Category Archives: Arts and Culture

#CTWriters Can Relieve Stress Through Westport Writers Workshop Online Classes

WESTPORT, CT—Feeling tired, anxious, stressed, and/or overwhelmed all at the same time? You’re not alone. Many have been feeling the effects of the quarantine and the associated stressors. Recent studies have shown there’s a pill-free way to cope.

Several studies have shown a high prevalence of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic symptoms in health care workers, according to an article by Frontiers in Psychology, and that what research has shown that “expressive writing” can work as a form of therapy for people undergoing these feelings.

“Over the past 25 years, several researchers have examined the effects of writing about traumatic life events. Pennebaker’s Expressive Writing task involves writing about a traumatic experience for a controlled period of time, on consecutive days….. several studies have shown the benefits of writing across different sessions about personal experiences with stressful life events. This procedure has been associated with the reduction of physical and mental symptoms both in clinical and normal simples.” (Procaccia, 2021).

So where can you find some writing relief? At the Westport Writers Workshop! Since the shutdown, WWW has been offering interactive writing workshops, classes, and events online for experienced and aspiring writers alike in a supportive, welcoming environment. Taught by experienced, professional, published authors, these classes have served as an outlet for the community to craft and develop their work while offering a release of stress through a positive, therapeutic tool. Since last spring’s launch of an online-only learning environment, they have even more classes and workshops to cater to the needs of their attendees.

In addition to writing about personal experiences in several classes, writers can also try their hand at writing children’s picture books, poetry, memoir, and much more. For a full list of offerings, visit the Westport Writers Workshop‘s website.

Executive Director Liz Matthews was happy to announce that “we will bring back in-person workshops this fall, along with continuing to offer our remote workshops.”

Students of the classes shared how much they have helped them in their writing journey.

“I love everything about it. The instructor provides a safe and inspiring atmosphere and the level of positive feedback when we workshop our writing is unparalleled. I feel honored to be a part of this talented and courageous group of writers and to hear and share writing. I am left awestruck after each class,” Amy Egbert stated.

“I’m grateful that Westport Writers’ Workshop only allows students to listen during their critiques and not speak. It allows us to let go and be okay with what we’ve written as we grow. I’ve made tremendous writing progress, I’m getting positive feedback, and I’m preparing to solicit agents,” said R.J. Grand.

Since its inception in 2003, the Westport Writers Workshop has developed into one of the most highly respected programs in the area for writers of fiction, memoir, romance, playwriting, children’s literature, and much more. Through leadership and training from a stellar team of published, award-winning authors, students gain a deep understanding of the elements of writing and many go on to be published authors as well.

Summer 2021 Westport Writers Workshop’s class offerings are as follows:

Intermediate Fiction: A Generative, Craft-based Class with Jessica McEntee

  • Online via ZOOM
  • 6 Mondays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • June 21, 29, July 6, 13, 20, 27

Memories Real and Imagined with Rahla Xenopoulos

  • Online via ZOOM
  • 6 Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 12 noon
  • June 22, 29, July 6, 13, 20, 27

Intro to Fiction with Libby Waterford

  • Online via ZOOM
  • 6 Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • June 24, July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

Picture Book Writing 201 with Valerie Bolling

  • Online via ZOOM
  • 6 Tuesdays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • June 22, 29, July 6, 13, 20, 27

Summer Intensive: Poetry & Prose with Jessie McEntee

  • Online via ZOOM
  • 10 a.m. to 12 noon
  • Monday to Thursday
  • July 6, 7, 8, 9

All of the Westport Writers Workshop workshops offered on Zoom are open to writers of all skill levels. Visit their Zoom tutorial pages to learn more about how to use the platform or contact Liz Matthews Executive Director, Westport Writers’ Workshop at exec@westportwriters.org or (203) 227-3250.

