Tag Archives: Muhammad Ali

Roundup: Sales Tax, Harvest Fest, Muhammad Ali …

Connecticut’s 22nd “Sales Tax-Free Week” is underway.

Most clothing and footwear items under $100 are available without the 6.35% sale and use tax.

It’s timed for back-to-school shopping. Exceptions including specialty items like athletic uniforms, gloves, specialty shoes, ice skates, wet suits and jewelry.


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Tickets went on sale this morning for Wakeman Town Farm’s 10th annual Harvest Fest. The “fun-raiser” is set for Saturday, September 10 (6 to 10 p.m.).

The always-sold out outdoor affair includes seasonal fare and drink, contributed by local farmers and rock star chefs

This year’s event is cocktail-party style, with tents and multiple food stations (no sit-down dinner) so guests can mix and mingle. When the stations close, there’s Champagne, dessert and a live auction — followed by dancing to a live band. 

The online auction opens September 6. Click here for more information, and details.

Scenes from a previous Wakeman Town Farm Harvest Fest.

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The Westport Library has added 5 new works to its collection. All are hung inside — and all are the works of 3 artists, all with Westport connections.

They include a piece donated by 1966 Staples High School graduate and internationally known artist Charles Joyner; an iconic image of Muhammad Ali donated by photographer Richard Frank, and 3 collages by Fred Otnes.

Joyner came to Westport in 1964 from North Carolina. He was 16 years old, part of the American Friends Service Committee’s “Southern Negro Student Program” which placed Southern Black students with Northern host families.

Joyner graduated from Staples High School in 1966. He’s spent the past 50-plus years as an artist, printmaker, photographer and college professor. His work has been shown across the US and Africa. This past spring his exhibit — “Charles Joyner: Stepping Out on Faith” was featured in the Library’s Sheffer Gallery.

“Stepping Out on Faith” (Charles Joyner)

Frank has lived in Westport for more than 30 years with his wife Leona, a painter and art teacher. In addition to many notable works, he documented the Library’s Transformation Project, completed in 2019. His 1969 Ali image is one of his most famous.

“Muhammad Ali, Jake’s Diner, Athens, Ohio” (Richard Frank)

Otnes moved to Westport in 1953. He quickly became part of the town’s community of illustrators, working and living here until his death in 2015 at age 89.

The 2 paintings by Fred Otnes and the Joyner piece all hang in the Library’s mezzanine. The Otnes illustration is in a conference room, while the Ali image is located prominently in the 1st-floor stairwell.

For more on the Library’s art, click here.

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Save the dates:

The Westport Downtown Association’s 3rd annual Fitness & Health event returns on Saturday, September 18, on Main Street and nearby.

Fleet Freet, TAP Strength, Club Sweat, Pure Barre, Row House, The Dance Collective, Pause + Purpose, First Step and Kaia Yoga Center have already signed on. More details will be announced soon.

Also back: the 4th annual Westoberfest (Saturday, October 15, Elm Street). It’s a day of Oktoberfest-style entertainment. Local and regional craft breweries offer seasonal and classic pours, plus live music, plenty of food, market vendors and family-friendly activities. Click here for more information, and tickets.

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Violins and golf don’t often go together.

But Suzuki Music School plans a fundraiser for September 16 — at the Yale golf course.

The non-profit serves many area youngsters, including those through the KEYS of Bridgeport program. They receive free music instruction and performance opportunities.

The event — one of the last chances to play golf at Yale, before a 2-year renovation — includes cart, food and beverages, prizes and live music.
Entry is $350 for a single player, $1200 for a foursome. For more information, click here.

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Today’s very cool “Westport … Naturally” photo comes from Lucy Zeko. She took it this weekend, at Burying Hill Beach.

(Photo/Lucy Zeko)

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And finally … Malvina Reynolds was born on this day, in 1900. You may not know the singer/songwriter/political activist’s name — but you probably know her music. She died in 1973.

Muhammad Ali Meets Westport Soccer

The death yesterday of Muhammad Ali at age 74 brought to mind my most memorable encounter with the legendary heavyweight champ. Not surprisingly for me — but certainly for Ali — it involves soccer.

On October 1, 1977 Pele played his last game. The exhibition match at Giants Stadium — between his current Cosmos team and the famous Brazilian Santos club from the bulk of his career — drew a sellout crowd of 77,000. It was televised worldwide by ABC.

Muhammad Ali and Pele: 2 of the greatest athletes of the 20th century.

Muhammad Ali and Pele: 2 of the greatest athletes of the 20th century.

I was just out of college, starting my coaching career. My Westport Soccer Association U-12 team was invited to perform on the field, during pre-game ceremonies. (Our thick and strong Westport-Cosmos connections extended all the way to the highest levels.)

It was a wild day, filled with highlights. But one of the most memorable came in the tunnel underneath the stadium, as we waited to jog on the field.

Golf carts rolled by, with every celebrity imaginable. Here was Frank Gifford and (Westport’s) Jim McKay. There was President Carter’s son.

But the only one our players cared about was Muhammad Ali.

Muhammad Ali 2

Two days earlier, he’d fought Earnie Shavers in a brutal Madison Square Garden bout. Ali’s face was bruised, and he wore big sunglasses. He was clearly not someone to mess with.

That hardly stopped Philip Dalmage. One of 2 African American players on our team, he had the courage and innocence of a 12-year-old to yell out, “Hey, Ali!”

The champ stopped. He was a couple of feet away from our young player. The 2 looked at each other.

Ali’s hands were at his sides. Then, suddenly — so quickly I still cannot believe it happened — those same hands were on Philip’s head, tousling his hair.

“Hey, brother,” Ali said. And then — poof! — he moved on.

Muhammad Ali punch

We have all heard how quick he was. Ali’s fast hands were one of the secrets to his success.

But “quick” does not describe what I saw. One moment those lightning hands were one place. The next — without me seeing them move — they were somewhere else entirely. It was one of the most subtle — and amazing — things I have ever witnessed.

Muhammad Ali will be remembered for many things. He was as important a man outside the ring as he was in it.

But among everything he accomplished, that moment in the Giants Stadium tunnel will stay with me forever. Nearly 40 years later, I’m still awed by what I saw.

Or — really — never saw.