Tag Archives: Savvy + Grace

Playing The Westport Card

What’s in your wallet?

Since this is Westport, probably a gold card, at least. Plus platinum.

Maybe even osmium, iridium, palladium and ruthenium.

Why not a Westport Card, too?

Just in time for the holiday season, it’s the newest venture from the Westport Downtown Association and Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.


But it’s not entirely new.

During COVID, WestportMoms launched the “Local Love” card. This builds on that.

Recently, WDA member Lee Shufro and his son Jake — a Staples student, and part of the Westport Youth Commission — worked with Chamber director Matthew Mandell on business-building ideas.

Mandell proposed repurposing the card to be more inclusive, for all Westport merchants.

Westport Downtown Association president Maxx Crowley loved the idea. Like Mandell, he too is a champion of all local businesses.

More than 3 dozen merchants quickly signed on. More join daily. The list includes clothing, gift, toy and liquor stores; restaurants; galleries; fitness centers; spas — even the Westport Country Playhouse. Click here for the full list.

Savvy + Grace is one place to use The Westport Card …

The Westport Card can be purchased in typical gift card denominations (plus a $2 fee). It works like a normal gift card, at participating businesses.

It can be sent electronically (email or text) as a gift, too.

“This is a win-win-win,” Shufro says.

“It’s great for merchants, great for residents, and great for Westport. Why buy a generic gift card like Amazon, when you can buy the Westport Card and keep it local?”

Statistics bear Shufro out. Studies show that local independent retailers recirculate 47% of their revenue back into the community; only 14% of national chains’ revenue stays there.

Meanwhile, local restaurants recirculate 73% of their revenue back to their community; the figure for national chains is 30%.

… and Don Memo is another. (Photo/Katherine Bruan)

Which card do you want in your wallet?

Gold or platinum? Or the one that’s even rarer than rhodium, tellurium and rhenium: the Westport Card?

Click here for more information, and to purchase the Westport Card.

(Speaking of Westport: “06880” is your hyper-local blog, featuring all kinds of news you can use. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

Roundup: Savvy Stocking Stuffer, City Views …

16-year-old Kaia Levine is a longtime Westporter. She’s also a talented designer, who created a Westport collage poster.

Kaia loves Savvy + Grace, the Main Street gifts-and-more store. Owner Annette Norton loves Kaia’s postcards, and now sells them.

And — because Annette and Kaia are both very cool people — they’re donating a share of the proceeds of each sale to “06880.”

They make great stocking stuffers (and so does so much more in Annette’s store). Stock up now!

Kaia Levine’s Westport postcard


On a clear day you can see … New York City.

This was the Thanksgiving Day scene yesterday, from Burying Hill Beach.

It’s a rare sight … but a great one.

(Photo/Aiden Schachter)


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature takes us over the border to Weston.

Robin Frank sends this shot from yesterday, at Trout Brook Valley Preserve. Taken by her son Jared, who was hiking their with his wife Krista. They’re here from Los Angeles.

They were joined for Thanksgiving dinner by Jose Yoguez. His gift of a kidney donation saved Robin’s husband’s life. “We live in gratitude,” she says.

(Photo/Jared Frank)


And finally … today is the 82nd birthday of Pete Best. The Beatles’ drummer from 1960 to ’62, he was fired and replaced by Ringo Starr just before the band rocketed to worldwide fame.

As any drummer knows: Timing is everything.

(Happy Black Friday! If you’re looking for one more way to spend money, consider a tax-deductible contribution to “06880.” You don’t have to go anywhere; just click here. Thank you!)

“06880” Blog Party: Biggest And Best Yet

If you were among the 150-plus people at Compo Beach last night for the 10th annual “06880” blog party: Thanks for helping make it the biggest ever.

And — no offense to the previous 9 — it was also the best.

The weather was perfect. The crowd was the coolest. The vibe was the warmest.

(From left): Dr. Nikki Gorman, Allegra Gatti Zemel, Amy Saperstein, Ifeseyi Gayle.