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 grew to include writers and instructors outside of our immediate community.

westportwriters.org

Photo credit: Westport Writers Workshop

Danbury Couple Finds Healing in the Embrace of Furry Friend

DANBURY, CT—

DANBURY, CT—A Danbury couple who recently lost their special needs son has found healing in the warm embrace of a furry friend. Stephanie Lyons-Keeley and her husband, Wayne Keeley, are mourning the loss of Wayne’s 23-year-old son, Wyatt, who passed away from complications due to Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) just three days before Christmas last year. With the help of a special furry feline friend they named Luke, they’ve been able to find some comfort and joy.

“We adopted Luke in great part to help mitigate my grief after losing Wyatt,” Wayne said. “And also because we knew we had the love, time, and attention to give to a special needs cat,” Stephanie added.

Luke is a “Minskin”—1/4 Sphynx, 1/4 Devon Rex, 1/4 Munchkin, and 1/4 Burmese—a breed which is currently the process of being fully accepted into The International Cat Association (TICA). Paul McSorley began crossbreeding the four cats in Boston in 1998 with plans to develop a cat with the finest traits in all of them, Stephanie explained. “In Luke, he definitely succeeded,” she said.

Luke wears diapers and has limited use of his hind legs. He’s been diagnosed with spina bifida, but a veterinary specialist wants to rule out a mass, other spinal deformity, or a spinal infection. Lukee will need an MRI to confirm. The differently-abled designer kitty was previously named “Able” but is now named Luke, after Luke Skywalker.

“Wyatt was a fan of Star Wars,” Stephanie noted,”and one of his favorite shows in the months before his passing was The Mandalorian. We learned that Luke means ’bright, white, bringer of light’ and were amazed. That’s just what Wyatt was and what Luke is as well. They both brought an amazing light to our lives. Everywhere we’d go, when people met Wyatt, they were charmed by his vibrant smile and go-getter attitude. He was always up for anything. Now with Luke, it’s much the same! Perhaps Wyatt brought us to Luke. Wyatt is our guardian angel and Luke is our angel cat on Earth.”

The Danbury Animal Welfare Society (DAWS) has taken an interest in Luke.Dr. Brenner, the primary veterinarian, saw him free of charge for his initial vet care.

“All of the staff fell in love with him,” Stephanie said.

“It was our pleasure to be Luke’s first stop on the long medical journey ahead of him. Our mission at DAWS is dedicated to improving the lives of animals. Doctor Brenner and our veterinary team performed a complimentary exam for Luke as part of our “Paw It Forward” program. We do our best to support pet owners in our community facing challenges, such as the financial ones that are often associated with a special needs pet. We were touched by Luke’s story and are hopeful that he will continue to thrive with the love and care the Keeleys provide,” stated Alice Meenan, Director of Development and Marketing with DAWS.

The couple is embarking upon getting a definitive diagnosis for Luke as well as pursuing potential treatment which could include surgery and/or a wheelchair, among other things.

“We are seeing a highly respected veterinarian named Jason Berg at Guardian Veterinary Specialists in Brewster. We began a GoFundMe to help with those costs. The MRI alone with fees will be upwards of $4,000 and that’s without any treatment,” said Stephanie.

She is hoping to spread the word across her social media channels to help fund his treatment.

“Because of the attention he’s been getting, and due in part to the pandemic and being home so much, I also began pursuing my artistic side. I opened stores on Etsy, Threadless, and Amazonthat feature his photo prints and other merchandise which have been digitally and artistically enhanced. He’s so beautiful, easy going, a great cat model, and wears bow ties and other clothing, that people just can’t get enough of him!”

If you would like to contribute to Luke’s medical expenses, please visit the family’s GoFundMe page: https://gofund.me/fa2d8106

Follow Luke’s journey by visiting any of the social media profile pages below:

  • Instagram: @luke_able_minskin and @lightbringershop
  • Facebook: @lukeableminskin and @lukelightbringershop

Aspiring & Established Writers Are Invited To Westport Online Writing Workshops

WESTPORT, CT— While vaccines are rolling out to more age groups in Connecticut, many still find themselves quarantined and working from home. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only impacted the way we live but has also changed the way we learn. Students and adults alike have learned the ins and outs of Zoom which has been an important tool for students, employers, and other organizations.

The Westport Writers Workshop found the Zoom online platform to be invaluable in enabling them to continue their online learning workshops not only in Connecticut but across the nation.

