Tag Archives: Saugatuck Sweets

Santa Comes To Bridgeport — And Westport

Last year, “06880” posted an urgent plea for help. The Cesar Batalla School in Bridgeport was running a toy drive for their elementary school students. But they were falling far short.

Their kids were in desperate situations: the highest poverty brackets, shelters, you name it. 100% are fed breakfast and lunch at school. Their families have no money for basic necessities — let alone holiday gifts.

Westporters came through — big time.

Some of the presents that poured in to the Cesar Batalla Elementary School last year. (Photos/Jimeale Hede)

This year, alert — and generous — “06880” reader Alexis Donnerstag remembered the drive. She asked how she could contribute again. I hadn’t heard anything from the school. But I sent her a link to their website.

Within a couple of hours, Benji Labrador called. He’s the school security officer. He said the woman who handled the drive last year is gone. He’s in charge, but did not know about the “06880” connection.

Now he does. And so do you.

Anyone can order gifts online — at Amazon, for example — and have them shipped to Benji at the school: 606 Howard Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06606. Click here for a direct link to Amazon’s Cesar Batalla page. You can drop gifts off at Vincent Palumbo Salon (616 Post Road East) — or directly at the school too.

For more information, email blabrador@bridgeportedu.net, or homerun5@optimum.net.

Meanwhile, closer to home, there’s a tree lighting — plus hot chocolate, s’mores and sliders — at the Riverside Avenue plaza (between Saugatuck Sweets and The Whelk) this Sunday (December 3, 4:30 to 7 p.m.) Santa arrives at 5:15 p.m.

The Gault family invites everyone to come. But they hope you’ll bring an unwrapped toy for a child age 10 or under. All gifts will be donated to Al’s Angels.

Who are they? Well — in addition to providing holiday joy for countless kids in the area — they’re the volunteers who light the William Cribari Bridge, just a couple of yards away from the plaza.

A little gift goes a long way.

Pic Of The Day #80

It could be any kids, anywhere, in any town. But these ones are ours, at Saugatuck Sweets. (Photo/Ken Wirfel)

Photo Challenge #112

“06880” readers really know their onions.

Well, their coal, anyway.

Last week’s photo challenge showed an old coal bin, on a couple of yards of rail track.

It’s right on the Saugatuck River, behind Saugatuck Sweets. Gault Energy put it there when Saugatuck Center was being redeveloped (in part by their company) several years ago. It pays homage to the long-ago days when boats brought coal up the river to Gault’s headquarters. The coal made part of its journey by rail, before being delivered to Westport customers. Click here for the photo.

Seth Schachter answered correctly, within 4 minutes of the posting. He was followed quickly by William Adler, Daniel Cummings, Virginia Tienken, Robert Mitchell, Peter Flatow, Jamie Roth, Linda Amos, Seth Goltzer, Josh Moritz and Brandon Malin. Congratulations to all (and thanks to Saugatuck Sweets, whose treats are the reason so many folks are down by the river in the first place).

This week’s photo challenge comes courtesy of John Videler. Coincidentally, he grew up right across the river from where the Gault coal bin now sits.

But his image shows a different place entirely. If you know where it is, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/John Videler)

(Photo/John Videler)


Slicing Up Saugatuck

Today was hot and humid. But it’s never too hot for Saugatuck’s great Italian food, from places like Tutti’s and Tarantino’s.

Or Mexican (Viva’s, Cuatro Hermanos), Thai (Rainbow) or Japanese (Kawa Ni).

Every restaurant — including Dunkin’ Donuts — was represented at this afternoon’s Slice of Saugatuck.

So were stores, ranging from liquor (99 Bottles) to sports (Attic) to my favorite — not just in Saugatuck but all of Westport (Indulge by Mersene).

The 5th annual event was sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce. Funds benefit the Gillespie Center food pantry. Slice is nice!

The line to sample Julian's pizza ran past Parker Mansion.

The line to sample Julian’s pizza ran past Parker Mansion.

Tutti's served up -- among other favorites -- spicy chicken.

Tutti’s served up — among other favorites — a tasty chicken dish.

Al DiGuido's Saugatuck Sweets scooped ice cream, on the plaza.

Al DiGuido’s Saugatuck Sweets scooped ice cream, on the plaza.

Things were quieter on the river, where Downunder offered kayaks.

Things were quieter on the river, where Downunder offered kayaks.

