Tag Archives: Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce

Roundup: Outdoors, Suffragists, DMX …

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Spring is in the air. And there’s no better place to smell it — and enjoy the outdoors — than Wakeman Town Farm.

Westport’s sustainable jewel is back open. Visiting hours begin today (Saturday, April 10, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.), including the popular Meet the Farmer program.

Everyone 13 and older is welcome for a walk around the gardens and grounds. (All COVID rules are in effect.) For more information, click here.

Wakeman Town Farm is open once again.

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Speaking of the environment: The Parks and Recreation Department sponsors “Clean Up Westport Day” on Saturday, April 24.

Over 50 local organizations and groups will help. Individuals and families can show up at the Parks Advisory Committee’s sites — Riverside and Grace Salmon Parks — or any street or public space.

Formal groups should call Parks & Rec (203-341-5091) before April 16, to let them know the time and location of their cleanup efforts. After the event, the town will collect bagged garbage and debris from each site.

Free trash bags are available outside the Parks & Rec office (opposite the Longshore golf course pro shop) between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on April 16 b8:30am and 4:30pm. Bags are limited to 6 per organization, and must be requested by April 15.

Cleaning up Grace Salmon Park.

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“Westport’s Suffragists — Our Neighbors, Our Crusaders: The 19th Amendment Turns 100” was the Westport Library’s best exhibit that no one visited.

Well, hardly anyone. It opened last year just days before COVID shut the town down.

But the Connecticut League of History Organizations knows about it. And they’ve awarded the Library an Award of Merit for it.

The awards committee was impressed with “how the exhibit fit nicely into a larger series of public programs and showcased the lives of local women in their fight for suffrage.”

Fortunately, the exhibit is online (click here). It explores the careers and political triumphs of suffragists who made Westport home. It also honors over 50 Westport women — many forgotten — who left their parlors for the streets, to fight for voting rights.

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The Remarkable Theater drive-in is back in action. Last year , the Imperial Avenue lot also served as the stage for the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s Supper & Soul Series. Next month, they return there.

Dark Desert Eagles — an Eagles tribute band — have been booked for Friday and Saturday nights, May 14 and 15. The Chamber urges attendees to get takeout from local restaurants and markets, and bring it to the concert.

Tickets for each show are $150 per car (5 person maximum). They go on sale this Monday, April 12 (10 a.m.). Click here to order.

Dark Desert Eagles

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Yesterday’s Roundup highlighted the mattress recycling program at Earthplace on May 8 (8:30 to 11:30 a.m.).

Not everyone has a mattress to get rid of. But you should still head to Earthplace that day.

Particularly if you’d like free compost. Bring a bucket, and Sustainable Westport will fill it. It’s open to all Westport residents, as a thank-you for making the food scrap recycling program such a success.

Sustainable Westport is collecting nearly 10 tons of food scraps a month from the transfer station (a free service for residents), and from the 2 licensed food scrap haulers (a paid curbside service). Over 500 Westport families are composting in some form.

Intrigued, but don’t know how to begin? Volunteers will sell food scrap recycling starter kits (with a countertop pail, compostable gags and 6-gallon transportation container) during the May 8 Earthplace event. (They’re free for income-eligible folks).

If you’re not into mattress recycling or food scraps — come anyway. It’s a family-friendly outing, with guided trail tours and animal feeding.

PS: Bring natural corks, used magic markers, mascara wands and batteries for recycling.

For more information click here, or email admin@sustainablewestport.org.

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Mark your calendar for these Sherwood Island State Park events. They’re presented by the Friends of Sherwood Island. That’s what friends are for!

Early Bird Earth Day (Saturday, April 17, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.): Kites and model airplanes; disc golf; information tables and more.

How to Grow Raspberries & Blueberries (April 18, 2 to 4 p.m., Nature Center). Mini-lesson — and 6 plants will be given away.

One Tree Planted Grant (April 23 and 24): 125 native trees and shrubs will be planted these days. Help is needed! Email michelemsorensen@gmail.com

Growing Potatoes (May 9, 2 to 4 p.m., Nature Center). Bring a potato with eyes to plant.