Liz Matthews, Executive Director of Westport Writers Workshop said, “Now that our workshops are being offered remotely, we have writers joining us from all over the country. The writers benefit from a broader range of feedback, and we preserve the closeness of each group with a max of seven participants.”

Matthews, a writer, and editor began her professional career in publishing at a literary agency and as an Editorial Assistant at Random House before teaching middle and high school English at Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn. A mom of two school-aged children, Matthews learned to adapt to juggling responsibilities of working from home, homeschooling her children, and running a nonprofit agency since the COVID-19 shutdown back in Mach of 2020.

Last spring Matthews shared that their swift decision to move to online classes and workshops was due to being located in a town with one of the highest numbers of Coronavirus cases in the state. She added that “rolling with the changes” was something they had to do for the sake of everyone’s health and sanity.

“Writing, like many, provides a creative escape in the crazy times we’re living in,” she said.

Since last spring’s launch of an online-only learning environment, they have added even more classes and workshops to cater to the needs of their current and soon-to-be attendees. Students range from beginning and aspiring writers to published authors. All are welcomed in a supportive environment that offers valuable feedback and positive critiques that have enabled their student to land literary agents, book deals, prestigious awards, and more.

“The class gave me material for further exploration! Also, my classmates were wonderful. It’s as though we all became friends through the class and it felt as though we were all in a non-virtual class together, fully participating.” -M.S. a student.

Since its inception in 2003, the Westport Writers Workshop has developed into one of the most highly respected programs in the area for writers of fiction, memoir, romance, playwriting, children’s literature, and much more. Through leadership and training from a stellar team of published, award-winning authors, students gain a deep understanding of the elements of writing and many go on to be published authors as well.

Spring 2021 Westport Writers Zoom Workshops offerings are as follows:

Memories Real & Imagined with Rahla Xenopoulos

· This workshop is designed for experienced, published authors as well as for novices who have a hidden story to excavate and tell. It is designed for people who have a flickering feeling that they might have a book hidden within but need to discover what that book is about, for people who have been sitting on a book but haven’t managed to start and so too it is designed for people who enjoy the therapy of creative writing. But, above all it is designed for people who yearn for a place of kindness. Bring pen, paper and an open heart. All people who identify as women are welcome.

· 7 Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

· March 30, April 6, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18

Workshop in Poetry, All Levels – Manuscript Course with Charles Rafferty

· This class is for students interested in learning about the genre from Charles Rafferty, a frequent contributor to The New Yorker. 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. The manuscript component of this course will be the following: each student may submit one poem in advance of each class to the instructor, for classroom discussion.

· 7 Tuesdays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

· March 30, April 6, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18

Picture Book Writing 101 with Valerie Bolling

· Have you always wanted to write a picture book? Maybe you have a story idea but haven’t written it down yet. Perhaps you have a draft of a manuscript that you want to revise. No matter where you are in your writing journey, this course is specifically designed for you … if you want to WRITE A PICTURE BOOK! Plus… A special guest will visit one of our sessions! James McGowan, an agent at BookEnds Literary Agency, has generously offered to answer class participants’ questions about picture books and the publishing industry.

· 7 Tuesdays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

· March 30, April 6, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18

Creative Writing for Kids with Christina Pakkala

· Join Christina Pakkala for an hour of writing fun! Yes, you heard right. Writing CAN be fun when the only rule is to let your imagination FLY. We’ll play some writing games, write some stories, poems, and whatever we feel like. For grades 3 through 5. Christine Pakkala is the author of six books for children, including a picture book, Chasing Ricky.

· 7 Wednesdays, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

· March 31, April 7, 21, 28, May 5, 12, 19

Young Adult Fiction with Mike Belanger

· This workshop deals with the nuts-and-bolts of writing young adult fiction. Throughout the workshop, the focus will be on different aspects of craft, including voice, setting, plot, and dialogue. Examples from current popular YA novels will be provided along with exercises to help hone your work in progress or inspire your new novel. Students will share their writing and receive feedback from other students and the instructor. This class is for adults writing novels in any genre (i.e. realistic fiction, fantasy, historical fiction) for young adult readers, and is suitable for all levels of writers.