Parks & Rec did their usual outstanding job providing tables and benches

Annette Norton of Savvy + Grace did her usual wonderful work of sourcing swag (“06880” coolers for your water or beer).

Westport Downtown Association president Maxx Crowley rocks the “06880” party gift.

Connie Belta Caruso made her inaugural appearance a smash, providing an enormous cake and incredible Caesar salad.

A small portion of the food … (Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)

… and the huge cake. (Photo/Susan Garment)

If you were there: Thanks for coming.

If you (somehow) missed it: See you next year!

Rex Fowler and Dodie Pettit, aka Aztec Two-Step 2.0. 

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)

The incomparable Connie Belta, and her friend Tony. 

Lou Weinberg, dirctor of the Westport Community Gardens, offered homemade treats. 


Bill Scheffler and Ann Sheffer. (Photo/Jo Shields Sherman)

Prill Boyle, Cole Prewitt-Smith, Scott Smith and friends. 

Parks & Rec operations manager Carmen Roda made sure everything ran smoothly. (Photo/Dan Woog

Cathy Malkin (right) offered “06880” prosecco shots. (Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)

Michael Calise (Photo/Dan Woog)

More “06880” swag. (Photo/Michelle Harmon)

Dan Donovan and his aunts, longtime Westport arts and history advocates Eve Potts and Marion Morra.

Westport Rotary Club stalwart Rick Benson, recent Staples High School graduate James Dobin-Smith, and Planning & Zoning Commission chair Danielle Dobin. (All photos/Dan Woog unless otherwise noted)

(Photo/Jo Shields Sherman)

Former Staples High School principal John Dodig and his husband Rodger Lawrence get ready for the sunset. (Photo/Susan Garment)

Roundup: Lyman Seeds, Launch Party, Lumi …

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its second year, one crucial casualty looms: agriculture.

Continued fighting severely curtailed planting this spring. The fear was felt everywhere, from large commercial farmers to individuals whose home gardens provide increasingly scarce food.

In Lyman, those worries are over.

Thanks to Westporters’ donations, 2,000 residents of our sister city have received seeds. They were delivered by Ukraine Aid International — our partners on the ground, founded by Westporters Brian and Marshall Mayer — just in time for spring planting.

Onions, tomatoes and much more will soon grow, in back yards throughout the beleaguered town. Click below for a video of the seed distribution; click here to contribute to our continuing drive to help our friends, in as many ways as we can. (Click on the “Designation” drop-down menu; then select “Westport-Lyman.”)


“Pick of the Pics” — the “06880” book highlighting over 100 of our blog’s best Pics of the Day — was published a couple of months ago.

Now it’s time for the launch party.

The event is Sunday, April 30 (2 to 4 p.m., Savvy + Grace, 146 Main Street). Books will be available for purchase at a special price of $20 (regular Amazon price: $24.95).

I’ll be there signing copies; so will Lyah Muktavaram, my “06880” intern who did 99% of the work on it.

Photographers featured in the book can pick up a free book at the launch party too.


The newest “Westport … What’s Happening” podcast continues with 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker’s conversation with Human Services director Elaine Daignault.

They talk about juvenile services and program, the Prevention Coalition for Substance Abuse, and Westport Together.

Click below to listen to the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston podcadst:


Videos of a woman carrying her 52-pound Samoyed dog in her backpack has gone viral.

Over a million viewers have seen one version.


Replying to @mjaucrame Big dawg. Big backpack 🎒 #fyp #dog #puppy #samoyed #nyc #funnydog

♬ Collide (more sped up) – Justine Skye

She does it because “dogs have to be in bags” on New York subways.

A People Magazine story called the woman — Jackie Hornung — a “New York City native.”


Jackie grew up in Westport. She graduated from Staples High School in 2016.

In fact, she’s a 3rd-generation Westporter.

Some People! (Hat tip: Johnny Donovan)


Westport favorite Melissa Newman — one of our own — headlines this week’s Jazz at the Post (Thursday, April 6; shows at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.; dinner from 7 p.m.; $15 cover; reservations strongly suggested: JazzatthePost@gmail.com).

