Tag Archives: Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce

Dog Day Afternoon

Every dog has its day.

Today, they all do.

Winslow Park is filled with hundreds of pooches. Fido and Spot are there. So are Oliver, Cranium, Sparkle Plenty and all their friends.

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s 3rd annual Dog Festival draws dalmatians, beagles, poodles, greyhounds, chihuahuas, schnauzers and mutts.

There are expensively bred dogs and rescue dogs. They’re all shapes, sizes and ages.

Just like their owners.

The Dog Festival runs until 4 p.m. today.

See you at Westport’s favorite dog run!

(All photos/Dan Woog)

3rd Time’s The Charm

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce hopes for good weather this Sunday — the new date for the twice-postponed Dog Festival.

Hundreds of dog owners (and their dogs) hope so too.

In just 3 years, the event has become one of the most popular on our town’s busy calendar.

On tap at Winslow Park (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.): agility and training demonstrations, goofy competitions (including best dressed, best kisser, best trick and the dog that looks most like its owner), food trucks, plus children’s activities like caricaturists and face painters.

Parking is available at the Westport Country Playhouse. The entrance fee is $10 per person, $25 for a family of 4.

Dogs are free.

Two days later — on Tuesday, June 26 (5:30 to 8:30 p.m.) — the Chamber kicks off its 2nd year of “Tuesdays @ the Train.”

Held at Luciano Park adjacent to the Saugatuck station, it’s a fun way to unwind after work. Stroll off the train (or meet your commuter spouse or friend), then stay for live music, food, beer and wine, and games for all ages.

It’s the first of 3 train Tuesday’s this summer. The others come every 3 weeks: July 17 and August 7.

The Chamber has created another great event. The first, second and third will all be charms.

Life’s A Bitch. Dog Festival Postponed — Again

Once again, potential thunderstorms have forced the postponement of the 3rd annual Westport Dog Festival.

After discussions with partners, sponsors, town officials and a National Weather Service meteorologist, the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce made the difficult decision to delay the event.

First scheduled for last Sunday, then pushed back to this weekend, the new date is Sunday, June 24 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Winslow Park).

There may be only one teeny-tiny silver lining in Sunday’s clouds. The rain is supposed to end in the afternoon. That means Monday’s Memorial Day parade may not be postponed due to weather.

Which happened to it too, the past 2 years in a row.

Doggone It! Dog Festival Is Postponed

It’s not the dog days of August. But predicted unsettled weather — including possible thunderstorms — has forced postponement of Westport’s Dog Festival.

Originally scheduled for this Sunday at Winslow Park, the new date is Sunday, May 27. The time is the same: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“It’s the prudent thing to do,” said Matthew Mandell, executive director of the sponsoring Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

“The weather has really been tough the last few weeks. Besides, dogs don’t like thunder.”

This is the 2nd time in 3 years that the festival date was moved. The 2016 debut was postponed — yet still a great success.

Now let’s hope the 3rd time is the charm for Memorial Day. The last 2 parades were canceled, due to weather.

 

For more information about the Dog Festival go to http://www.westportwestonchamber.com/dogs

Every Dog Has His Day: Winslow Park Festival Set For May 20

Last year, proceeds from the 2nd annual Dog Festival allowed the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce to donate $7,000 to area non-profits.

That’s nothing to sniff at.

This year’s event is set for Sunday, May 20. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Winslow Park will go to the dogs.

Chamber executive director Matthew Mandell calls the festival “a 3-ring circus of activities that celebrates everything dog.”

That means exciting demonstrations, goofy competitions and an obstacles course. Plus — for man’s best friend (and his kids) — food trucks and children’s activities too.

Demonstrations include police, emergency rescue and guide dogs, as well as agility and training exhibitions.

Competitions offer prizes for best tail wagger, best dressed, best kisser, best trick, best lap dog over 50 pounds, and (my favorite) the dog that most looks like its owner.

The winner of the timed obstacle course receives a year’s supply of dog food.