· 7 Thursdays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

· April 1, 8, 22, 29, May 6, 13, 20

Register for a class by clicking here. To check if a class is full, call (203) 227-3250 or email exec@westportwriters.org.

All of the Westport Writers Workshop spring workshops offered on Zoom are open to writers of all skill levels. Visit their Zoom tutorial pages to learn more about how to use the platform or contact Liz Matthews Executive Director, Westport Writers’ Workshop at exec@westportwriters.org or (203) 227-3250.

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 grew to include writers and instructors outside of our immediate community.

westportwriters.org

Photo credit: Westport Writers Workshop

“EGG” Your Friends This Easter with a Custom Lawn Sign Package or a Unique Gift Basket from Salutations Custom Greetings!

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, CT—A local mom has created a new business that’s geared towards helping children and families celebrate the holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions while still remaining socially distant. What started as ‘Veggie-Grams” this past summer, Advent deliveries for local church kids this past Christmas, as well as sympathy, birthday, get well, and general pick-me-up baskets had one entrepreneur thinking that this surprise greeting is a welcome idea during difficult times.

Salutations Custom Greetings was born out of the owner, Wendy Mitchell’s idea to bring her vegetable surplus to family and friends during the early months of the quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic. It then turned into customized cards and gift baskets for her family who she could not visit due to lockdown, and packages for her friends and neighbors. This past month, Wendy she created a highly successful “You’ve Been SHAMROCKED!” fundraiser at a nonprofit where she volunteers and soon after decided to launch her own business.

The business is a women-owned, mother-daughter venture in which Wendy’s 20-year-old apprentice, Ruby Mitchell, helps with buying, packing, delivering, and shipping packages. Ruby said, “I’ve worked with my mom for the last few years with her kids events and I’m a creative person so this is something that’s fun for me to do. Plus aI can go to school [at WestConn] and help out with this when I have my free time. I think it’s a great idea and people really seem to like the baskets. We have ones for pet owners too!”

All food items are from U.S.A. Mom & Pop businesses whose quality and safety standards are second to none.

Salutations Custom Greetings, states on their social media pages that they are “Super EGG-cited” to bring their very FIRST lawn sign/gift basket offering to the local community….”You’ve Been EGGED!” is an Easter lawn sign package that brings the holiday spirit from your hearts to your loved ones’ homes.

Those who purchase the package(s) can surprise their kids, friends, teachers, a local hero, and/or loved ones with a colorful lawn decoration set that says, “You’ve Been EGGED!” The package includes a festive lawn sign with two egg smaller Easter signs, a dozen candy-filled eggs and a personalized poem. Additional offerings include a gourmet Easter candy basket with gourmet chocolate-peanut butter bunnies, chocolate-dipped Peeps, chocolate covered Oreos and more. Another option is a candy-free toys only basket that includes a mini sketch journal, colored pencils, bubbles, sidewalk chalk and a cute pink, purple, or blue stuffed bunny.

While Salutations Custom Greetings’ website is under construction, they’re asking you to HOP on over to their Eventbrite page to peruse their one-of-a-kind gifts and goodies. Order by clicking here before they’re all sold out!

QUESTIONS? Call, text, or email (203) 501-7424 SalutationsCustomGreetings@gmail.com.

Danbury Irish Cultural Center Plans Scaled-Down St. Patrick’s Day Plus 2 Fundraisers

DANBURY, CT—Almost a year since their last St. Patrick’s Day Parade and events were canceled due to COVID-19, the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center​ (GDICC) has opened at limited capacity and is ramping back up with a smaller-scale, safety-conscious St. Patrick’s Day. This year’s normally month-long “most wonderful time of the year” for the Hibernians, will be held online via Facebook live stream and in-person with a limited number in attandance.​

In partnership with the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation (GDICF), the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center (GDICC) Board has planned an in-person and a live-stream St. Patrick’s Day with curbside pick-up and live music with limited attendance due to Covid safety regulations.  ​

In addition to the 2020 and 2021 parade cancellations, last year’s Danbury Irish Festival cancellation, and the nixing of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Ball all due to COVID, the Foundation and Fundraising Committee has come up with two unique fundraising activities to bring the spirit of the Emerald Isle from their hearts to your homes. 