Joining Melissa: guitarist Tony Lombardozzi, bassist Phil Bowler and drummer Bobby Leonard.

Melissa Newman


Several members of the Diverse Westport Facebook group attended a dance-a-thon on the Anna & Raven Show. Several dance schools performed BollyX.

The event raised funds for the Tiny Miracles Foundation. As a mother who had a premature baby, Westporter Ifeseyi Gayle can relate.

Also at the event: Kumuda Kumar, Rose Mlay Gardner. Kristen McDonald. Carrie Guttman, Patty Mantilla, Qing Huang, Lucy Rivera, Jenny Stork and Wanda Arias.


A woman who works at the 55 Greens Farms Road office complex watched sadly yesterday, as Westport police recovered the body of 62-year-old Errol Whyte from a pond on the property.

As she left for home that afternoon, she took a picture of the once-again-peaceful pond. She was heartened, she told “06880,” that “maybe Errol can now rest in peace.”


Jonathan Prager spotted — and snapped — today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo on Owenoke.

It’s one of the first. But many more will join it, in “daffodil days” to come, all over town.

(Photo/Jonathan Prager)


And finally … there is still plenty of uncertainty and fear in Lyman. Russian forces are near, and continue to bombard our sister city.

But the recent distribution of seeds to 2,000 residents (story above) — thanks to funds provided by Westporters — has brought some light into their lives.

Here’s 3 more minutes of beauty and hope:

(“06880” is indeed where Westport meets the world. Please click here to support your hyper-local, global-minded blog. Thank you!)



Roundup: Easter Baskets, Rising Sisters, Abilis Gala …

It’s an Easter tradition: custom-made baskets, filled to the brim and beautifully decorated, from Savvy + Grace.

Savvy shoppers can click here for the website. Call 203-221-0077. Email savvyandgracewestport@gmail.com.

Or go old school: walk in and shop local (146 Main Street).


Women’s History Month ends Friday.

But “Rise Up, Sisters!” — a traveling exhibit from the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame, chronicling a diverse group of women instrumental in the suffrage movement — opens a 3-week run at the Weston History & Culture Center April 16. The exhibit ends May 7. It’s open Sundays and Thursdays, from 1-4 p.m.

The many different stories include the Smith sisters of Glastonbury, who spoke up about injustices against women and helped to spark others to follow in their footsteps, and Alice Paul, who put her life on the line to force the issue on a national level.

For more information, click here.


Abilis — the nonprofit providing services and support to more than 800 individuals with special needs and their families — celebrates its annual Spring for Abilis Gala April 29, at Darien’s Woodway Country Club.

Leslie Smith Clarke of Westport — mother of a young adult who enjoys Abilis services — co-chairs the event.

Billy Blanks Jr. — a longtime Abilis supporter — is the celebrity emcee. There’s music from ETA, dinner, dancing, and live and silent auctions.

It’s the first post-COVID in-person gala. Click here for tickets, and more information.

Bidding opens soon for the Abilis Giving Garden and Art Gallery, with one-of-a-kind artwork created by the program participants, along with silent auction items.

The Giving Garden is also where supporters can purchase items for Abilis’ programs, like diapers, educational games and books for the Birth to Three program.


Former Staples High School guidance department chair Bob Hanf died last week. He was 79 years old.

The Massachusetts native earned a liberal arts degree from Harvard College in 1965, and a master’s in guidance from the Harvard School of Education a year later.

He began his career in education with the Westport Public Schools, and remained there for 34 years until his 2000 retirement. His impact on thousands of students — and his entire department — was profound.

After retiring, Bob and his late wife Kathy moved to Upper Arlington, Ohio. He helped many students in Columbus Schools prepare for college, as a volunteer with the Project Grad program.

The couple met at a conference. They shared their first meal together at (coincidentally) Bob and Kathy’s Diner. They married in 1998 in Rhode Island where Bob had summered with his family most of his life, enjoying sailing, kayaking, and rooting for the Red Sox.