New this year: a non-profit pavilion sponsored by Bankwell, where adoptables will be available.

Surrounding the main activities are over 50 pet-related vendors, along with caricaturists, face painting and giveaways. WEBE 108 will broadcast live.

Just another day at Winslow Park.

Parking is available at the Westport Country Playhouse. The entrance fee is $10 per person, $25 for a family of 4.

Dogs are free.

(TAILS will once again help produce the Westport Dog Festival. Lead sponsor is Choice Pet. Other sponsors include Earth Animal and Garavel Auto Group. To register your dog for a competition or for more information, click here.)

“Supper And Soul” Returns Soon

It’s not New Orleans, where music follows you from restaurants and clubs all the way down the street.

And it’s not Italy, where strolling musicians entertain you as you dine.

But every couple of months, Westport comes close.

That’s when the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce sponsors the unique 3-part “Supper and Soul” series. A $75 ticket covers a 3-course meal at one of 5 downtown restaurants; a concert at Seabury Center, and happy hour pricing for post-concert drinks at any of those 5 places.

The first “Supper and Soul” took place in January. It was a cold night, but the enthusiastic crowd was warmed by the concept, the restaurant hosts and the music.

The next “Supper and Soul” is Saturday, April 28. The headliner is Vanessa Collier, a blues performer known for her charm, passion, soulful voice and searing sax solos.

For the past year Vanessa has toured Europe as a featured artist with Ruf’s Blues Caravan, and North America with her 5-piece band.

The 5 restaurants are 190 Main, Amis, Rothbard Ale + Larder, Spotted Horse and Tavern on Main. Each is an easy walk from Seabury Center.

Dinner begins at 6 p.m. The concert follows at 8.

Tickets are bought online through the Chamber; reservations follow, on a first-come, first-served basis (also through the Chamber). Drinks and tips are not included in the ticket price.

For tickets and more information, click here.

And The Pizza Winners Are…

Over 1,700 pizza lovers cast votes during last month’s Great Westport Pizza Contest.

Sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, 14 restaurants competed in 7 categories.

When the votes were tallied, you chose:

  • Best slice: Westport Pizzeria
  • Best plain pizza: Westport Pizzeria
  • Best meat pizza: Joe’s Pizza
  • Best gluten-free pizza:  Joe’s Pizza
  • Best veggie pizza: Tutti’s Ristorante
  • Best delivered pizza:  Jordan’s Restaurant
  • Best personal pizza: Rizzuto’s Restaurant and Toscano Pizzeria (tie)
  • Honorable mention:  Romanacci Pizza Bar and Planet Pizza lost by only 2 votes in the “Best personal pizza” and “Best delivered pizza” categories, respectively.

Mel Mioli’s Westport Pizzeria may have moved to the Post Road, after 45 years on Main Street. But it’s still a Westport favorite.

The victors did not get any dough — just the satisfaction of coming out on top (and free publicity).

Any way you slice it, the Great Westport Pizza Contest was a winner.

March was Westport Pizza Month. That’s not just an idea — it was an official proclamation from 1st Selectman Jim Marpe (2nd from left). Joining him were (from left) Westport Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell; Ira Bloom of event sponsors Bercham Moses, and Joe Canicatti, owner of double winner Joe’s Pizza.

 

New SoNo Mall Looms Large

If you drive through Norwalk on I-95, it’s impossible to miss.

A 700,000-square-foot mall is rising inches off Exit 15.

Artist’s rendering of the SoNo Collection mall.

It won’t open until October 2019. But — with its size, its freshness, and its retailers like Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s — the SoNo Collection seems to pose a direct threat to Westport’s Main Street.

Matt Mandell disagrees.

The executive of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce told the Fairfield County Business Journal, “We offer an open-air experience instead of an enclosed mall. People come to Westport for a change of pace.”

Westport Downtown Merchants Association president Randy Herbertson adds that the mall offers “opportunities” for our town.

“They are focusing on mid-tier to aspirational retailers, and only 6% devoted to food service which will most likely be fast-service casual (chains like Olive Garden).”