Bands -- rock, acoustic, even Caribbean -- played throughout Saugatuck. This group had a prime spot, at Bridge Square.

Bands — rock, acoustic, even Caribbean — played throughout Saugatuck. This group had a prime spot, at Bridge Square.

First Selectman Jim Marpe and his wife Mary Ellen hung out at the Black Duck.

First Selectman Jim Marpe and his wife Mary Ellen hung out at the Black Duck.

Cuatro Hermanos added a sombrero their rice and beans.

Cuatro Hermanos added a sombrero to their rice and beans.

A tae kwan do demonstration livened up Railroad Place. Shattered boards lie on the left.

A tae kwan do demonstration enlivened Railroad Place. Shattered boards lie on the left.

Saugatuck Digital Arts Workshop Opens Soon — In Fairfield

As a child of the 1960s and ’70s, Mike Stuttman knew Westport when it was filled with creative artist-types, and was a marketing mecca too.

He followed both paths. After Staples High School and the Cambridge School, Stuttman headed to the Rochester Institute of Technology for photography. “I loved it, but I couldn’t make ideas appear,” he says. Along the way, he was exposed to animation. So when he transferred to the University of Colorado, he majored in…


(Coleytown Junior High School teacher Otilia Malinowski had sparked that interest, years earlier.)

Mike Stuttman

Mike Stuttman

Stuttman embarked on a long career in direct marketing. He worked in New York and, locally, for the Ryan Partnership and Barry Blau. For the past 10 years, he’s consulted.

But around 2008 — when the recession hit — his phone stopped ringing. Stuttman — who’d never lost his passion for animation and computers — had an epiphany: Photoshop was just like cel animation.

He taught himself the software. Then in 2010, on a whim, he applied to New York’s School of Visual Arts, for an MFA in computer art.

It was a wonderful experience. Stuttman — newly energized — particularly enjoyed his technical classes, using software like After Effects. “I learned the craft of making digital art,” he says.

Next came a vision: replicating a space like SVA, to offer digital art classes locally. He could fill it with talented instructors, and students who want to make art with animation.

Westport — where his politically active mother Dora had run the Top Drawer store, and his father Burt owned a direct marketing firm — was the perfect spot. Stuttman — who loved the river — even had the perfect name: Saugatuck Digital Arts Workshop.

Saugatuck Digital Arts Workshop

He searched everywhere for the perfect location. He could not find one.

Finally, space became available in the old Fairfield Department Store building. It was within walking distance of the train station (he thought most instructors would commute from the city). There were great restaurants nearby.

“I’ve become that guy: a Westporter who’s a Fairfield convert,” Stuttman says.

He’ll offer software classes in computer art basics, digital darkroom, digital storytelling, digital sound for artists, computer sound, animation, editing and post-production, motion graphics, graphic design and small business marketing.

Classes typically run once a week for 2 hours, over the course of 6 weeks.

His potential audience includes “self-identified artists, and aspiring and working creative professionals” is vast: photographers, film and video makers, painters, graphic designers, musicians, sound designers, animators, editors, compositors, VFX artists, podcasters, DJs, makers and coders — and “the curious and creative.”

Students will use 8 “sexy, great and fully loaded 27” iMac workstations.

As it turns out, Stuttman has found a great pool of instructors right around here. They won’t need the train.

“And they’re excellent teachers — not just accomplished professionals,” Stuttman notes.

So when he opens right after Labor Day, why will Stuttman’s Fairfield space be called Saugatuck Digital Arts Workshop?

“I love rivers. The Saugatuck is not only in Westport, you know. I would have loved a red-brick, individual space. But it’s tough to find an inexpensive, small place in Westport.”

Besides, he’s not the only Fairfield business with a Westport name.

Saugatuck Sweets is around the corner.

(To learn more about Saugatuck Digital Arts Workshop, click here.)

Click here for “06880+”: The easy way to publicize upcoming events, sell items, find or advertise your service, ask questions, etc. It’s the “06880” community bulletin board!

Support Pete “Happy Feet” Romano

Westporters know and love Pete Romano for many things:

His civil engineering and site work for LandTech — including the redevelopment of Saugatuck. His involvement with Saugatuck Sweets, Westport’s 21st-century Ice Cream Parlor. His long years of volunteer work with Al’s Angels, PAL and many more organizations.

We do not, however, know and love Pete Romano for his dancing.

After this Saturday (April 9, 6:30 p.m., Rolling Hills Country Club), though, we might add that the list.