Bob is survived by his sons Rob (Mary) and Mike (Laura) Zelch; grandchildren Zoe, Chloe, Bailey, Zachary, and Michael; sister Marion DeTora (Andy); niece Andrea DeTora Reagan (Brian)l grand-niece Caitlin and grand-nephew Daniel.  

Bob’s life will be celebrated in a private memorial service. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Kobacker House Hospice in Columbus, OH.

Bob Hanf


Longtime Westporter Glenn Gerry, died earlier this month, after a long illness. He was predeceased by his wife of 63 years, Louise (Weezie) in 2011.

The Providence native moved to Greens Farms at 16 with his family. He graduated from Staples High School the next year.

After 2 semesters at Yale University and a 1- year tour of duty in the Navy (where he spent time painting the USS Coral Sea in Chesapeake Bay), he attended the University of Connecticut before moving back to Westport to work as a carpenter to support his growing family.

Glenn never gave up on achieving higher education. He attended the University of Bridgeport at night, graduating with a BS in electrical engineering in 1970.

He worked at the Burndy Corporation and Pitney-Bowes for many years, before becoming a quality  control engineer and traveling throughout the U.S. and Mexico. He branched out to freelance contracting before retiring.

Glenn loved music. He was a tenor with the Greens Farms Church choir. He also filled in at the Unitarian Church, and sang with the Westport Madrigal Singers for many years.

His family says: “Known as a constant teacher of all things, Glenn was the person his grandchildren went to with math and science homework. All his children learned to care for a car at an early age. He taught us how to paint a house, bait a hook, identify constellations and skate on our little pond behind our Morningside Drive house, which Glenn built with family help in 1955.

“Glenn was known as a ‘baby whisperer’ among his family. He always had an aura of peace and safety around him. Somehow he was able to impart that peace to a squalling infant.

“He opened his house over decades to his sister, friends of his children and friends of grandchildren as a safe house while they contemplated their next life move. It was also the place to be for Friday folk music sing-alongs in the ’60s.

“Most of all, Glenn should be remembered for his early strikes at social injustice. While working at Burndy during the ’60s he befriended a man of color, and a recently emigrated German man. They had trouble fitting in. He hosted those men and their families to dinner at our house. InclusionGlenn always insisted on inclusion.”

“Glenn will be missed by all who knew his quiet, yet always accepting, self. His ability to commune without words, just sitting together. His way of “taking the back roads, rather than the highway. And always his profound love for his wife, Louise (Weezie), who died in 2011.

Glenn is survived by his children Michael of Riverside, California, Stephen of Redding Ridge, Judith Platt of Randleman, North Carolina and Evelyn Gerry Eastman of Norway, Maine; siblings George (Cliff) Clifford of Hendersonville, North Carolina, Connie Testani of Shelton, and Linda Clifford of Nokomis, Florida; 7 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and 1 great0great grandchild; a nephew and 3 nieces.

To leave condolences for the family, click here. Services will be announced at a later date.

Glenn Gerry


Laurie Sorensen’s tête à tête daffodils serve as a welcome “Westport … Naturally” reminder that spring is already here.

Yesterday’s weather notwithstanding.

(Photo/Laurie Sorensen)


And finally … happy 78th birthday to Diana Ross.

Years ago, I walked into Atticus Book Store & Café on Main Street. The moment I entered, I sensed something was going on. There was energy and excitement in the place, but I had no idea why.

It took a few minutes to realize that the woman Billboard named “Female Entertainer of the Century” in 1976 was sitting at the counter.

Everyone gave her her space. Just like fellow (but lesser) Supremes Mary, Flo and Cindy knew, you didn’t mess with Miss Diana.

But boy, was it fun watching her eat lunch.

At the 2:05 mark below, Diana Ross’ earring falls off. Watch her catch it like a pro!

(Diana Ross makes everyone smile. You can put a smile on our “06880” face: Please click here to support this blog. Thank you!)