The first of these is the Irish Breakfast Basket​ fundraiser. For just $40, the Irish Breakfast Basket (bag) includes one pound each of fresh, top-quality bacon, sausage, pudding, brown bread, and a selection of yummy products from the fine folks at Kerrygold USA. Order online here.​ The order deadline is March 8, 2021.  Order pickup is curbside at the GDICC, 6 Lake Ave. Danbury​ on Saturday, March 13 between 12 – 5 p.m. 

The second fundraiser is “You’ve Been SHAMROCKED​!” which is a fun way to decorate your front lawn or surprise your friends. For only $20, you can deck your lawn or nominate a health care worker, teacher, school employee, a local hero, and shamrock them as your way to say “THANK YOU” for their selfless service during Covid!​

Each lawn decorating package includes 1 lawn sign, 7 lucky shamrocks, 3 balloons* (colors of the Irish flag), ribbon, a “pot” of GOLD in the form of gold-foil-wrapped chocolates, and a poem. Order now through 3/17 (or until they sell out). Order online here​ or complete an order form at the GDICC – ask the bartender for a form. Checks for $20 are payable to “GDICF. Order pickup is curbside at the GDICC, 6 Lake Ave. Danbury​, ​on Saturday, March 5, and Sunday, March 6 between 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. 

Both fundraisers benefit the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. For more information, email DanburyIrish@gmail.com.

On St.Patrick’s Day, Wednesday, March 17th, corned beef will be available for take-out and curbside pick-up. Plans are still being finalized for in-person St. Patrick’s Day celebrations at the club. For the most up-to-date information, check the GDICC’s Facebook page​.​​​

Photo credit: Sean MacEntee via Flickr Creative Commons

#DanburyCT #JusticeforGeorge Peaceful Protest Ends in Group Split, Shutdown of Highway: #CTTraffic

All information in this article was due to the incredible live coverage from Al Robinson, owner/editor of My Left Nutmeg. To watch his entire live stream, please click here.

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DANBURY, CT—Danbury’s peaceful protest began with a crowd gathered in front of the Danbury Police Department (DPD) shouting the names of victims of police brutality and soon turned into chants of “F**k the police.” After about five minutes of chanting, one of the leaders invited the crowd to take a knee out of respect for the death of George Floyd.

“Let me speak, I’ve earned that. I don’t need to prove [inaudible], I wear it every day,” one of the speakers said. “Let the Chief speak.”

Danbury Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour addressed the crowd by saying he has been doing everything he can to address racial tensions because “it’s not right,” and “maybe this time will be different.”

While speaking, someone in the crowd interrupted the Police Chief yelling, “I am the victim of police brutality.” Another asked the question about what sort of diversity training the police does which was answered as “eight hours, every couple of years.”

Chief Ridenhour acknowledged that the diversity training protocols that are in place are not enough and they need to be changed.

As tensions grew, the shouts from the crowd made it difficult to hear the police chief. Mayor Mark Boughton also attempted to address the crowd, however, someone grabbed his microphone, according to Al Robinson of My Left Nutmeg, and the crowd and viewers were unable to hear what he had to say.

After about 20 minutes, the protesters split into two groups—one walking to the Danbury Public Library, and the other going to the highway.

The protesters who shouted, “Black Lives Matter” and “No justice, no peace” assembled on the highway, causing it to be temporarily shut down on I-84 at Exit 5.  Police from Newtown, Danbury, and State Police kept control of the crowd and no one was hurt.

Reporter Al Robinson of My Left Nutmeg said he had “mad respect” for the police who “did a good job keeping everyone safe.

 

Danbury Police Sgt. John Krupinsky said, “Working together can always get things done.”

