Tag Archives: Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce

Okay, Downtown Doubters. See You Saturday Night For “Supper & Soul.”

Yesterday’s opinion piece by David Waldman — lamenting all the negativity about downtown, urging Westporters to focus on the many positive aspects — drew plenty of comments.

Among the strongest voices was Matthew Mandell’s. That’s no surprise: As executive director of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, he’s got one of the biggest dogs in this fight.

He’s also got one of his signature events to promote. And it’s coming up this Saturday (November 10).

“Supper & Soul” is a clever concept. For one $75 ticket, you get a 3-course dinner, a fantastic show, then happy hour pricing for after-concert drinks.

Mandell has lined up 7 excellent (and varied) restaurants for the meal and post-show festivities: 190 Main, Amis, Jesup Hall, Matsu Sushi, Rothbard Ale + Larder, Spotted Horse and Tavern on Main.

All are within walking distance of Seabury Center on Church Lane — where Kasey Tyndall performs at 8 p.m.

Rolling Stone called her the #1 new country act to see last year — adding that she’s “a hard rock-country badass with the best song about a watering hole.”

So, to all of you who complain that there’s nothing to do downtown after dark. Or that downtown needs a jolt of energy. Or whatever.

Buy a ticket to “Supper & Soul.” Eat, drink, and kick ass with Kasey.

(Click here for tickets, and more information on Supper & Soul. There’s even a link to discount babysitters!)

Westport Moms Offer “Local Love”

It’s easy to bemoan the sorry state of downtown Westport. We talk for hours about empty storefronts, long-gone favorites, and the impending disaster that is the opening of the Norwalk mall.

It’s a lot harder to do something about it.

Thankfully, Megan Rutstein and Melissa Post are on the case.

The Westport moms — who own and operate the wildly popular WestportMoms.com platform — are working hard on a new project.

“Local Love” debuts in late November. Running through 2 weekends, it’s a chance for store and restaurant owners to draw customers by offering discounts. The suggested draw: 20% off for stores, 15% for salons and spas, 10% for restaurants.

“Local Love” will draw shoppers to places they might not know about downtown — and throughout the rest of Westport .

But “Local Love” is a lot more than just a $40 coupon book. A portion of the sales will help build a playground near the new library.

The Westport Downtown Merchants Association, Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and town officials are all behind the idea. And Megan and Melissa are involving shops and restaurants all around Westport — not just downtown.

When I said they were “working hard,” I wasn’t kidding. The duo have spent weeks talking to store and restaurant owners. More than 50 already signed up.

“They’re being very creative with what they offer,” Melissa says. “For example, a store like Tiffany can’t offer discounts.  So they may sponsor a ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s.’ You’ll get a lot for your $40.”

The Westport moms can’t hit every spot themselves. So they’re asking business owners to email them (info@westportmoms.com). They’ll announce the entire roster soon.

Watch this space for news about buying that $40 ticket.

Then show your “Local Love.”

Of Course: Restaurant Week Returns

After a few years of meh, Westport’s dining scene has roared back.

So here’s some food for thought.

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s “Restaurant Week” starts this Sunday (September 30). Actually, it’s 2 weeks — all the way through October 14.

Throughout the event, 25 restaurants — from Saugatuck to Southport — offer prix fixe meals. They range from $15 to $25 for lunch, $25 to $40 for dinner, $15 and up for brunch.

New this year: The Naan.

This is a perfect chance to head to new spots. Then visit an older one you’ve always wanted to try.

And after that, hit up an old standby.

On October 15, you can head to the Y.

Participating restaurants:

  • 190 Main
  • Amis
  • Boathouse
  • DaPietro’s
  • Gray Goose
  • Harvest
  • Julian’s
  • Le Penguin
  • Matsu Sushi
  • Naan
  • Pane e Bene
  • Pearl
  • Positano’s
  • Rio Bravo
  • Rive Bistro
  • Rizzuto’s
  • Sakura
  • Spotted Horse
  • Tarantino
  • Tarry Lodge
  • Tavern on Main
  • Terrain Garden Cafe
  • Tutti”s
  • Via Sforza

For more details, click here

Soggy Slice

Weather services said there was a 0% chance of rain yesterday.

Yet rain began at 2 p.m. — right at the start of Slice of Saugatuck. It fell steadily throughout the 7th annual event.

The wet weather dampened the crowd (and lowered their number). But everyone who showed up had a great time.

Good food (and plenty of it), excellent entertainment, and bouncy houses can’t stop this Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce show!

Dancing to a steel band at the Whelk/Saugatuck Sweets plaza.

Taekwando demonstration on Railroad Place.

A bit wet, but plenty of food from Roly Poly, Cuatro Hermanos, Dunville’s and more.

Slice Is Nice This Saturday

Seven years ago, the 1st “Slice of Saugatuck” street festival drew 27 participants, and a few hundred people.

For this Saturday’s event (September 8, 2 to 5 p.m.), 56 establishments have signed on. A crowd of more than 2,000 is expected to stroll the streets, nibble food, listen to live music at 7 venues, and enjoy kid and family activities like an obstacle course, bouncy houses and Maker Faire area.