Pete will don his best duds, lace up his dance shoes, and join professional dancer Anna Belyavtseva in Elderhouse‘s “Dancing with the Stars” benefit.

The competition will be fierce — including Kitt Shapiro, founder and creator of “Simply Eartha” — but Pete is both a great competitor, and game.

His goal is $15,000 in pledges, to help the adult day care center that provides services to seniors coping with memory loss and other serious conditions.

There’s still time to contribute. Just click here. (In the spirit of friendly competition, Pete sent along Kitt Shapiro’s contributor’s page too — click here!)

And the next time you see Pete, tell him: “Shake a leg.”

Pete Romano and his friendly competitor, Kit Shapiro.

Pete Romano and his friendly competitor, Kitt Shapiro.


Sweet Sounds Of Summer Return

Last July, the “Sweet Sounds of Summer” on the plaza between Saugatuck Sweets and the Whelk was stilled. A few noise complaints doomed the popular band concert series.

The music soon moved around the corner, to the daily parking lot next to Luciano Park. But the vibe wasn’t the same.

All is now right by the river. Saugatuck Sweets co-owner Al DiGuido just received the okay for 6 acoustic concerts on the plaza. They’ll be held in June, July and August.

While they won’t be as loud as last year’s, they’ll be just as much fun.

Adult Swim rocked along the river last year -- before the "Summer Sounds" concert series was shut down.

Adult Swim rocked along the river last year — before the “Summer Sounds” concert series was shut down.

Meanwhile, over in Fairfield — where Saugatuck Sweets just opened their 2nd store — they’ve been approved for 11 concerts at the gazebo on the Town Green, just across Reef Road from their shop.

DiGuido is already booking all his acts.

Sweet Saugatuck News

Saugatuck Sweets is all about community. Westport’s happiest store sponsors summer concerts on the plaza, and Halloween fun in the fall.

As the holidays approach, they’ve added festive decorations out front, and a mailbox for Santa’s letters by the door.

So it seems entirely appropriate that the place where everyone hangs out and shares news should have some of its own.

Saugatuck Sweets Christmas

“It’s A Boy!” boasts a blue stork sign, right near the festive lights on Riverside Avenue.

Whose boy?

Owner Al DiGuido — everyone’s favorite angel — and his wife Chris welcomed their 6th grandchild on Tuesday. Their oldest daughter Rosemarie gave birth to Reagan Alexander DiGuido. He’s 5 pounds, 2 ounces.

It won’t be long before he joins every other local kid, lining up for the best ice cream and coolest candy in town.


Just Another Day In Paradise: The Sequel

Compo and Old Mill were not the only local places looking lovely this weekend.

An  “06880” post earlier today spurred a couple of alert reader/photographers to send in their own images of fantastic already-well-into-November scenes. Enjoy!

Catherine Onyemelukwe drove by this Ford Road scene earlier today. It was so beautiful she stopped, turned around, got out, and captured the scene forever.

Catherine Onyemelukwe drove by this Ford Road scene earlier today. It was so beautiful she stopped, turned around, got out, and captured it forever.

Life in Fairfield County is good -- and gorgeous. (Photo/Amy Saperstein)

Life around here is good — and gorgeous. (Photo/Amy Saperstein)

The view from Saugatuck Sweets' plaza, across the river. Sweet indeed! (Photo/Amy Saperstein)

The view from Saugatuck Sweets’ plaza, across the river. Sweet indeed! (Photo/Amy Saperstein)

Click on or hover over any photo to enlarge it.


Pumpkin Patch Kids

Yesterday was perfect for just about any fall activity. (Except leaf-peeping. It’s Columbus Day weekend, and the trees still haven’t really turned? Cue the ominous climate change music!)

On the Riverside Avenue plaza, a swarm of kids had a blast decorating pumpkins donated by Saugatuck Sweets. They were assisted by volunteers from the Westport Arts Center and National Charity League, who manned (or womanned) a variety of decorating stations.

The event was called “Reach Out for Outreach.” Proceeds help fund the WAC’s many programs that provide arts experiences to underserved urban youth in Fairfield and New Haven Counties, and area cancer patients and their caregivers, homeless veterans, senior citizens and children with special needs.

The boys and girls who decorated pumpkins yesterday had a blast. And boys, girls, men and women they don’t even know will benefit from it.

WAC - 1

WAC - 2

WAC - 4

(Photos/Leslie LaSala)

(Photos/Leslie LaSala)