29 North Avenue: Big Story Behind Small House Rehab

Westport is known for big — okay, gargantuan — homes.

But one of the smallest is also one of our most beloved.

#29 North Avenue — the tiny saltbox just south of Staples High School, which juts almost into the sidewalk — has long been an object of admiration (and curiosity).

29 North Avenue, in 2014.

There’s some dispute about its history. It dates, in some form, to the 1770s.

Jacques Voris — a descendant of the area’s famous Mills family — says it was built by Revolutionary War veteran John Mills (1760-1829) for his daughter Charity and her new husband Hezekiah Mills (a cousin).

Charity Mills — who lived to be over 100 — had 13 children, “all born in that Mills homestead” on what was then called Eleven O’clock Highway.

Jacques’ research shows it was constructed in the right of way — without title to land. In fact, John seemed to have no claim to the spot whatsoever. Nevertheless, he set up a blacksmith shop for his daughter and son-in-law.

In 1950, a local newspaper described it as built before the Revolutionary War. It featured a huge chimney; “Indians” sometimes seated themselves before the fireplace.

Other sources say the house was built in the 1830s, using beams from the original kitchen of a previous dwelling on the site.

At any rate: It’s old. And in recent years it was vacant, mouse-infested and deteriorating.

An investment group bought it, in foreclosure. When they listed it for sale (at the lowest price of any property in town), potential buyers lined up. All wanted to tear it down and build a new home — just like the ones behind it on Greystone Farms Road, which in the 1990s replaced the orchards and fields behind it.

Never mind that #29 North Avenue stood on a small, awkward piece of land that would make rebuilding difficult and costly (and require numerous zoning variances).

The barn at 29 North Avenue. (Photo/Michelle Perillie)

Annette Norton — who’d grown up in Fairfield, always loved Main Street, and after opening the funky, eclectic Savvy + Grace helped revitalize downtown — had other ideas.

She saw promise in the 930-square foot house. Despite dark rooms, a cramped kitchen and ugly 1970s tiles, she loved its charm.

And she knew it had potential.

As the pandemic raged — and her store remained closed — Annette bought the house.

Most contractors were slammed with work, on much bigger projects. She found Javier Pasato, who shared her passion.

“It was disgusting,” Annette says of the condition of the house. Mice feces dropped from the ceiling. There was termite damage throughout. Even the insulation was gone.

Together, they embarked on a year-long, top-to-bottom renovation/ rehabilitation project.

29 North Avenue, today.

They’re not architects or interior designers — but you wouldn’t know it from their work.

They refinished the floors, retiled the kitchen, opened up a skylight to the second floor, combined 2 closets to make a new bathroom, and used lighter paint (and new windows on the door) to brighten the interior.

The 2 bathrooms blend old and new.

They removed sheetrock, exposing original beams. Annette found a historic fireplace mantel in Bozrah. She and her daughter Chloe drove there; Javier then installed it, replacing bricks installed by a previous owner.

Fireplace before (left) and after. Note the narrow staircase, and refinished floors.

They repaired the cedar roof, replaced the siding, fixed the pipes, added central air conditioning, and installed energy-efficient windows.

The kitchen is small. But with restored tiles, a skylight and a serving island, it works well.

Every inch of the small house makes sense. A reading nook hides the air conditioning unit; hooks on the wall work in place of a coat closet.

From hooks to storage under drawers, Annette Norton takes advantage of every available inch. Original beams and white paint give the small, historic space a bright look.

Outside, the stone wall dating back to the original Mills masons was rebuilt. (Annette constructed a new one nearby too — herself — using leftover stones.) There are new entertainment areas outside in back and front, with heat lamps.

Everyone driving by — and that means everyone in Westport — notices all the changes. That’s because the exterior is painted a welcoming white, and Annette removed the imposing, deteriorating fence that half-hid the house.

She moved in in August. “I understand why people like tiny homes,” she says. “My life is so much easier. When I lived in a 3,000-square foot Colonial, I spent every weekend cleaning. Now it’s just an hour.”