Plant corn, beans and squash (May 30, 2 to 4 p.m., Nature Center). Take home free seeds!

Connecticut Trails Day (June 5, all day). Kayak and walking tours, hikes.

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Judith Katz has just 2 words for this magnolia tree in her backyard at Harvest Commons: “At last!”

(Photo/Judith Katz)

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Long-time Westporter Sarah Kennedy takes after her great-aunt: Henrietta Cholmeley-Jones, a noted artist and supervisor of Westport’s WPA art project.

During the COVID lockdown, Sarah painted this acrylic of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

“They are inspirations to me,” Sarah says. “Anyone who keeps smiling and doing their duty at their age, I admire.”

After the news of Prince Philip’s death yesterday, at 99, she shares her work with the “06880” community.

 

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And finally … DMX — described by the New York Times as a “snarling yet soulful rapper … who had a string of No. 1 albums in the late 1990s and early 2000s but whose personal struggles eventually rivaled his lyrical prowess,” died yesterday in White Plains. He was 50.

Roundup: Sandwiches, Easter Service, Voter Protection …

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And now — after more than 1,000 votes, for 21 competitors in 9 categories — the winners of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s Great Sandwich Contest have been announced. The are:

  • Best Chicken Sandwich: Stiles Market
  • Best Steak Sandwich: JR’s Deli & Grille
  • Best Vegetarian Sandwich: Manna Toast
  • Best Combo Sandwich: Stiles Market
  • Best Club Sandwich: Joe’s Pizza
  • Best Wrap: Layla’s Falafel
  • Best Breakfast Sandwich: JR’s Deli & Grille
  • Best Pressed Sandwich: Mystic Market
  • Best Fish/Seafood Sandwich: Rizzuto’s

Honorable mention (coming within 5 votes of the winners): A&S Fine Foods, Calise’s Market and Fortuna’s

Winners receive plaques. Each winner will also offer a free winning sandwich to 9 lucky voters, who won the lottery in the category they voted in. For photos of the winners, click here.

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Saugatuck Church’s 1st-ever Easter drive-in worship service was — well, if not a miracle, then still pretty cool.

The back parking lot was filled with 45 cars (that’s around 13o people). The FM radio broadcast worked flawlessly, thanks to Mark Mathias. The service was punctuated with plenty of cheerful horn honks.

Dozens more watched the livestream on Facebook and YouTube. But that photo isn’t as interesting as the one below:

(Drone photo/Alexey Syomichev)

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You’ve probably heard there are zoning bills working their way through the General Assembly. You’ve heard that they may affect Westport.

But how?

Tomorrow (Tuesday, April 6, 6:30 p.m. Zoom), Westport Planning & Zoning Commission chair Danielle Dobin hosts an in-depth discussion, The focus is on what they mean for our town.

She will be joined by Westport’s 4 legislators: State Senators Will Haskell and Tony Hwang, and Representatives Jonathan Steinberg and Stephanie Thomas.

I’ll be the moderator. Click here to register.

One bill being considered would affect housing plans for the area around any town’s primary train station.

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Westport Book Shop Artist of the Month is Katherine Ross. Her watercolors will be on display throughout April at the Drew Friedman Art Place, in Westport’s popular used book store on Jesup Road.

Ross is a well-known artist and art teacher. She conceived the children’s mosaic wall at the Longshore pool, with work from over 1,000 middle schoolers. She has served on the Arts Advisory Committee and Westport Cultural Arts Committee, and co-chaired the Westport public schools’ Art Smarts program.  

The exhibit is open during the Book Shop’s business hours: Tuesdays through Fridays (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Saturdays (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Sundays (noon to 5 p.m.

Katherine Ross, with her springtime watercolors.

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Tonight (Monday, April 5, 7:30 p.m., Zoom), the Democratic Women of Westport and Staples Young Democrats host a virtual session called “The Anti-Racist Policy Agenda: Connecticut Voter Protection.”

State Representative Stephanie Thomas — who represents part of Westport, and serves as vice chair of the General Assembly’s Government Administration and Elections Committee — will discuss the 2020 election in the state, possible expansion of access for voting, and building support for voter protection laws.