That will “further accentuate our opportunity to provide a more upscale, specialty, open-air and experiential shopping, dining and living district that will complement this offering.”

Main Street is open air — not enclosed.

But, Herbertson says, to attract new merchants and downtown residents — and continue drawing investments like Bedford Square, the new Elm Street property, Belden Place, the former Save the Children complex, and the building that’s replacing Bobby Q — “we need to prioritize stronger cooperation and co-investment between our town and commercial interests.”

It’s already started, he says, through a constructive meeting he attended with First Selectman Jim Marpe and his team, Mandell, and area developers, landlords and merchants.

Meanwhile, the clock ticks down toward October 2019.

(Click here for the full Fairfield County Business Journal story. Hat tip: Scott Smith)

Who Will Win The Great Westport Pizza Contest? It’s A Toss-Up.

I hope you didn’t give up pizza for Lent.

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce has just added a new event. It runs all through March, and will resolve the most important (and longest-running) debate in town:

Who has the best pizza?

“The Great Westport Pizza Contest” involves 14 restaurants, and includes 7 categories. Judging is done online, by youse guys: pizza lovers.

Every participant is entered into a drawing, to win a free pizza from one of the 7 winning restaurants.

The contestants are:

  • Angelina’s
  • Cuatro Hermanos
  • Joe’s
  • Jordan’s III
  • Julian’s Brick Oven
  • Julian’s Kitchen
  • Planet Pizza
  • Rizzuto’s
  • Romanacci Express
  • Tarry Lodge
  • Toscano’s
  • Tutti’s
  • Via Sforza
  • Westport Pizzeria

The categories are:

  • Best slice
  • Best personal pizza
  • Best meat pizza
  • Best gluten-free pizza
  • Best veggie pizza
  • Best plain pizza
  • Best delivered pizza

Each restaurant is entered in 4 categories.

You’ve got a month — beginning March 1 — to visit each venue, and enjoy the offerings. Then go to the Chamber’s pizza contest webpage to vote: www.wesetportwestonchamber.com/pizza.

As you vote, use the hashtag #greatwestportpizza. The more pizza pictures, the better.

Winning restaurants get a plaque — and bragging rights until (let’s hope) next year’s contest.

First Selectman Jim Marpe kicks off the event this Thursday (March 1, 12 noon) at Joe’s Pizza. The (hungry) public is invited.

So what if you have given up pizza for Lent?

No worries. The contest runs through March 31. Lent ends March 29.

That gives you 2 days to check out all 14 restaurants, and vote.

Mangia!

“Supper & Soul” Offers Food, Drink & Music

A dog festival. Slice of Saugatuck. Tuesdays @ the Train.

You can’t say the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce just sits around exchanging business cards.

Now the organization — which takes its mandate to promote local businesses very broadly — announces its latest let’s-all-get-out-and-have-a-good-time idea.

“Supper & Soul” ties together a few of Westport’s favorite activities: eating out, concert going and drinking.

One ticket is good for a 3-course meal at one of 5 downtown restaurants; a concert at nearby Seabury Center, and a stop back at any of those same restaurants for happy hour-priced drinks. It’s all sponsored (appropriately enough) by lifestyle guru Mar Jennings.

“Supper & Soul” comes at a perfect time: the mid-winter doldrums. The first is set for Saturday evening, January 27.

Dana Fuchs

The 5 restaurants are Amis, Boca, Rothbard Ale + Larder, Spotted Horse and Tavern on Main.

Featured entertainer Dana Fuchs heads out soon on a European tour. But first she’ll prowl the Seabury stage, pouring her heart into the microphone like Janis Joplin (or, I’m told, Robert Plant). Many Westporters know her from the Fairfield Theater Company.

Dinner begins at 6 p.m. The concert is at 8. Tickets can be bought online (click here); meal reservations are made on a first-come, first-served  basis through the chamber.

Chamber executive director Matthew Mandell calls the idea “date night in a bottle. Or just a chance to hang with friends.”

I call the idea very, very cool.