The barn is Annette Norton’s next renovation project.

She’s not the only one who loves her house. A constant stream of passersby — drivers, joggers, walkers — thank her.

“Great colors!” one person said. “It looks so bright!”

“It’s beautiful. Such charm!” another added.

Some people even knock on her door. That’s a bit intrusive.

New front door, with entertainment area.

Annette has given everyone who lives or drives on North Avenue a gift. But it hasn’t been easy. Along the way, she doubted what she was doing.

Annette had similar thoughts when she opened Savvy + Grace. That space too had needed plenty of work.

One day, a sparrow flew into the store. It took a while to shoo it out. Someone who watched it happen told Annette that sparrows — though tiny — have survived a long time, against larger birds of prey.

“When you see one, it reminds you that even if you feel small, you’ll make it,” the woman said.

In the midst of both COVID and renovation, a sparrow flew into #29 North Avenue. That was a sign, Annette thought, that eventually everything would be okay.

Soon, she found a small wooden sparrow. Javier installed it at the top of her bannister. Every day, it reminds Annette that despite whatever else is happening — with both her store and her home — her life will work out fine.

(At “06880,” we keep our eye on every part of town. To help us do it, please consider a contribution. Click here — and thank you.) 

The sparrow, at the top of the stairs. (All photos courtesy of Annette Norton)


Pics Of The Day #2143

Final images of today’s snow …

Saugatuck River, from the Kings Highway North bridge (Photo/Claudia Sherwood Servidio)

Whitney Street (Molly Alger)

Rayfield Road (Hilary Ellis)

Jennie Lane (Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

Treadwell Avenue (Photo/Jimmy Izzo)

Main Street (Photo/Jimmy Izzo)


Main Street Holiday

Yesterday’s wild weather disrupted the plans of many Westporters.

It started the night before. On Thursday, as the rain and wind began, “06880” photographer Lynn Untermeyer Miller was downtown.

In the midst of the mess, she found color, light and beauty.

Before those memories are baked in to Christmas 2022, let’s take a look back — all the way to a few days ago.

Here’s what Lynn Untermeyer Miller saw then, as she strolled downtown:

Roundup: Ralphola Taylor Gifts, PAL Toy Drive, Mystery Buoys …

The Ralphola Taylor Center is a Bridgeport community organization serving low- income children.

They earn points for good behavior during after-school activities, and doing their homework. At the Holiday Store each year, the youngsters redeem their points to buy holidays presents for their families.

It’s a fantastic motivator for good behavior. The children feel proud and empowered to provide joy to their loved ones — which in turn reinforces their good behavior.

There are 2 Westport stores where shoppers can buy items that Ralphola Taylor Center children then “purchase” for their families: Savvy + Grace (146 Main Street) and Awesome Toys (Compo Shopping Center).

You can also order from the stores online. Click here for Savvy + Grace; click here for Awesome Toys.

Savvy + Grace — and Awesome Toys — both help kids and families. Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)


Speaking of giving: Barbara Tirola was among the many Westporters who dropped off toys this weekend, at the Westport Police Department and Police Athletic League drive for underprivileged children in Fairfield County.

Barbara Tirola and friends.

It’s on next weekend too. Officers will accept new, unopened and unwrapped toys — plus cash donations — in the ASF Sports & Outdoors parking lot (1560 Post Road East) Saturday and Sunday, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Toy collection boxes are also available all week at:

  • Westport Police Department, 50 Jesup Road
  • ASF Sports & Outdoors, 1560 Post Road East
  • PAL ice rink, Longshore
  • Awesome Toys & Gifts, 429 Post Road East
  • The Toy Post, 180 Post Road East.

Questions? Contact Officer Craig Bergamo: 203-341-6000; cbergamo@Westportct.gov.


MoCA’s Film Salon series continues this weekend.

“Jay Myself” (Saturday, December 10) is an intimate, behind-the-scenes documentary on the fascinating life of photographer and artist Jay Maisel, directed by noted Westport photographer Stephen Wilkes.