The list of attractions includes over 30 restaurants. They’ll put tables outside, open their doors, then let the fun begin.

From Bridge Square to Railroad Place — and everywhere else — Slice of Saugatuck is packed. (Photo/Terry Cosgrave)

Slice of Saugatuck also boasts 2 beer gardens with wine, plus specialty drinks at many venues. After the festival, a Saugatuck Happy Hour keeps the celebration going at most restaurants and bars.

Musicians include the Mill River Band, Silver Steel, the 5 O’Clocks and School of Rock. there are dance and taekwando demonstrations too.

More than 20 stores and businesses participate as well. Newcomers this year include Mystic Market, Coldwell Banker and Effi’s Salon.

The “Slice” name comes from the street fair’s shape. Ranging from Riverside Avenue on one side and Saugatuck Avenue on the other, narrowing to Railroad Place, it resembles a pizza slice.

Of course, for many years Saugatuck was a heavily Italian neighborhood. There are still plenty of premier pasta-and-pizza places there — along with restaurants specializing in seafood, steaks, Mexican and Thai cuisine and more.

But you know that already. Saugatuck is a favorite destination for Westporters, and everyone else in Fairfield County.

It’s a little slice of heaven, right here in town.

(Tickets for the Slice of Saugatuck — $15 per adult; 2 for $25; children under 13, $5 — go on sale on-site at 1:45 p.m. the day of the event; cash only. Proceeds help fund the Gillespie Center’s food pantry. The Slice is sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce. For more information, including a map and list of participants, click here.)

Blues Views & BBQ News

The Blues Views & BBQ Festival is a uniquely Westport tradition.

And it’s one that reaches far beyond our borders.

Now in its 11th year, the Labor Day weekend event brings Southern- inspired food, nationally recognized music, and good ol’ family fun to downtown.

You may not think of Westport as a blues town. With Bobby Q’s gone, there ain’t much barbecue left.

But the Festival — set for this Saturday and Sunday (September 1-2) — brings out our inner blues and BBQ. It draws thousands of non-Westporters who really understand that kind of music and food to places they otherwise might never go: the Levitt Pavilion, Library parking lot and Imperial Avenue commuter lot.

People come from around the state — New York and New Jersey too — to hear fantastic performers at the Levitt, and on 2 auxiliary stages. This year’s lineup of 20 bands includes funk powerhouse Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Grammy Award winner Fantastic Negrito, Sister Sparrow and Carolyn Wonderland.

Fantastic Negrito comes to the Blues Views & BBQ Festival this weekend.

Blues, Views and BBQ introduces up-and-coming and local talent too, like first-time performers Alpaca Gnomes, Mingo Fishtrap, Cris Jacobs and Ruby Velle & Soulphonics.

All that listening whips up an appetite. A BBQ competition, cooking demos, rib- and pie-eating contests, and plenty of food trucks and stands take care of the heartiest eaters.

Throw in 6 bounce houses, car painting, touch-a-truck, airbrush tattoos and more kids’ fun, and Blues, Views and BBQ is something you just don’t see every day. Particularly in Westport.

Enjoying a great day of blues at the Levitt Pavilion. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

This year, the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce takes over the event from the Downtown Merchants Association. They spent 2 years making the transition, so it will be seamless.

This year too, the event has expanded to fill the entire Imperial Avenue lot. Folks will wander from there to the Levitt, library parking lot and back. Fantastic music and amazing BBQ aromas will fill the air.

… and, of course, BBQ in the parking lot nearby.

“06880”‘s tagline is “Where Westport meets the world.” This weekend, Blues, Views and BBQ shows some of the special ways we do it.

(For more information on the Blues Views & BBQ Festival, click here. For tickets, click here.)

When The Cribari Bridge Closes …

Starting Monday, contractors will make emergency nighttime repairs to the William F. Cribari Bridge over the Saugatuck River.

That means closures and detours, from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The tentative schedule calls for 6 weeks of work — weather permitting.

That’s bad news for commuters. And for businesses that depend on bridge traffic for customers: restaurants, bars and Saugatuck Sweets, for example.

So the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce is spreading the word: “The Bridge May be Closed, But Saugatuck is Open!” Miggs Burroughs has donated artwork to help folks realize that despite detours, you can still eat, drink and enjoy all the places that make Saugatuck fun.

Speaking of Saugatuck and the Chamber: The next “Tuesday @ the Train” event is this coming week (August 6, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.). Luciano Park is the spot for music, food, beer, wine and games. All commuters, their families, even the many Westporters who work at home and need a break are welcome!

And speaking of construction that impacts local businesses: I haven’t heard a peep of protest from the shops in Sconset Square. But they must be impacted hugely by the long-running Aquarion project that’s tearing up — and often closing — Myrtle Avenue.

So here’s another reminder: Sconset Square is not closed. Just park on the Post Road, Church Lane, or anywhere else downtown, and walk over for Le Penguin, Bungalow, Bespoke Designs, and all the other places at this popular, but now hard-to-park-at, shopping center.

There’s more than one way to get to Sconset Square. This view is from Church Lane.

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.