Robinson said for the most part people were peacefully demonstrating and expressing their frustration on the lives lost due to past incidents of police brutality.  He ended his live stream by saying:

“We shouldn’t be here are looking for anything to pop off or anything violent. We should be here honoring why people are here in the first place—because a black man was murdered in broad daylight by the police again and enough is enough. Enough has been enough for a long time.”

The protest was organized by Solomon James and the Western CT Democratic Socialists.

Photo credit: Screenshot from Al Robinson’s Live video posted on My Left Nutmeg

To watch his entire live stream, please click here.

Danbury Kids Invited to Open House Sat. Sept, 7 & to Perform ‘Dia de Los Muertos’ Theater Show

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DANBURY, CT— Young Danbury area actors are invited to join the the GDICF Theatre Troupe‘s Open House on Saturday, Sept. 7th from 10am-12pm at the GDICC, 6 Lake Ave., Danbury. There will be free face painting, coloring, theater games, snacks and FUN!

Children who sign up for the 12-week session at the Open House get 10% off each student. If a child can not attend the Open House on Sept, 7, they can still register with the discount by signing up before Sept. 28, 2019, the day of the first class.

The fall mini production is a Dia de Los Muertos theme with songs from the popular Disney movie “Coco” on Saturday, Oct, 27, 2019 at 12 p.m. The winter play is on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019 at 2 p.m. and is called “Christmas Around the World.” Classes are on Saturday mornings from 10-11:30 a.m. at the GDICC, 6 Lake Ave. Danbury and is for ages 3-12.

All productions are 100% original, written directed and produced by “Miss Wendy” Mitchell who specializes in teaching beginner’s theater classes. Wendy has her Head Teacher Certification in Early Childhood Education through the State of Connecticut and over 20 years of experience teaching youth theater, preschool and working as a daycare director. Each child is taught at their own pace and kids of all skill levels are welcomed and embraced.

All proceeds from the winter show go to benefit the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, a charity that helps those in need in the community. In addition, we also hold a toy drive for Family & Children’s Aid the day of the winter show.

The GDICF Children’s Theater Troupe teaches kids that they can use their gifts and talents to help those in need in their community.

Questions? Call, text or email Miss Wendy: Wendyannmitchell@Live.com (203) 501-7424.

Photo by Therese Beck via Flickr Creative Commons

Danbury Area Children’s Theater Open House Includes Free Face Painting, Theater Games & Fun: Saturday, Sept. 7th

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DANBURY, CT—A local children’s theater troupe is inviting area children to come out to their fun and free children’s theater open house with the Danbury Youth Theater Troupe this Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. at the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center, 6 Lake Ave., Danbury, Conn. The event includes free face painting, theater games, arts and crafts, refreshments, and a meet and greet with the teachers.

Led by theater director Mrs. Wendy Mitchell, the theater classes encourage self-expression for children ages 3 – 12 years old in a safe, nurturing environment while educating kids about Irish folklore and various cultures. All productions are 100% original, written directed and produced by “Miss Wendy,” as the kids call her, who specializes in teaching beginner’s theater classes.

Miss Wendy has her Head Teacher Certification in Early Childhood Education and over 20 years of experience teaching theater, preschool and working as a daycare director. Each child is taught at their own pace and kids of all skill levels are welcomed and embraced!.

Students who sign up for the musical theater fall/winter 10-week session on the day of the open house will save 10%! The 10-week session is $150/student with a 10% sibling discount. Classes begin on Saturday, Sept. 28 and run each Saturday from 10-11:30 a.m. through Sat. Dec. 7, the day of their big show.

A free mini-production of “Wandering in the Willows” will be held at their Halloween blacklight GLOW party on Sun. Oct. 26th at 12 p.m. Songs from the popular movie “Coco” will be the backdrop for this colorful, engaging production.

The winter production of “Christmas Around the World” will be held on Sat Dec. 7th with a dress rehearsal on Fri. Dec. 6th. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for kids 3+up. All proceeds from the winter show go to benefit the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, a charity that helps those in need in our community. In addition, we also hold a toy drive for Family & Children’s Aid the day of the winter show.

The youth theater company is community-minded and teach kids that they can use their gifts and talents to help those in need in their community.  The weekly theater classes are for kids ages 3-12 years old. Siblings and friends are welcome and encouraged.