To get the link for the talk, or more information, email dww06880@gmail.com.

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And finally … speaking of “protection”: On this day in 1922, the American Birth Control League — predecessor of Planned Parenthood — was incorporated.

Great Sandwich Contest Begins. Westporters Bite.

In the past couple of years Westporters have voted for their favorite pizzas, burgers and soups.

Next up: sandwiches.

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s Great Sandwich Contest runs throughout March. It’s dedicated to the memory of longtime A&S Fine Foods owner chef Albert Pizzirusso. The longtime Chamber supporter died earlier this month.

I have no idea what this sandwich is, or who made it. I found it on the internet. You didn’t think I’d play favorites, did you?

So far, 19 sandwich-making restaurants have signed up:

  • A&S Fine Foods
  • Calise’s
  • Capuli
  • Don Memo
  • Fortuna’s
  • Grammie’s Donuts & Biscuits
  • Joe’s Pizza
  • Kawa Ni
  • Layla’s Falafel
  • Manna Toast
  • Match Burger Lobster
  • Mystic Market
  • Organic Krush
  • Outpost Pizza
  • Rive Bistro
  • Rizzuto’s
  • The Granola Bar
  • The Whelk
  • Winfield Street Deli.

They’ll compete in 10 categories:

  • Best chicken sandwich
  • Best steak sandwich
  • Best vegetarian sandwich
  • Best combo sandwich
  • Best club
  • Best New York deli
  • Best pressed sandwich
  • Best breakfast sandwich
  • Best wrap sandwich
  • Best fish/seafood sandwich.

Judges — that’s all of us — have the month of March to visit the venues and enjoy the offerings. Then click here to vote. To post on social media, use the hashtag #greatwestportsandwich.

The winning restaurants and/or markets will receive plaques. Contest sponsor is the Berchem Moses law firm.

Dig in!

And The Holiday Window Decorating Contest Winners Are …

Only a few people can watch NFL games in person. You haven’t been to a concert in longer than it takes to conceive and deliver a baby.

But anyone could have gone around town, checked out holiday window decorations, and voted for their favorites.

In fact, many people did.

Yesterday, the Westport Downtown Merchants Association and Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce announced the winners of the annual contest. This year for the first time, it encompassed the entire town. 

And the winners are…:

Mom and Pop Shop:  The Plumed Serpent Bridal 

Plumed Serpent Bridal 

National chainAnthropologie

Anthropologie

Restaurant/Deli:  Joe’s Pizza

Joe’s Pizza

Non-retail:  Artistex Salon & Spa

Artistex Spa & Salon

And the grand prize — for the window with the most total votes: The Plumed Serpent Bridal.

They win dinner for 4 at Don Memo.

Click here for a list of all participating venues. Voting in closed — but you can still enjoy them!

Holiday Window Decorating Contest: Let The Games Begin!

Last year, Noya won the downtown holiday window decorating contest.

Can the jewelry design store on the west bank of the Saugatuck River defend its title?

It won’t be easy. This year’s contest has expanded. It’s now townwide. The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce has joined with the Westport Downtown Merchants Association, as co-sponsor.

And instead of a judge’s vote, the 2020 champ will be chosen by residents and shoppers. Votes can be cast online. Some stores display a QR code in their windows, to vote by phone.

44 businesses are registered. They’ll compete in 4 categories: local independent retailers (“mom and pop”), national chains, restaurants/delis, and non-retail.

Competition begins today, and runs through December 21. You can vote once per category. Winners will be promoted on social media. The grand prize for most votes is a dinner for 4 at Don Memo.

Click here for a list of all participants — and to vote.

One of Noya’s windows. Will it win this year?

Roundup: Accelerating Universe, Mozy Blanket, Knicks Memoir, More


You may not have heard of Alex Filippenko.

But astrophysicists have.

The University of California professor of astronomy is the only member of both teams that revealed the accelerating expansion of the universe, which led to a Nobel Prize. He’s been voted the Best Professor at Berkeley a record 9 times.

On December 15 (8 p.m.), he’ll visit the Westport Astronomical Society — virtually — for a free lecture on “A New Surprise in the Accelerating Universe.” It’s available on Zoom, and YouTube.


