This Sunday, Westport’s dog park really goes to the dogs.
The 7th annual Dog Festival takes over Winslow Park on May 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The event — produced by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and TAILS — celebrates all things canine.
The day includes guide dog and training demonstrations, a police K-9 presentation, an obstacle course (the winner gets a year’s supply of dog food), adoptables, kids activities, food trucks, information on non-profits, and more.
Prizes will be given for best tail wagger, best dressed, best kisser, best trick, best lap dog over 50 pounds and dog that most looks like its owner. Dog owners can register for the competitions at the festival, or online.
Surrounding the main activities are over 60 pet-related vendors, picture taking, caricatures, face painting, balloon bending and giveaways.
Proceeds from the entrance fee of $10 per person, and $30 for a family of 4 will benefit nonprofit organizations. So far, over $36,000 has been donated by the Chamber to local groups.
Parking is available at business lots along Post Road East. Click here for more Dog Festival information.
For months, the Board of Education has discussed an “Equity Study Action Plan.” The goal is to help all students feel a sense of belonging.
The debate continued Monday night, for 3 hours. But one of the most compelling comments came not from a board member, but from a teenager.
One who cannot even speak.
Wynston Browne — an autistic Staples High School sophomore — has made remarkable progress over the past 2 years, using a spelling device. His parents and teachers realize now that a very keen and incisive mind had been locked away for over a decade. Wynston’s goal is to be a neuroscientist.
On Monday, Wynston typed. His words appeared on screen: “I want to do things that all kids my age do. I want to eat lunch with friends in the Staples cafeteria, and laugh instead of being laughed at. I want to attend classes that are challenging.”
And, he concluded: “Everyone got it wrong, for so long. It’s time to make it right, starting now.”
Click here to see Wynston’s compelling 6-minute speech. He did not speak out loud — but his words said it all.
Effective immediately, the Westport Fire Department has banned all outside burning until further notice. The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for the entire state, due to extremely dry conditions.
The ban includes all recreational campfires and fire pits. Brush fires spread rapidly, and can threaten homes and property.
Today’s “Westport … What’s Happening” podcast features an introduction to the Westport Center for Senior Activities’ new director, Wendy Petty.
She discusses her plans for the center with 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker. Click below to listen to the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston production:
Westport Rotary club’s weekly lunches are always illuminating.
For 39 local non-profits, yesterday’s was also lucrative.
In a ceremony at Green’s Farms Church, the civic group distributed grants to each one. Funds came from the more than $200,000 raised by ticket sales and from sponsors of September’s LobsterFest.
Giving Committee chair Peter Helt handed charitable checks to representatives of, among others (in alphabetical order): A Better Chance of Westport, Builders Beyond Borders, Carver Foundation of Norwalk, Domestic Violence Crisis Center, Mercy Learning Center, Norwalk Housing Foundation, Positive Directions, Remarkable Theater, Staples Tuition Grants, Westport Book Sales Ventures, Westport Country Playhouse, and Westport Volunteer EMS.
75 percent of LobsterFest proceeds go to local organizations; 25 percent to international organizations.
Rotarian Rick Benson described a few of those projects, including water sanitation efforts in Kenya and providing medical equipment to a hospital in Uganda.
Rotary Club members and grant recipients, at Green’s Farms Church.
Jeff Scher is a prolific filmmaker and animator.
The 1972 Staples High School graduate — now back in Westport, working in a Cross Highway studio a few steps from his house — has created everything from an HBO documentary about a Holocaust survivor, to holiday videos for Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, and a short film about summer and water.
He made the official video for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Teach Your Children.”
Now he’s made another one for Graham Nash’s new album. It’s environmentally themed — and there’s a “no mower” section that’s very Westport.
Click below to see:
Wheels2UWestport’s Park Connect returns this summer. The service — funded by Connecticut’s Departments of Transportation, and Energy and Environmental Protection — provides free rides to and from anywhere in Westport and Sherwood Island State Park.
Similar free-ride programs are available at 6 other state parks.
Rides are available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends and holidays, beginning Memorial Day weekend and running through Labor Day.