Questions? Call, text or email Miss Wendy: wendyannmitchell@Live.com (203) 501-7424.

Magic, Music & Culture in Store at This Year’s Danbury Irish Festival

DANBURY, CT —​ The 2019 Danbury Irish Festival is bigger and better than ever at its new location, 65 Sand Pit Rd., Danbury.

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Dancers from Bethel’s Doherty-Petri School of Irish Dance will perform at the indoor/outdoor event which takes place rain or shine. The festival features three local Irish dance schools, Irish vendors, cultural activities, children’s entertainment, Irish food and refreshments and nonstop musical entertainment all weekend long.

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The festival takes place on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Sept. 20, 21 and 22, 2019 and is presented by the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation, the Men’s and Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center, committee members, and volunteers.

This year’s festival is dedicated to its founder, Gerry Curran, who passed away in July of 2019. Curran, the former President of the Danbury Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, co-founded the Irish Festival with the help of Sharon Higgins, Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians president, as a fundraiser to build the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center which is now located at 6 Lake Ave. in Danbury. The first Irish Festival was held at Rogers Park in 1995 then moved to the Ives Center for many years before finding its new home on the grounds of the Danbury Portuguese Cultural Center.

Live music will perform on the main stage inside and festival goers can peruse authentic, traditional Irish jewelry and apparel from close to a dozen vendors. The Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians prepare delicious baked goods in the hospitality tent, and there is Irish food and drinks available for purchase as well.  Shop in the Irish Village and get your holiday shopping done early! Peruse gifts, jewelry, Irish instruments, and other authentic, unique gift ideas from the Irish vendors who will sell their wares. ​

Outside, the cultural tent showcases a broad range of Irish heritage and gives festival-goers an up-close experience of Irish traditional music, Gaelic language, history, dance, genealogy, film, theater, and literature through live performances, displays, lectures, and workshops. All weekend long there will be displays on Women of the Easter Rising, Book of Kells, Irish crochet, Irish language and classes, Irish family histories, genealogy, Irish blessings, Irish literature, history of the potato famine, Irish traditional music history and classes and much more.​

Also outside under the Cultural Tent will be the Children’s Tent which is open from 12-6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and includes a wide variety of entertainment and activities for children and their families. The Children’s Tent headline entertainer is Danny Diamond who will do balloon twisting on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 3-4 p.m. and a magic show from 1 – 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 22.  Miss Angie from PopRox Productions will be face painting Saturday and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. each day and there will be arts, crafts, games and more for children of all ages to enjoy.

The Greater Danbury Irish Festival will be held at 65 Sand Pit Road, Danbury, on the beautiful grounds of the Portuguese Cultural Center. Click here for more information.

INSIDE: Entertainment on the Main Stage:

Friday, Sept. 20, 2019:

  • 6:30 p.m. GDIF All-stars
  • 7:45 p.m. Mighty Ploughboys​

Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019:

  • 12:00 – Traveling Danburys
  • 1:00 – Thorne Academy of Irish Dance
  • 1:45 – Steve O’Tree and Friends
  • 2:45 -Ashurst Academy of Irish Dance
  • 3:30 – Highland Rovers
  • 4:15 – Tipperary Knights
  • 5:15 -Madz and the Ladz
  • 6:15 -Morrighan’s Flight
  • 7:30 – Highland Rovers
  • 8:45 – Tipperary Knights​

Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019:

  • 12:00 – Doherty Petri School of Irish Dance
  • 12:45 – Uncle Bill Whiskey and Friends
  • 1:45 – Celtic Cross Pipe and Drum
  • 2:30 – SHILELAGH LAW
  • 3:45 – Cunningham Brothers
  • 5:00 – GDIF All-Stars​

OUTSIDE: Cultural Tent Entertainment Schedule & Children’s Tent:​

Friday, Sept. 20, 2019

  • Displays on: Celtic Art, Book of Kells, Irish Crochet, Irish Language and Classes, Irish Family Histories, Genealogy, Irish Blessings, Irish Dance, Irish Literature, Irish Traditional Music History, World Meeting of Families in Ireland, Classes, and more

Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019

  • 12:00-1:00 PM: Music & Games with Miss Wendy
  • 1:00 – 6:00 PM: Face Painting with Miss Angie from PopRox Productions
  • 1:00 – 2:00 PM: Uilleann Piper – Chris Finnegan, Irish Speaker
  • 2:00 – 3:00 PM: Cultural Exhibit
  • 3:00-4:00 PM: The Magic of Danny Diamond balloon twisting
  • 4:15 – 5:15 PM: Tipperary Knights ​
  • 5:15 – 6:00 PM: Cultural Entertainment

Sunday Outside – Cultural/Kid’s Tent

  • 1:00 – 2:00 PM: Children’s Magic Show with The Magic of Danny Diamond
  • 2:00 – 3:00 PM: Children’s Sing-a-long & Games
  • 3:00 – 5:00 PM: Harp Performance – Regina Delaney
  • 5:00 – 6:00 PM: Andrew Carey Music

Children’s Activities

  • Bubble Zone
  • Chalk Zone
  • Face Painting
  • Leprechaun Bean Bag Toss
  • Carnival Games
  • Make & Shake a Shamrock
  • Thumbprint Rainbows
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Kid’s Crafts & and MORE!

Raffle Tickets:

  • Tickets are $5 each
  • First Prize is $2,000
  • Second Prize is $1,000
  • Third Prize $500
  • Email Colleen O’Rourke at corourke2@aol.com for raffle tickets

For more information, click here, email DanburyIrish@gmail.com, call the club at 203-739-0010 or call Publicity Chair Wendy Mitchell at 203-501-7424.

Bethel Summerfest Reschedules Activities Due to Heat Advisory

Screen Shot 2019-07-17 at 2.54.46 PMBETHEL, CT— The Town of Bethel has postponed this Saturday’s Summerfest due to the heat advisories issued by the National Weather Service.

Brad Koltz, President & Executive Director of the Bethel Chamber of Commerce announced Wednesday that the Bethel Summerfest scheduled for Saturday, July 20 will be rescheduled due to excessive heat forecasted for this weekend.

“After months of planning, we are reluctantly forced to reschedule this year’s SummerFest due to the unsafe heat advisory that has been issued for Saturday, with heat and high humidity creating unsafe conditions for outdoor activities. We will release the revised date and times soon, so please keep a lookout for that announcement.”

BeerFest is still on for Friday, July 26 from 6 to 9 p.m. with unlimited beer tastings and food samplings from local restaurants, live music, and games. Discounted tickets are available online at bethelbeerfest.com.

This Saturday, July 20, local merchants are hosting activities indoors for Summerfest due to the weather warning. The following businesses are hosting special events this Saturday:

PhotoWorks, who is celebrating their 10th anniversary, is hosting an artist reception on Saturday from 2 – 5:00 p.m. at 226 Greenwood Avenue. Click here for details.

Byrds Books, located at 178 Greenwood Avenue, is hosting an indoor summer “sidewalk” sale and visits by several authors throughout the day on Saturday:

  • 11:00 a.m.: Lauren Baratz-Logsted will sign “I Love You Michael Collins”
  • 12:00 p.m.: Donna Marie Merritt will sign her poetry and children’s books, including: “Her House and Other Poems” and Teensy Meensy Mice”
  • 1:00 p.m.: National Book Award nominee Vesper Stamper will sign “What the Night Sings”
  • 1:00 p.m.: Jack Sheedy will sign “Gandy Dancing”
  • 2:00 p.m.: Bethel’s Poet Laureate Cortney Davis will sign her poetry and “Learning to Heal”
  • 2:00 p.m.: Rob McWilliams will sign “The Kiss of Sweet Scottish Rain”

The Toy Room is an indoor sidewalk sale as well on Saturday with savings on merchandise of up to 75% off. From 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. the Sandcastle Guy from Create a Castle will visit and showcase his product. The Toy Room is located at 180 Greenwood Avenue.

For more information on this or other events, visit the Bethel Summerfest website.

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