Mozy is a new member of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce. The local company produces a “lower-body thermal wrap engineered to keep you 100% warmer than most blankets.”

It’s perfect for “game day, drinks on the deck or a sunset hike” — and the “BYOB” (Bring Your Own Blanket) outdoor dining initiative championed by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce. Click here to buy online, or email for in-person pickup: hello@getthemozy.com.

A few Mozys.


The Strickland is a new website about the New York Knicks.

They just released their first book: “Fred From Fresh Meadows: A Knicks Memoir.” Author Fred is also from Westport. The 1971 Staples High School graduate is well known to “06880” readers as a frequent commenter on a variety of topics, a documentary filmmaker, an off-Broadway producer, and a keeper of the flame of local musicians like the Remains and Charlie Karp.

Fred’s Knick bona fides go back decades. He was at Madison Square Garden for the “Here comes Wilis!” game. He stayed up late the night before the SATs to watch a big game on the West Coast. In law school he chose where to live based on which neighborhood had a team cable TV package, then chose an apartment in Manhattan based in part on proximity to Madison Square Garden.

Along the way, Fred might have inadvertently caused Jerry Lucas to have one of the worst shooting nights of his playoff career, drove with Earl Monroe to a business meeting, and sort of sued Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to get revenge for Knicks fans.

Fred is a truly good guy. He’s donating 100% of the royalties from his pandemic project to the John Starks Foundation, which provides grants to college-bound high school seniors with academic excellence, financial need and a commitment to community service.

Click here to order. Click here for more information about Fred’s memoir.


During COVID, many folks are drinking alone. Now you can do it without shame — and with the knowledge you’re helping raise money for great causes.

The Westport Woman’s Club is sponsoring a “Swirl & Sip” wine-tasting fundraiser (Wednesday, December 9, 6 to 7 p.m.). For just $25, Castle Wine & Spirits is providing sparkling wines from Italy and Spain. Silver Ribbon donates the door prize: a $200 gift certificate.

Proceeds from the virtual event help fund grants to local non-profits, and need-based college scholarships. Cheers!

Click here for tickets and more information.


MoCA Westport’s Holiday Open House has been postponed from this Saturday to next (December 12, noon to 5 p.m.).

The outdoor event includes caroling by the Staples High School Orphenians, free admission to the World Peace exhibition, performances by teachers and students of the Westport School of Music, and a holiday-themed project for kids.

There’s free hot chocolate and doughnuts, and food trucks for purchases. There is no admission fee, but MoCA suggests bringing an unwrapped toy for the Westport Police Department’s annual drive.

 


And finally … in honor of the Westport Astronomical Society’s lecture on the expanding universe:

 

Turn Your Clocks Back. It’s Restaurant Savings Time!

Earlier this month, we pushed clocks back an hour. Just what we needed: another hour in 2020!

But here’s a time-shifting effort we can all get behind.

Today, the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce rolls out “Restaurant Savings Time.” Encouraging diners to eat earlier is a way to help restaurants cope with the governor’s executive order closing businesses at 9:30.

Some restaurants could lose an entire seating of patrons — particularly on weekends. So, the Chamber says, everyone should eat one hour earlier than usual.

If everyone is on board — and at their tables — every eatery would benefit.

“Have a great dinner at 6:15 instead of 7:15 is the request. I am confident Westporters will respond, ” says Chamber executive director Matthew Mandell.

“It’s all about flexibility and a desire to adapt to a new situation, while still enjoying what our town as to offer.”

Flyers and posters will go up at restaurants. The logo — designed by Miggs Burroughs (of course!) — will be posted on social media.

“Restaurant Savings Time is a great idea. Support your local restaurants and dine a littler earlier, but also be sensitive to leave time to those coming after you,” said Tarantino owner Frank Marchetti. “We will get through this together.”

The new initiative follows BYOB: Bring Your Own Blanket. That Chamber project urges diners to stay warm while dining outdoors. Click here for more information, and a list of restaurants offering outdoor dining.

State Rolls Back To COVID Phase 2.1

First Selectman Jim Marpe says:

Due to increasing rates of COVID-19 in Connecticut, the state will roll back from Phase 3 to Phase 2.1 effective tomorrow (Friday, November 6).