The film documents the sale of Maisel’s 35,000-square foot, 100-year-old landmark building in Manhattan (“The Bank”), showing a man grappling with time, life, change and the end of a New York era. The screening will be followed by a conversation with Wilkes.

“The Art of Making It” (Sunday, December 11) examines the lives of 17 compelling young artists navigating emerging careers in the contemporary art world. Who gets seen? Who gets left behind? The screening will be followed by a conversation with the producer, director and featured film artist.

Each event runs from 3 to 6 p.m. Tickets include cocktails and light bites. Click here to purchase, and for more information.


Peter Swift spotted these “mystery buoys,” off Compo Beach:

(Photo/Peter J. Swift)

They’re mysterious, he says, because

  • He has not seen them in that location before.
  • Buoys are seldom black. Fishing buoys are usually predominantly white.
  • They are not navigation buoys.

I’m sunk. But if any “06880” reader has an idea, click “Comments” below. 


Nature’s camouflage was no match for Peter J. Swift’s eye, as today’s “Westport … Naturally” image shows:

(Photo/Peter J. Swift)


And finally … on this day in 1848,President James K. Polk told Congress that large amounts of gold had been discovered in California. The Gold Rush was on!

(“06880” is not looking for pots of gold. However, contributions of any amount are always welcome. Please click here to help. Thank you!)

Strolling Along

It’s the magic of the holiday season.

Moments before the 2nd annual Holiday Stroll yesterday, the weather cleared.

Hundreds of Westporters of all ages — including tons of kids — headed downtown.

A small part of the large crowd. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

They met Santa, dropped off letters to him, and gave gifts for the PAL toy drive. They had their faces painted, and got animal balloons.

11-year-old Owen Hill (blue jacket) provided animal balloons for dozens of even younger kids. (Photo/Dan Woog)

They were serenated by Staples High School’s Orphenians, and Greens Farms Academy’s Harbor Blues. They wandered all around downtown too, joining in carols led by professional singer Nick Calabrese (plus 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker).

Nick Calabrese leads carolers. No, the teenagers are not checking their notifications. They’re reading the lyrics to holiday songs. (Photo/Dan Woog)

They nibbled free food and drank hot chocolate at a dozen restaurants, and snagged giveaways and discounts at a few dozen shops.

Garlic knots at Joe’s Pizza! (Photo/Dan Woog)

It was a magical evening. Thanks to the Westport Downtown Association, which partnered with “06880” for the event.

And to the weather gods, who delivered big time when we needed it most.

Staples Orphenians, directed by Luke Rosenberg, offered wonderful music … (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

… and the crowd grew larger with every song. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Both 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and a young constituent were decked out in blinking lights. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Aarti Khosla offered hot chocolate at her Le Rouge chocolatier. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Nomade handed out candied almonds in bamboo cones — and chocolate chip cookies. (Photo/Dan Woog)

The main tent was outside Cold Fusion. There were plenty of treats inside too. (Photo/Dan Woog)

More hot chocolate, at Manna Toast. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Savvy + Grace put out holiday treats. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

WEST owner Kitt Shapiro drew crowds with a $150 gift card raffle. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Some kids mailed letters to Santa in the Savvy + Grace mailbox … (Photo/Dan Woog)

… and some parents handed them directly to “Santa.” (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Santa greeted youngsters, who were excited … (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

… and serious … (Photo/Dan Woog)

… and who photo-bombed him. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Santa was also popular with Greens Farms Academy’s Harbor Blues, after they sang. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Westport PAL collected gifts for kids in need. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Staples freshman Ava Carter and friend Nelly Kaminski painted dozens of young faces. (Photo/Jen Cirino)

The 2nd annual Holiday Stroll was sponsored by “06880” and the Westport Downtown Association. We’re already getting ready for next year’s! (Photo/Dan Woog)

(If you enjoyed last night’s Holiday Stroll, please support “06880.” Click here — and thank you!)