Tag Archives: Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce

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!

Roundup: Flu Shots, Voters Guide, CLASP Concert, More


There is no COVID vaccine yet. But — uh oh — flu season is near. And the Westport Weston Health District is offering flu shots.

Clinics are set for Wednesday, October 21 (9:30 to 11:30 a.m.); Wednesday, October 28 (2 to 3 p.m.), and Monday November 16 (1 to 4 p.m.).

There are no walk-ins. All appointments must be scheduled in advanced. Click here for details.

The WWHD accepts Medicare, ConnectiCare, Cigna, Aetna and HUSKY insurance, as well as credit cards, checks and cash.

Questions? Call 203-227-9571, ext. 231.


For decades, voters have relied on the League of Women Voters’ Westport Voters’ Guide. It was delivered with the local newspaper.

It’s here now, and more available than ever: The Guide is online.

It’s packed with answers to policy questions by candidates for president, Congress and the state legislature.

There is also a map of polling places, sample ballots, and absentee ballot information.

Click here for this great resource. Questions for the LWV? Call 203-293-7687.


The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce has sponsored a great — and welcome — series of outdoor concerts this year.

The last of the season is next Thursday (October 15, Imperial Avenue parking lot). Part of the Chamber’s support for people with special needs, it’s a safe, fun, family-friendly evening called “Flashback to the ’80s and ’90s.” Band Central will play — and the very entertaining group is donating their time.

The event is a benefit for CLASP Homes. For half a century they’ve created and supported family environments for people with autism and intellectual disabilities.

Tailgating begins at 4:30 p.m. The show kicks off at 6. Click here for tickets ($150 per car; 70 car limit in the lot).


And finally … it’s a weekend in mid-October. Time to go pumpkin picking!

 

Roundup: Dolphins, Halloween, Robocalls, More


How cool is this?

Ryan Hartmann spotted 3 dolphins just a couple of miles off Cockenoe Island.

Here’s a screenshot of them playing alongside his boat. Click here for a minute-long video on Facebook Live.


The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce does windows.

Saturday, October 24 — one week before Halloween — is the date for the town’s Window Painting Contest. Westport students can sign up to request a merchant’s window, or be assigned one. They’ll decorate it, and judges will pick winners in 3 categories: Scariest Artwork, Best Halloweeen Theme, and Most Original.

There are different divisions for elementary, middle and high school.

Winners — who supply their own water-based paint, drop cloths and brushes, and clean up after themselves — receive a $25 gift certificate from Donut Crazy.

Click here to sign up.


I thought the most obnoxious robocall was the constant “courtesy call” from someone who had been “trying to reach” me about my (non-existent) automobile warranty.

But that’s almost welcome compared to the daily barrage from (supposedly) the presidential campaigns.

Every day I am assaulted by calls from both sides. The voice sounds the same — and for some reason, all I can think of is George H.W. Bush.

The scripts are similar too: How great the Biden (or Trump) ticket is, as opposed to the awful other side.

Then comes the kicker: Contribute $35. Or $5,000.

And — of course — the acknowledgment that this group with a made-up-but-official-sounding name has no affiliation with the actual campaigns.

It’s a scam. Don’t fall for it. If you want your money to get to Joe Biden, click here. For Donald Trump, click here.


And speaking of politics:

An “06880” reader received an anonymous letter, addressed to “Our Neighbors.” It says:

We have been hesitant to contact you but as the number of signs in your yard has grown, we felt we must reach out. We are writing not about the content of the signs displayed on your front lawn but about the quantity of signs.

This note has no reference to politics; everyone has the right to their beliefs and to the expression of those beliefs. However, your one sign has now blossomed into ten and frankly it is an eye sore to the neighborhood.

Our request is simply that you choose two of the signs to display in front and either display the others elsewhere or remove them altogether. Your consideration of this proposal is greatly appreciated.

The homeowner’s response: “Cowards!”


And finally … Johnny Nash died Tuesday. He was 80. But songs like this will long endure:

Roundup: Statehouse Debates, WitchCraft Cocktails, Police Probe, More


Jake Tapper called Tuesday’s presidential debate “a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck.” That’s being kind to dumpster fires and train wrecks.

But fear not! Normal political discourse will be on display next Tuesday (October 6, 12 p.m., Zoom). The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and Westport Library are sponsoring an actual “debate” with 4 candidates for 2 local state House of Representatives seats: Jonathan Steinberg vs. Chip Stephens, and Stephanie Thomas vs. Patricia Zucaro.

Click here to register (required). Questions may be taken from the audience.

Coming up on October 13: a debate with candidates for the State Senate.


Speaking of debates and dumpster fires: After Tuesday night’s “shit show” (Dana Bash), we all need a drink.

Wakeman Town Farm will help you make a special fall craft cocktail with mixologist Julia Halina Hadas, author of WitchCraft Cocktails. She’ll share recipes for adult beverages designed for healing, spells, offerings and fun.

It’s Friday, October 2, 5 to 6 p.m. And it’s virtual, so you can drink alone (or at least at home). To register, click here.


In the wake of threatening fliers found downtown Sunday morning, the Westport Police Department says:

We understand that this incident has caused a great deal of alarm and varying levels of concern for many living within our community. We have been working diligently to identify the responsible individual(s). The investigation has remained extremely active. The probe has featured close collaboration with federal law enforcement officials, based on some of the statements expressed in these postings.

Investigative efforts of the Westport Police Department Detective Bureau have yielded information on 2 responsible parties. The Department assures all that there is currently no viable threat to the community relative to this incident. This investigation remains open and active, and any additional developments will be detailed later.


And finally … we continue to lose music stars. The New York Times reports that Mac Davis — “the pop-country crossover star who wrote hits for Elvis Presley and had a No. 1 pop single of his own with Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me'” — died Tuesday. He was 78.