Phase 2.1 is a slightly modified version of the previously enacted Phase 2 rules. Changes under Phase 2.1 include:

  • Restaurants will return to or remain at 50 percent capacity, with a maximum of 8 people per table
  • Restaurants and entertainment venues will be required to close by 9:30 p.m. except for food takeout and delivery services, which may continue after 9:30 p.m.
  • Personal services, such as hair salons and barber shops, will remain at 75 percent capacity
  • Event venues will be limited to 25 people indoor, 50 people outdoor
  • Performing arts venues and movie theaters will have a capacity of 100 people
  • Religious gatherings will be limited to 50 percent capacity or 100 people maximun
  • Residents are urged to remain indoors between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., unless for essential activities.

Westport businesses will remain open. I encourage those who can to continue patronizing local restaurants and businesses.

Since the beginning of this pandemic, Westport has promoted local and small businesses. A great idea for eating out and staying safe — BYOB (“Bring Your Own Blanket”) comes from the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

The Westport Weston Health District says that a significant portion of Westport’s COVID cases are related to youth travel sports. These programs are regional, span several states and fall outside of local authority. Updated state Department of Public Health guidance for youth and interscholastic sports is forthcoming.

Town officials are also aware that some very large gatherings of both young people and adults occurred over Halloween weekend. We continue to stress that everyone be sensitive to neighbors, and aware of the risks imposed on those with pre-existing conditions and the elderly.

Halloween Store Painting Windows Announced

Once upon a time, kids soaped up car windows on Halloween. (That was the “trick” part, if they didn’t get — or didn’t like — their treats.)

Today we live in a much gentler society. So the only windows painted this year were courtesy of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s annual contest.

Nearly 100 children participated. They painted 55 store windows, all over town. Both are records.

Judges Ruth Mannes and Anne Greenberg call the competition “fierce. It was clear that all the kids who participated really put their all into their artwork,”

The winning windows get ribbons. The winning artists get a certificate — and a gift card to Donut Crazy. How’s that for a treat!

And the winners are …

Elementary 

SCARIEST: Perri Schleef, grade 5, Weston Elementary School (Baker Graphics)

BEST HALLOWEEN THEME: Calvin Carreras, grade 1, Long Lots; helpers Julian Carreras and Aaron Slomich (1st Nail Spa)

MOST ORIGINAL (tie): Caroline Hammond, grade 2, Saugatuck (Stiles Market)

Chloe Robbin, grade 2, Long Lots (Fleet Feet)

Middle School 

SCARIEST: Sophie Jacques, grade 6, Housatonic Valley Waldorf School (Stephen Kempson)

BEST HALLOWEEN: Sally Nathan, grade 6, Bedford (Cycleology)

MOST ORIGINAL: Hailey Kiperman, grade 6, The Southport School (Restore Hyper Wellness + Cryotherapy)

High School 

Most Original

Ella Schweizer: Grade 9, Brien McMahon HS, Norwalk (Greens Farms Spirit)

Roundup: Candidates’ Debate, BLM, More


The 2nd presidential debate has been canceled.

Today (Tuesday, October 13, 12 noon, Zoom), the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and Westport Library fill the gap. They’ll sponsor a virtual one with our area’s State Senate candidates: Will Haskell and Kim Healy (26th District), and Tony Hwang and Michelle McCabe (28th District),

Initial questions will come from the Chamber board. Viewers can use Zoom’s chat feature to ask their own questions.

To register to watch this debate — or the video of last week’s State House candidates debate — click here and follow the links.


This Saturday’s international march for women’s rights builds on a similar march in January 2017.

A group of women, men and children from the Unitarian Church in Westport heads to Stamford to support that gathering. Click here to register.

The Church is also sponsoring a “virtual opportunity” (Saturday, October 17, 4 p.m.) for anyone concerned about being in a large group during the pandemic.

They also seek pictures, videos and written comments, on the theme of “why I would march if I could.” Email events@uuwestport.org. Put “Women’s March” in the subject line.


And finally … today is International Skeptics Day. Yeah, right!