Rides are available through the Wheels2U app Westporters use to and from the train station.
For more information about Wheels2U and Park Connect, click here. For more information about the Westport Transit District’s services for the elderly and people with disabilities, click here.
Sherwood Island — Westport’s “other” beach — is Connecticut’s first state park.
The Westport Woman’s Club and Congregation for Humanistic Judaism team up for an important event this Sunday (May 21; light breakfast, 9:30 a.m.; program, 10 a.m., 44 Imperial Avenue; click here for the livestream link with passcode 581845).
Dr. Deborah Varat, professor of art history at Southern New Hampshire University, presents “Arthur Szyk’s ‘The New Order’: How the Cartoons of a Polish Jew Helped Prepare the US for War.”
The cartoonist’s work helped Americans visualize and personalize the Nazi evil, against which they ultimately had to fight. Today his illustrations and impact on moving American public opinion toward readiness for war are commemorated in museums around the world. For more information on Szyk, click here.
Arthur Szyk’s “Freedom From Fear.”
Lime Rock Park celebrates the 37th anniversary of Paul Newman’s Trans-Am win with an exhibit of his racing estate on May 27, during the Trans Am Memorial Day Classic.
It includes helmets, racing suits and other memorabilia that former Westport resident Newman used during his storied career. Click here for tickets. (Hat tip: Frank Rosen)
Paul Newman at Lime Rock.
The Saugatuck Rowing Club was not around — not even a dream — when the Staples High School Class of 1983 graduated.
But that’s where their 40th reunion will be, on July 29 (6 to 10 p.m.).
Click here for tickets. Click here for the ’83 Facebook page.
Graduation Day, 1983.
This pond did not look particularly inviting — unless you’re a dog.
Mark Mathias captured today’s wet “Westport … Naturally” image at the Leonard Schine Preserve, off Weston Road.
And finally … happy 81st birthday to Taj Mahal.
The multi-talented musician (guitar, piano, banjo, harmonica and many other instruments) has incorporated Caribbean, African, Indian, Hawaiian and South Pacific sounds into his blues/rock/gospel/funk repertoire.
He has played all over the world — including, in 1971 and ’73, at Staples High School. He returned in 1974, to the Westport Country Playhouse.
(It’s a dog’s world, as the first story above explains. Don’t be a bitch. Help support “06880.” Please click here. Thank you!)
Looooove Taj Mahal! Have seen him numerous times, including in the 70’s at the infamous Shaboo Inn.
“Parking is available at business lots along Post Road East.”
Dan – trust this is not a blanket invitation for people to park at will on private property. I own a building on Post Road East and no way no how is anyone parking unless they have business with me.
Adrian ‘Gran Torino’ Little
Various business owners have given permission for their lots to be used this Sunday. I assume those lots will be marked.
Grouch alert!!!! Stay off Mr. Little’s property unless you’re a paying customer. Don’t even think about using his restroom. Just hold it or wear Depends.
Hmmm . . . I thought ’66 was the last outside commencement for it was hotter than hell. June Cleaver’s pearls were melting
Nope – outdoor ceremonies went on until the mid-80s. Now they’re back.
Wonder how much of the money raised at the doggie event is actually given to animal rescue eleemosynaries.
Taj Mahal at the Playhouse? Can anyone fill me in on the event and the date? I’m the Playhouse archivist and would love to include this on our chronology.
It might have been at the Players Tavern next door (now Gabriele’s). Mark Smolin’s “Rock and Roll High School” book lists both the Playhouse and Players Tavern together. Both venues hosted live music. No exact date was given, just the year 1974.
I saw Taj when I was a student at Springfield College. I also saw Tina Turner, J Geils, Chicago, James Taylor and Carly Simon. It’s amazing how much culture you could get if you were willing to get the hell out of Westport.
You’re kidding, right, Eric? Taj Mahal, Richie Havens, the Doors, Johnny Winter, the Blues Project, Sly & the Family Stone, and dozens of others played at Staples, the Players Tavern, the Playhouse and elsewhere. People came from all over the area for those shows.