Roundup: Harvest Fest, Justin Paul, Patty Haberstroh …

Two major events last night drew hundreds of people each — and showed Westport at its best.

Wakeman Town Farm’s annual Harvest Fest featured fantastic food and music, a great raffle, and the very cool ambiance of one of the town’s true jewels. (And added treat: Drinks were served, and hors d’oeuvres passed, by some of our top officials and celebrities.)

Under the Wakeman Town Farm tent, before the dancing. (Photo/Andrew Colabella)

Two hours later, “Justin Paul & Friends” — including Kelli O’Hara, James and Greg Naughton, Staples Players, and a host of top Broadway talent — rocked the Westport Country Playhouse.

It was a roof-raising celebration of a successful drive to save the 93-year-old institution. Grammy-, Oscar- and Tony-winner/2002 Staples High School graduate Justin was effusive in his praise for what the Playhouse — and Westport’s embrace of the arts generally –has meant to his career, and his life.

He and his fellow performers bought their “A” game. It was a perfect kickoff to the Playhouse’s next 93 years.

Justin Paul (center) and fellow performers acknowledge the band and audience, at last night’s Westport Country Playhouse curtain call.

PS: It would have been 3 huge events yesterday. But Slice of Saugatuck was postponed to September 30, due to weather concerns.


Patty Haberstroh’s many friends and admirers are invited to a celebration of her life, on Monday, September 18 (1:30 p.m., The Inn at Longshore).

The longtime Department of Human Services social worker died in July, following a long and inspiring battle with ALS.

Patty Haberstroh


A year ago, a group of interested Westporters founded Club 203. The non-profit fills an important need: social opportunities for adults with disabilities.

Another new non-profit — Club SpEd — has just formed. Its goal is to create a welcoming community for parents of neuro-diverse children.

Founders say: “In a town where friendships often blossom at school bus stops, on soccer fields and during birthday parties, the question arises: What happens when your child’s journey takes a different path? When they aren’t on the same bus, aren’t traversing the neighborhood on their bike, or aren’t receiving as many party invitations? For many families with children who have special needs, forging these essential connections becomes a more arduous task.

“Club SpEd aims provide a much-needed social outlet for parents who share similar experiences. Founders David Herling, Bia Hittman, Becky Martin and Abby Gordon-Tolan discovered their own enduring friendship through their roles as PTA Special Education representatives in local schools.”

The first event — SpEDTEMBER — is set for Thursday, September 21 at Compo Beach’s Ned Dimes Marina. There will be a taco truck and selection of adult beverages, all included for $70 per person.

For more information or to RSVP, email The Facebook page is Club SpEd Westport; Instagram and Venmo: @ClubSpEd.


So how did Annam Olasewere do?

“06880” reported yesterday that the Staples High School junior was in Israel, representing the US at the World Aquatics Junior Championships. 

She was in the finals of the 50-meter freestyle yesterday — a race shown just after noon on the Westport Library’s big screen.

Annam placed second! Her silver medalist 25.95 seconds was just .36 off the winning time.

Congratulations, Annam! An amazing performance.

And one that will strike fear in the hearts of other teams throughout the state, when she returns soon to the Staples swim and dive team.

PS: Couldn’t watch yesterday? Click here for the replay!

Annam Olasewere (left), on the Westport Library’s big screen at yesterday’s World Aquatics Junior Championship medal ceremony. (Photo and hat tip/Allison Ziering Walmark)


Speaking of sports: Westport history was made yesterday. Two girls — Ariel Gayle and Isabella Jokl — played for the PAL Westport Wreckers modified flag football travel team.

Go, Wreckers!

Isabella Jokl and Ariel Gayle.


Speaking still of sports:

Avery Mueller scored the first goal of the season for Staples’ boys soccer team Friday, on a penalty kick against Ridgefield. Here’s his celebration:

(Photo/Mark Sikorski)

Unfortunately, neither that goal nor the one Mueller scored a minute later counted.

Lightning halted the match with 17 minutes remaining in the first half, and the Wreckers up 2-0. According to league rules, any game stopped before halftime must be replayed.

From the 0-0 beginning. A makeup date has not yet been set.


If you missed last month’s pop-up art gallery in a Compo Beach back yard: You’re in luck.

David Johnson and his wife Holly Jaffe Johnson invite everyone to “Works on Paper.” The collection — never before seen in its entirety, many on public view for the first time — will be displayed at 15 Bradley Street, off Compo Road South near Compo Beach, next Sunday (September 17, 3 p.m. until dusk).

It’s a great end-of-summer art sale, well below their gallery prices.

And if you missed the “06880” story about Johnson’s first show, click here.

David Johnson’s outdoor art on Bradley Street, last month.


This just in: the Japanese fall festival scheduled for today at Jesup Green has been canceled.


Connie Converse is redefining the narrative of singer-songwriter history, bridging the gap between traditional Americana (country, blues, folk, jazz and gospel), the Great American Songbook, classical art song, and the singer-songwriter movement sparked by Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell.

But she did it a decade earlier.

Converse is the focus of the inaugural Westport Library Verso Book Club event. Howard Fishman, author of the New York Times feature “Before Dylan, There Was Connie Converse. Then She Vanished,” and the book To Anyone Who Ever Asks: The Life, Music, and Mystery of Connie Converse,” will speak on October 5 (7 p.m.).Registration is required; click here. For more information, click here.


Lucy Zeko captured — on camera only — this magnificent creature, at Burying Hill Beach.

It’s one more reason to love “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Lucy Zeko)


And finally … if you’ve never heard of Connie Converse (see story above) — or even if you have — here’s what she was all about:

(Art, sports, music, books, people — “06880” covers it all. Please click here to support your hyper-local blog. Thank you!)

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