open by appointment for home furnishing clients. 

The owners will be on hand at the Grand Opening to meet and greet visitors. Mention “Buzz” to get $20 off your purchase. For more information, call OFIS Furniture at (732) 677-8450 or Rick Castro at (203) 733-8807 or visit their website: OFISfurniture.com.

Brookfield Arts Commission Announces Addition to ‘Shorts & to the Point’ Film Festival

BROOKFIELD, CT—Brookfield has a long history in the film community and has held the “Shorts & to the Point” short film festival for 14 years running. This year, the Brookfield Arts Commission (BAC) is expanding their offerings with the addition of a regional screening of shorts by local, indie filmmakers. 

Commission member Jeremy Farrell said, “We could not be more excited to take this opportunity to highlight up and coming filmmakers from our corner of the world! The entire Arts Commission is looking forward to seeing all of the amazing submissions and showing the best to the wonderful folks of Brookfield and beyond.”

On April 2, 2022 the Commission will host a lovely Saturday afternoon viewing of short films by independent filmmakers. Filmmakers residing in Connecticut and its bordering states of Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island, or films having been shot in these states, are invited to submit to the screening.

The “Regional Indie Afternoon” will be a wonderful addition to the “Shorts & to the Point” Brookfield Film Festival which is scheduled to run in the Brookfield Theatre, April 1-3, 2022. The BAC looks forward to highlighting the works of independent filmmakers alongside more established filmmakers. Filmmakers accepted to the festival are also invited to be part of a Q&A panel discussion immediately following the screening. If you are an independent filmmaker who makes short films, they want to hear from you!

Submissions were opened on December 1st, and the submission deadline is March 1, 2022. To learn more, visit https://filmfreeway.com/ShortsandtothePoint and feel free to reach out to brookfieldartscommissionct@gmail.com with any questions.

For more information regarding Regional Indie Afternoon, please contact Jeremy Farrell at jeremykf60@gmail.com.

%d bloggers like this: