Tag Archives: Westport Woman’s Club

Roundup: Election Day, Thanksgiving, Kristallnacht …

Pigs can’t vote.

But people can.

And everyone should. It’s the central tenet of democracy. Millions of people have marched, sacrificed, even given their lives for this country to ensure that right.

Billions of people around the world wish they had what we have.

Jolantha — Weston’s favorite pig — reminds “06880” readers, wherever in America they are, that today is Election Day.

If you live in Westport, click here for a sample ballot. (Thanks, Jeff Looby!)

If you live in Connecticut, click here to find your polling place. Then go there!

NOTE: Voters at Coleytown Middle School polling place should take the first entrance on North Avenue (the one right after Coleytown Elementary School), rather than the one at the top of the slight hill.

(Photo/Hans Wilhelm)

Turnout was light this morning. This was the scene at the Westport Library polling station.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

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Speaking of the election: It’s a bit late. And most voters have probably made up their minds.

But yesterday, Sustainable Westport said: “This year, in lieu of environmental debates (issues with scheduling), we provided candidates with questions on environmental issues and sustainability. They submitted answers at the end of last week.”

For candidates for State House District 143, click here. Candidates for District 136 did not respond. For candidates for State Senate District 26, click here.

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Saugatuck Congregational Church will not host their traditional community Thanksgiving feast this year.

However, Westport’s Department of Human Services will once again join with the Westport Housing Authority and Homes with Hope to provide food gift cards and meals to those in need.

Those organizations are working with Coleytown Elementary School, Coleytown Middle School and Temple Israel to continue their traditions of offering homemade cards, gifts and pies.

Human Services director Elaine Daignault adds, “We are grateful to the Westport Woman’s Club. They provide grocery gift cards to distribute to food-insecure residents, and assist with the cost of specially catered meals from the Sherwood Diner for Westporters who receive home-delivered meals through the Senior Center.

For more information, contact Human Services by phone (203-341-1050) or email (humansrv@westportct.gov). “We are here to help!” Daignault says.

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With antisemitism on the rise in the nation, The Conservative Synagogue invites all Westporters to commemorate Kristallnacht — the Nazis’ “Night of Broken Glass” — this Saturday (November 12, 5:30 p.m., 30 Hillspoint Road).

The service includes Havdallah and hearing eyewitness testimony from Kristallnacht survivor Fred Behrend.

Click here to register.

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Saugatuck Rowing Club’s junior athletes won several medals at last month’s season-ending Head of the Schuylkill Regatta in Pennsylvania.

But they’re winners off the water too. The young rowers (and their parents) spent last weekend cleaning up the banks of the Saugatuck River, right by their home boathouse.

Thirty participants amassed over 300 pounds of trash. That’s 10 pounds of garbage per person.

Keep Norwalk Beautiful provided supplies. Jen and Adam Goldberg of Pop-Up Bagels donated nearly as many bagels as there were pounds of trash.

Saugatuck Rowing Club plans an encore this spring.

A small bit of the large amount of trash collected by Saugatuck Rowing Club volunteers.

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Speaking of Saugatuck: Slice of Saugatuck delivers. The September event raised $5,000 for Homes with Hope.

The 10th annual festival brought over 2,000 people to  experience, sample and taste their way through the neighborhood. To date, donations from the Slice to Homes with Hope, for use in their Gillespie Center Food Pantry, total over $40,000.

“The Festival is all about food — food for those who can afford it, and now food for those who can’t,” says Matthew Mandell, executive director of the Slice’s sponsor, the Westport Weston Chamber. “We are so pleased we have been able to make these donations each year to help ease food insecurity. It’s a win-win.”

From left: Bob O’Mahoney and Harry Brady Viva Zapata owners; Bill Rizzuto owner of Rizzuto’s; Helen McAlinden director of Homes with Hope; Matthew Mandell, Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director; Robert Curwen, Chamber member.

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In 2010, former Red Sox pitcher John Trautwein lost his son Will to suicide. There was no sign or warning.

Trautwein and his family formed the “Will to Live Foundation.” The goal is to encourage teenagers and young adults to “talk about it,” and serve as “life teammates” for each other.

On November 17 (7:30 p.m., Town Hall), Trautwein will speak about this important topic. The event is sponsored by Westport Youth Services, the Police Athletic League, and the Teen Awareness Group.

Trautwein spoke to high school athletes in August, at the FCIAC leadership conference. His message was strong, and well received.

This program is aimed at parents, middle and high school students, coaches, and anyone who works with young people. Additional resources and counseling support will be available through Kids in Crisis and Positive Directions during and after the event.

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Why is a college transcript so crucial?

This Thursday (November 10, 7 p.m., online), Amy Chatterjee — senior college counselor from Collegewise, — discusses what a transcript actually is, how it can “show a love of learning through courses,” and why it’s the most important part of the college application.

Click here to register.

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Usually, it’s music teachers who watch their students perform on stage.

On November 20 (MoCA Westport, 4 p.m.), faculty members of the Westport School of Music will be on stage for a special concert. “Autumn Colors” will celebrate nature’s splendor, through piano, strings, flute, guitar and voice.

Highlights include “Autumn in New York,” “The Great Pumpkin Waltz” from “Charlie Brown,” and “Autumn” from “The Four Season of Buenos Aires.”

After the concert, guests can greet the musicians, and enjoy refreshments and drinks at the MoCA Bar.

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This week at Jazz at the Post: Spain’s “finest and most celebrated jazz pianist,”  Abé Rabade. Very popular throughout Europe, he’ll perform at VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 this Thursday.

Rabade’s music blends classic Catalonian and Galician styles, along with the soulful and swinging “great jazz tradition.”

Joining in are Rale Micic (guitar), “Jazz Rabbi” Greg Wall (saxophone), David Richards (bass0 and Tim Horner (drums).

There are shows at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m., with dinner starting at 7. Tickets are just $15. Email Jazzatthepost@gmail.como for reservations.

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Longtime Westporter Joan Kahn died Saturday, in Norwalk Hospital. She would have been 98 next month.

Joan’s family described her as “feisty, independent, determined, brilliant and caring.:

A “founding mother” of modern Westport, she and her husband Ed moved to Westport in 1953 from New York City. They lived first on Charcoal Hill, then built a home on Coach Lane.

Joan’s family called her “a sounding board and encourager of husband Ed throughout his town leadership as he chaired the Representative Town Meeting, spearheaded efforts to save Cockenoe Island, positioned Westport as the first town meeting to vote against the war in Viet Nam, and was a part of the committee that bought Longshore.”

With a group of mothers, Joan started the Westport Cooperative Nursery School (now Westport Nursery School).

Joan was valedictorian of her high school class at Calhoun High School in
New York, graduated from Smith College, and earned her social work degree from Columbia University in 1952.

She was an early “career mother,” as a social worker at Norwalk Hospital, then Bridgeport Hospital, and finally in the Norwalk school system, from which she retired.

She was an avid follower of politics, curious world traveler, and consummate reader. She was also an active, loving, mother of 3 children. all of whom attended Westport schools: Karen, Shoshi
and Dan.

She also leaves 6 grandchildren — Ron, Edwina, Maya, Eli, Max  and Emma =- and 4 great-grandchildren.

Joan Kahn

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Wakeman Town Farm volunteer Thomas Schmidt stopped feeding breakfast to the animals just long enough to snap today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo:

(Photo/Thomas Schmidt)

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And finally … Alice Cooper wanted to be elected.

If you want your candidate to be elected too … head to the polls! They’re open until 8 p.m. tonight.

(Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Greens, independents, Whigs, Know-Nothings, and everyone else: Vote with your wallets. Please click here to support “06880.”)

 

 

 

Roundup: Arrests, Susie’s House, Garden Cinema …

The Westport Police Department arrested 4 people between October 19 and 26 on the following charges:

  • Reckless driving; operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol; failure to drive in the proper lane; failure to wear a safety belt.
  • Criminal mischief (2 arrests)
  • Violation of probation (2 counts); failure to appear.

In addition, the WPD issued the following summonses:

  • Cell phone use, 1st offense (17 people)
  • Traveling unreasonably fast (5 people)
  • Speeding (2 people)
  • Operating a motor vehicle under suspension (2 people)
  • Failure to obey traffic control signal
  • Violation of Traffic Commission regulation
  • Failure to grant right of way
  • Insurance coverage fails minimum requirement.

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There will be new life for the old “poor farm” on Compo Road North.

First a farmhouse, then a home for needy Westporters, and most recently the site of “Susie’s House” for Project Return, the property between the Little League fields and town tennis courts will be renovated into 6 residential units for homeless women.

The agreement with Homes with Hope was ratified this week by the Board of Selectwomen. The non-profit agency will provide 24-hour supervision and counseling to the residents.

Homes with Hope has already raised most of the $900,000 needed for renovations, says CEO Helen McAlinden.

Project Return’s “Susie’s House,” on North Compo Road.

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The long saga of Garden Cinemas ended yesterday.

Demolition began on the Norwalk art house, beloved for many years by countless Westporters and other area residents.

Attempts to turn the theater into a non-profit, with film-related after-school activities, failed. The site will now be developed for the Wall Street Place condominiums. (Hat tip: Matt Murray)

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Tomorrow (Friday, October 28), Westport celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month. First Selectwoman Jen Tooker and the town’s Commission on People with Disabilities invite residents, businesses, employment services agencies and disability advocates to a 10 a.m. ceremony at the Senior Center.

The event includes coffee and donuts thanks to the Friends of the Senior Center, baked goods from Sweet P Bakery and the Porch, and a “network of employment champions.”

For more information about the Commission on People with Disabilities or the Employment is for Everyone initiative, click here, call Westport Human Services at 203 341-1050, or email humansrv@westportct.gov.

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One of the town’s most anticipated clothing tag sales takes place this weekend.

The Westport Woman’s Club holds its annual event tomorrow and Saturday (October 28 and 29, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and Sunday (October 30, noon to 3 p.m.). The site is the WWC clubhouse at 44 Imperial Avenue.

Gently used women’s, men’s and children’s clothing and accessories are back, with a wide array of suits, dresses, pants, jackets, blouses, gowns, coats, scarves, shoes, jewelry, handbags and hats.

Funds raised from the clothing tag sale support the Westport Food Closet, many local charities, and need-based student scholarships.

Preparing for the Westport Woman’s Club clothing tag sale.

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On November 12, Sustainable Westport sponsors 2 important — and very “green” — events.

Free mattress and box spring recycling runs from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., at Earthplace (10 Woodside Lane). They must be dry and unsoiled.

Up to 90% of the 55,000 old mattresses disposed of every day by Americans can be recycled into new products like carpet pads, cushioning for exercise equipment and bike seats, insulation, air filters, and steel materials.

Boy Scout Troop 36 provides pickup service, for a small donation. Click here for details, and to sign up.

Then head to the Staples High School fieldhouse, for the first-ever Westport Holiday Green Festival (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

The joint effort of Sustainable Westport and Staples’ Zero Waste Committee includes crafters, artists, local resources and businesses, presenters, food, and the Staples Zero Waste Committee thrift store.

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Westporters love to speculate about Bridgewater. The nation’s largest hedge fund is headquartered here, but keeps a very low profile.

Part of the curtain may be pulled back next fall. An “unauthorized, unvarnished” biography of its billionaire manager, Ray Dalio will be published then.

“The Fund: Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates and the Unraveling of a Wall Street Legend,” will be written by Wall Street Journal investigative reporter Rob Copeland. He’s conducting hundreds of interviews for the book.

“’The Fund’ peels back the curtain to reveal a rarified world of wealth and power, where former FBI director Jim Comey kisses Dalio’s ring, recent Pennsylvania Senate candidate David McCormick sells out, and countless Bridgewater acolytes describe what it’s like to work at this fascinating firm,” publisher St. Martin’s Press says.

While working for Bridgewater — and later, as head of the FBI — Comey had a Westport home.

Click here for more, from the Washington Post(Hat tip: Bill Dedman)

Ray Dallio

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Jeera Thai has expanded its hours. The great, very authentic and much-loved Thai downtown restaurant is now open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner, either in-person or takeout.

Click here for the menu, and more information.

Two Westport gems: Jeera Thai owner Luna (seated) and Savvy + Grace owner Annette Norton.

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La Plage’s special Halloween party begins this Sunday (October 30) from 5 to 8 p.m. It’s also a way to say goodbye to the patio bar (for the season).

There’s a DJ on the patio, complimentary bites, Belvedere shots — and a costume contest.

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Speaking of Halloween: Creative decorations are seen all over town. This is on Plunkett Place, off North Avenue:

(Photo/Baxter Urist)

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One of the stranger casualties of COVID was the “I Voted!” stickers. Handing them out to voters was deemed a health risk, I guess.

Just in time for the 2022 election, they’re back. The town registrars’ office has given permission to poll workers to hand out the civic souvenirs.

They expect a heavy turnout, and have ordered 15,000 ballots. The League of Women Voters has several thousand stickers on hand, and ordered 12,000 more.

Support democracy. Vote on November 8. Then — for the first time in 3 years — wear your sticker with pride.

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Salon Nash is one of the Westport’s most popular hair styling salons.

Now boys and girls of all ages can have their hair styled  in a grown-up salon — while enjoying an afternoon of fun friends.

Salon Nash is available for kids’ parties. There is plenty of room inside, plus an outdoor patio. Owner Felicia Catale, and her entertainment, can also come to you.

Salon Nash provides a 45-minute magic show, with balloon sculpting or face painting. Candy cups are also available. Meanwhile, Felicia will style hair for adults and children

Email catalefelicia@icloud.com, or call or text 203-747-9753 for details.

Party balloons, at a Nash Salon event.

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The Camp Gallery’s new solo exhibition for Westport artist Liz Leggett opens tomorrow (October 28, 5 to 8 p.m., 190 Main Street). She’s an abstract expressionist, working on canvas and panel.

Leggett will be at the opening. Wine and cheese will be served.

Liz Leggett’s solo show at the Camp Gallery.

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Sure, and Stephen Fogerty has been named one of the Irish Legal 100 for 2022 by the Irish Voice. The honor goes to 100 attorneys in the US who share pride in their Irish roots. Fogerty — whose roots are in county Tipperary and Sligo — practices with FLB Law in Westport.

Stephen Fogerty

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Longtime Weston resident Stephen Steinbrecher died October 18. He was 88.

In 1949 the graduate of the Walden School and Clark University met Phyllis Schwartz at the University Settlement camp in Beacon, New York, They were married 6 years later.

Steve served on the New York Hotel Trades council, where he bridged industry divides, and on the Clark University board of trustees, where he founded the David Steinbrecher Fellowship Program. For more on Steve Steinbrecher’s impact on Clark University, click here.

Steve also sat on the University Settlement board, and helped create the Phyllis Steinbrecher Fellowship program.

He is survived by daughters Marcy Steinbrecher Puklin of Norwalk and Laura Steinbrecher of Weston; grandchildren Rachel Johnson, Sarah Livingston, Matthew LiVigni and Mikaela LiVigni, and his beloved dog Brooklyn. He was predeceased by his wife Steinbrecher in 2009, and son David Steinbrecher in 2004.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Phyllis Steinbrecher Scholarship at University Settlement and the David Steinbrecher Fellowship Program at Clark University

Stephen Steinbrecher

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There must be a back story to this tree on Fairport Road.

Whatever it is, it makes an intriguing “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/Tom Lowrie)

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And finally … I never cared for Roger Miller’s “King of the Road.” I cared even less for Jody Miller’s reply song, “Queen of the House.” But both Millers (no relation) won Grammys for their work.

I never heard (or can’t remember) her biggest hit, “Home of the Brave,” about a boy bullied and barred from school for being different.

But Jody Miller died earlier this month in Oklahoma, at 80. Today’s songs are hers. (And Roger’s.) Click here for Jody Miller’s obituary.

(There’s a lot to love — or at least read — in today’s Roundup. To help keep information like this coming, please click here to support “06880.”)

 

 

Roundup: Paul Newman, Free Money, Brooks Corner …

The Paul Newman story continues.

In the aftermath of a 6-part television series on the legendary actor/race car driver/philanthropist, attention is now focused on a posthumous memoir.

“The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man” — set for official publication tomorrow — has an extraordinary back story. Melissa Newman — one of his and Joanne Woodward’s daughters — spoke about it, in a long story in yesterday’s New York Times.

His long life in Westport is mentioned, of course — and there’s a photo from inside his North Avenue home.

Click here for the full, fascinating story. (Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

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A recent “06880” Roundup story on free money — well, money that’s yours, but is being held unbeknownst to you by the Connecticut state treasurer — intrigued Ken Stamm. (Click here and stop reading immediately, to go to the website.)

In August, he had already gone hunting for hidden treasure. When he returned to the site following the “06880 notice, he found good news: Notarization is no longer required.

The bad news: Despite the website’s promise that you will be “reunited with your money as quickly as possible,” Ken says “it appears nobody’s home.”

Despite duly filing a valid claim with all evidence online (and keepin records of everything), he has yet to receive a response.

“Apparently,” Ken says, “this issue is enough of a problem to rise to one of the top 6 on which one of the state treasurer candidates is running.”

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COVID is still with us.

Curbside pick-up — not so much.

Except at Brooks Corner.

In the small shopping plaza on Main and Elm Streets, the first three parking spots are reserved for store employees to scurry out and — with the windows down or trunks popped — deliver goods to well-protected customers/drivers.

But not all retailers.

You can’t drive up and pick up your Brooks Brothers suit (or even a tie). Before New England Hemp Shop Farm opened, you had to park and walk inside for your CBD oil, topicals and edibles.

Nope. The 3 spots are for Lux, Bond & Green only.

I’m not sure how that little perk came about — or why it continues. But it sure seems like those are 3 parking spots everyone in Brooks Corner would like back.

Including — probably — Lux Bond & Green.

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Yesterday — for the 12th year in a row — the Westport Woman’s Club team took part in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk at Sherwood Island State Park. Team members posed below:

From left: Vivien Rosenberg, Audrey Rabinowitz, Barbara Raffel, Arlene Johnson, Kate Weber, Toni Donahue, Leah Scherzer.

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Also yesterday: a Westport Library’s free concert.

Andrew Wilk produced the event, featuring American String Quartet violinist Peter Winograd and famed pianist Rohan De Silva. They met at Juilliard.

Peter Winograd and Rohan De Silva. (Photo and hat tip/Dave Matlow)

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“Busy as a bee” is not hyperbole.

Werner Liepolt captured a swarm recently. They gathered pollen from English ivy and delivered it to their hive. It’s one more piece — though often unseen — of “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Werner Liepolt)

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And finally … Jeanne-Paule Marie “Jeannine” Deckers  — aka The Singing Nun– was born today in 1933, in Brussels. The singer-songwriter/guitarist (and nun) reached the top of the charts with her upbeat tune “Dominique” in late 1963. A few weeks later the Beatles arrived in the US, and changed the music industry forever.

She and her close friend Annie Pécher died by suicide in 1985. They took overdoses of barbiturates and alcohol. In a note, they wrote that they wished to be buried together with the funeral rite of the Catholic Church.

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Roundup: Staples ’71, Saturn, Dinosaur …

Staples High School reunion organizers often struggle to find the right venue.

Not many places in Westport can handle a large crowd, at a decent price. In just the past few weeks, events have been held at LaKota Oaks in Norwalk (Staples Class of 1980), Norwalk Inn (Class of 1970) and the Gaelic-American Club in Southport (’72).

Class of ’71 organizer Bonnie Erickson was determined to keep her COVID-delayed 50th (51st) reunion in Westport. When she found the Westport Woman’s Club, she realized it offered more than just an in-town location.

It was also well-remembered by many classmates, from their years at the WWC-sponsored Yankee Doodle Fair.

More importantly, the Woman’s Club uses the entire rental fee in its charitable efforts. Each year, they provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in aid to worthy organizations — and in scholarships to Staples students.

The WWC’s Bedford Hall was packed last night with reunion-goers, thrilled to be back in their home town. They continue the festivities this afternoon, at Compo Beach’s Ned Dimes Marina.

Many reunion-goers from Staples High School’s Class of 1971 wore ’70’s-themd garb.

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After 5 years at 135 Main Street — and being closed the past 2 months — Marine Layer has moved closer to the Post Road.

The new, bigger location for the clothing shop named for an air mass in a temperature inversion is 51 Main Street. The “grand re-opening” was yesterday.

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Wondering how and why NASA is sending Dragonfly — a car-sized relocatable rotorcraft lander equipped with instruments that can examine surfaces, interiors and atmospheres of galactic bodies — to Saturn’s’ moon, Titan?

Mark October 18 (8 p.m.), for the Westport Astronomical Society’s free online science lecture series.

Dr. Jani Radebaugh of Brigham Young University will tell you all you need to know. Click here for the Zoom link; click here for the YouTube link.

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I’ve always gotten the essentials at Walgreens: toothpaste, batteries, beef jerky.

This was the scene the other day, in their parking lot.

(Photo/Phil Rubin)

Now I’ll know where to go the next time, for all my dinosaur needs.

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Where do ospreys hang out, when they’re not in their nests?

This one likes the overhead wires just off of Park Lane, behind Trader Joe’s.

It showed off for today;s “Westport … Naturally” feature:

(Photo/Jan Van Arsdale)

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And finally … happy 71st birthday, Sting!

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Roundup: Hamlet & P&Z, Lamont & Stefanowski; A Better Chance ….

The Hamlet at Saugatuck — a retail/residential/hotel/marina plan that would reimagine the neighborhood between the train station and I-95 bridge — got its first Planning & Zoning Commission hearing last night.

Representatives from ROAN Ventures — the local developers — and their architectural, environmental, traffic and legal partners began their application for text and map amendments. Both are needed to begin remediation efforts of the contaminated land, followed by construction.

The hour-long presentation included a video, maps, and conceptual artists’ renderings. The actual design process has not yet begun.

Applicants addressed issues like traffic, with solutions that include underground parking, and working with the state to synchronize lights. They also noted that 50% of the land will be open space.

Commission members and residents had mixed reactions. There praised the thoughtfulness of the planning and the depth of the presentation, and questioned density and traffic.

No action was taken. The P&Z will continue its discussion on October 3.

A conceptual view of the Hamlet at Saugatuck project, from the river.

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In less than 2 months, Connecticut will elect a governor.

If you don’t know anything about the candidates — or do, and want to ask a question — you don’t have to go far.

The Y’s Men of Westport and Weston has partnered with the Westport Library to host 2 forums. Both are in the Trefz Forum.

This Thursday (September 15, 10 a.m.), Republican challenger Bob Stefanowski speaks, and takes questions. Incumbent Democratic Governor Ned Lamont does the same next Monday (September 19, 1 p.m.). Both visits will also be livestreamed.

Click here to register for either or both session, in-person or via livestream. Attendees should arrive 15 minutes prior to the start.

(Graphic courtesy of Connecticut Education Association)

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A Better Chance of Westport’s 21st year is off to a rousing start.

New resident directors, 7 multi-talented scholars, and a chance to really be part of (and give back to) the community after 2 COVID years has energized Glendarcy House, the program’s North Avenue home.

The scholars — in grades 9 through 12 — are engaged in a range of activities, at Staples High School and beyond. Because they are not allowed to drive, they need rides after school and in early evenings.

Community volunteers have always come through. To help transport — and get to know — these great young men, and for more information, email abcwestportrides@gmail.com.

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On Sunday, Jeff Manchester took his kids to the 9/11 Memorial.

Not the one at Sherwood Island State Park, though. Jeff is drawn to the one at Oak Lawn Cemetery & Arboretum, off Bronson Road. It’s a 100-acre site where people have remembered loved ones for more than 150 years.

The memorial is a pair of 9-foot granite towers atop a pentagon-shaped granite base. A rock engraved with “Let’s Roll” honors the heroes of Flight 93.

Dedicated last September, it was designed by Dean Powers, a native Westporter and Oak Lawn’s longtime groundskeeper.

He never saw it completed. He died of cancer in 2020.

Click here for the back story on the monument, and Dean’s remarkable contributions to it.

Rock and trees at Oak Lawn Cemetery.

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Do you want some money?

If you’re involved with a non-profit organization, read on.

The Westport Woman’s Club is accepting grant proposals for 2022-2023. Click here for more information, and the form.

Requests for projects that will make a difference in the community may be in the form of funds, or a one-time use of the Westport Woman’s Clubhouse for an event. Grants go each year to organizations in education, health and safety-related programs, and the arts.

Community groups should submit their proposals by October 31 to Westport Woman’s Club, Attention: Community Service Grants, 44 Imperial Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.

For more information, call 203-227-4240.

Organizations can apply for a one-time use of Bedford Hall at the Westport Woman’s Club.

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Like many Staples High School reunions, the Class of 1971’s fell victim to COVID.

Organizers Bonnie Housner Erickson, Tucker Sweitzer and Joanne Romano-Csonka felt the 50th was too big to let pass. So — a year later — the reunion is on (September 30-October 2).

Bonnie and her crew want to make sure “all classmates feel like they matter,” even though some may not have felt that back then. The organizers sought to “remind them they were an integral part of a life-changing period in history.”

In keeping with the late ’60s/early ’70s zeitgeist, they wanted to create an environment of peace and harmony, with “no hierarchy, no difference in status.”

The theme is “Welcome Home” — and the website (hey, this is 2022, not 1971) may be the best for any reunion class, ever. Click here to see.

Bonnie spent hours designing it. Much of it is class-specific of course. But the 1971 flashbacks and photos will interest many people, whether or not they (or their parents) were even alive then.

The reunion itself will feature peace signs, and memories of hangouts like the Ice Cream Parlor and beach. Music is supplied by the Reunion Band — featuring ’71 alums Brian Keane, Michael Mugrage, Bill Sims, Rob and Julie Aldworth McClenathan, Dave Barton and Bonnie Erickson — who rocked the Levitt Pavilion in 2019, the Class of ’70 reunion several weeks ago, and the Class of ’72 reunion last weekend.

Screenshot, Staples High school Class of 1971 reunion website home page.

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Today’s gorgeous “Westport … Naturally” comes from Saugatuck Shores, via Ken Yormark:

(Photo/Ken Yormark)

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And finally … Ramsey Lewis — a towering jazz figure for over 50 years — died yesterday in Chicago. He was 87.

His trio hit the pop charts a few times in the 1960s. In 2007 the National Endowment for the Arts named him a Jazz Master, the nation’s highest honor for a jazz musician.

(“06880” is your hyper-local blog. To support our efforts, please click here.) 

Roundup: Motorcycles, Daffodils, Kelli O’Hara …

For 21 years, Stacie Curran and friends have ridden in the CT United Ride. The largest motorcycle ride in Connecticut pays tribute to the victims and first responders of 9/11.

Yesterday’s event took place on the actual date: September 11. Before the start at Sherwood Island, the group met at Stacie’s house:

The entire group — hundreds strong — gathered at the state park:

(Photo/Tom Lowrie)

Soon — with a police escort from several towns — they headed onto I-95. Their route of remembrance took them to Exit 17, Riverside Avenue, Wilton Road, and through 8 other Fairfield County towns.

(Photo copyright by Ted Horowitz)

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Every year, the arrival of spring in Westport is heralded by the “Daffodil Mile” — the long, winding rows of daffodils at Willowbrook Cemetery on Main Street.

Daffodil Mile, at Willowbrook Cemetery … (Photo/Andrew Colabella)

For the past few years, daffodils have also bloomed throughout the rest of Westport. On Prospect Road, in Saugatuck, in traffic islands everywhere, the week of yellow flowers brings smiles to Westporters sick and tired of snow and slush.

Greens Farms Road, at Prospect Road.

Those daffodils don’t just fall from the sky (to mix metaphors). They’re the product of plenty of planning — and planting.

“Paint the Town Yellow” is a project begun 4 years ago by Debra Kandrak. This fall — prime daffodil-planting time — she encourages everyone, of all ages, to plant “around our neighborhoods, around street signs, mailbox posts, in front of your business, in front of the Police and Fire Departments.” She’d love for schools to be involved too.

This year’s theme is “plant in memory of a loved one lost.”

The easiest way to plant, Debra says, is to dig a trench and pop the bulbs in (pointy side up). Costco sells 50 bulbs for $13.99.

After you plant, email the location to debra.kandrak@raveis.com. She’ll come around next spring, and take photos.

Which, of course, she will share with “06880.”

So get going. Spring is only 7 months away.

Daffodil bulbs from Costco. (Photo/Debra Kandrak)

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The New York Times says that this November’s Metropolitan Opera staged premiere of “The Hours” is “New York City’s opera event of the fall.”

In addition to renowned soprano Renée Fleming, it stars Kelli O’Hara. The Times calls the Westport resident “a Tony Award-decorated musical theater actress with opera bona fides (even at the Met, where she was a standout as Despina in Mozart’s ‘Così Fan Tutte’).”

That’s part of the intro to an interview published yesterday with Fleming, O’Hara and Joyce DiDonato.

Click here for the full (and very interesting) piece.

Kelli O’Hara (Photo/Thea Traff for New York Times)

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Every Staples High School reunion is a cause for celebration and remembrance.

COVID caused the Class of 1980 to wait an extra 2 years to gather for their 40th. But as they got together last month (and shook their heads that they’re all now 60 years old, or about to be) they turned their thoughts to classmate Susan Lloyd.

The popular, always-active native Westporter was diagnosed with cancer as a senior. She passed away while at Colgate University. Her parents and friends created the Susan Fund in her honor. For 4 decades, it has provided important educational scholarships to Fairfield County students diagnosed with cancer.

Ten years ago, the reunion class raised $2,300 for the Susan Fund. This year, they contributed $5,500.

Kelly Frey Pollard — Susan’s good friend, and a Susan Fund board member — created a beautiful display, with letters from classmates to Susan and her family during her battle with cancer. Classmates were encouraged to take their letters home, as mementoes.

Over 130 alumni attended the reunion. A 45th is planned for 2025 — with another contribution to the Susan Fund. To find out, more follow the “Staples Class 1980” Facebook page, or email Amy Potts: amy@aapk.com,

The Class of 1980 display, of cards and letters sent to Susan Lloyd.

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The Westport Woman’s Club big clothing tag sale is next month. They’re getting ready — which means, they need items to sell.

Tax-deductible donations of new or gently-worn women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, and accessories like shoes, handbags, scarves, hats and jewelry, can be dropped off weekdays (9 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 4 p.m.) at the WWC (44 Imperial Avenue).

Funds raised from this clothing tag sale support the town food closet, local charities throughout Fairfield County, and student scholarships.

The clothing tag sale is set for October 28-29 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and October 30 (noon to 3 p.m.). For more information, call 203-227-4240 or email  wwc@westportwomansclub.org.

Westport Woman’s Club tag sale.

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Longtime Westporter Geoffrey Hooper died last week. He was 87 years old.

He was born in Victoria, British Columbia. After serving in the Canadian Air Force he met his first wife, Jeannette Lauzon, and moved to Connecticut to work for his father-in-law at Stamford Typesetting Corporation. In 1976 he bought the company with a partner, Frank DeBartolo.

At Stamford Type Geoff was a force to be reckoned with as a typesetter, salesman, accountant, proofreader and generous employer. He loved taking clients out charter fishing from Old Saybrook, and delivering bags of bluefish fillets to clients and friends. As the business changed from linotype to computers to desktop publishing and scanning, he kept up with all the new technologies.

When his children were growing up in Westport, Geoff was active in the Westport Community Theater and other acting groups. 

After retiring in 2008 he spent most of his time at his favorite place: home. Geoff was a talented gardener who always grew too many seedlings, but was happy to share them with family and friends. He enjoyed reading, cooking, traveling, theatergoing, and the YMCA’s water aerobics classes.

He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Suzy; his brother Murray (Barbara); his children and their partners Debbie (Norman), Lynne (Gary), Geoff Jr. (Susan) and Kenneth (Kim); his grandchildren and great-grandchildren; his brother- and sister-in-law, Ken Solomon and Janice Lakey, and many other relatives and friends.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to a cause of your choice.

Geoff Hooper, in the water.

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Last March, 3 dolphins hung out for a few days in Bermuda Lagoon, by Saugatuck Shores.

Westport architect Peter Cadoux did not see them. In all his years has boating on Long Island Sound, in fact, he has not seen a single dolphin.

Yesterday he made up for that. Peter was awed by a pod of about 100 dolphins, cavorting a couple of miles off Smithtown Bay. That’s almost directly across the water from Westport.

Here’s a close-up, for today’s fascinating “Westport … Naturally” feature:

(Photos/Peter Cadoux)

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And finally … in honor of the pod of dolphins, last seen frolicking in Long Island Sound:

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(Without “06880,” would you know there were dolphins right off our coast? Please click here, to help us continue to bring you all the stories of where Westport meets the world.)

A Pretty Fair Night

The first night of the Yankee Doodle Fair — on Thursday — was great.

Kids swarmed the annual event at the Westport Woman’s Club grounds, on Imperial Avenue. It’s a harbinger of summer. It’s old-fashioned. It’s fun.

But last night was off the charts. Perfect weather, the end of school (next week doesn’t really count), and the start of the weekend helped attract record crowds.

Here are a few scenes from the 2022 Yankee Doodle Fair.

Though really, this iconic Westport event is timeless.

For $1 a ticket, take a chance on whichever you prize you want. They range from Neil Diamond 50th anniversary concert gear and an authentic Louisiana alligator head, to tool kits, handbags and gift certificates galore.

What’s a fair without music? (All photos/Gloria Smithson)

The Yankee Doodle Fair continues at 44 Imperial Avenue today (Saturday, now through 10 p.m.) and tomorrow (Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.).

(“06880” is completely reader-supported. Please click here to donate.)

Friday Flashback #301

For decades, Westport kids have marked the end of the school year by an event having nothing to do with teachers or books.

The Yankee Doodle Fair roars into town either days before, or days after, the final bell rings. It’s as reliable a start to summer as any tradition could be.

The last 2 years have been different. COVID canceled the event in 2020; last year, it was pushed from June to September.

But now the Yankee Doodle Fair is back. It opened last night; it continues tonight (Friday, 6 to 10 p.m.), tomorrow (Saturday, 1 to 10 p.m.), and Sunday (1 to 5 p.m.), on the Westport Woman Club’s Imperial Avenue grounds

As always, it’s a major fundraiser for the WWC.

And — as these photos from Yankee Doodle Fairs past show — it’s major fun.

A classic carousel, at the Yankee Doodle Fair.

This is noted writer Parke Cummings. He may have walked over from his home on the corner of South Compo and Bridge Street.

Marjorie Teuscher and her son Phil. Her husband — a doctor — owned real estate downtown, including the building that was most recently Tavern on Main. Phil — now all grown up — still lives in Westport.

Pam Blackburn — who sent these photos from her father, George — is shown here with her sister Perii and their mom, Jessica Patton Barkentin.

The Yankee Doodle Fair, as shown in the August 11, 1947 issue of Life Magazine.

Before the Westport Woman’s Club bought their Imperial Avenue clubhouse (and parking lot next door), the Yankee Doodle Fair was held on Jesup Green. This shows National Hall (then Fairfield Furniture) in the background, across the river.

 

BONUS RIDE: In the final season of “I Love Lucy” — after the Ricardos and Mertzes moved to Westport — Lucy and Ethel celebrated a fanciful “Yankee Doodle Day.” The poster about the Yankee Doodle celebration read: “Statue Dedication at Jessup (sic) Green.”

Roundup: Compo Beach Lots, Korean War Vets, Horseshoe Crabs …

For years, Compo Beach guests have been greeted by a gorgeous display of flowers and shrubs, at the main entrance directly opposite the Soundview lot.

Sometimes they’re greeted too by small signs saying “Lot Full.” They’re hard to read, and traffic backs up as drivers try to figure out what to do next.

This year, there should be less confusion. A large electronic sign at the entrance will announce how much space is available in the Soundview, main and daily ($$$) lots.

I’m sure people will still stop and ask the gate attendants all kinds of questions, and try to talk their way in despite seeing “0” availability.

At least they’ll have plenty of warning.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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Across America yesterday, the red-white-and-blue flew in honor of Flag Day.

At the Senior Center, meanwhile, flags — and an honor guard, and dignitaries — honored Westport’s Korean War veterans.

Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, state Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Thomas Saadi and 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker presided at the luncheon and ceremony.

Pete D’Amico described his experiences in that 1950s conflict. Alexander Boboc recalled a fallen comrade. Other veterans like Bill Vornkahl, Bob McCarthy and — in uniform — Tom Lowrie shared stories too.

The ranks of Korean War veterans are diminishing quickly. Yesterday’s recognition was truly important. (Hat tip: David Lowrie)

(From left):VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 3999 quartermaster Phil Delgado, Navy Lt. JG (ret.) Tom Lowrie. and fellow Westport resident Bob Tirrerno — local commissioner to the State Veterans Affairs office — look at a photo of Lowrie’s radar aviation squad.

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Summer arrives Tuesday. But you can get a jump on it Saturday.

That’s the first of 2 “Summer Outdoor Shopping Days.” Main Street from the Post Road to Elm Street will be closed, for better strolling (and strollers). Brooks Corner will be closed too, for vendors. Church Lane is already closed, for the summer.

Merchants on upper Main Street and Elm Street will also participate.

Some stores will offer discounts. Others will highlight special merchandise.

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Horseshoe crabs are very weird creatures. (I know: So are humans.)

Living on Long Island Sound, we’re used to them. But most of us don’t have much horseshoe crab knowledge (beyond “don’t step on them”).

This Sunday (June 19, 3 p.m., Sherwood Island State Park Nature Center), Friends of SP hosts a talk by Dr. Jennifer Mattei. The Sacred Heart University biology professor and director of Project Limulus (named for a horseshoe crab genus) will discuss why they’re important for the health of the Sound — and for your own good health.

The family-friendly session includes a walk on the beach, to look — very carefully — for spawning horseshoe crabs.

Dr. Jennifer Mattei and friends.

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It’s college scholarship time.

And the Westport Woman’s Club is doing its part.

As it has for many decades, the organization recently gave grants to graduating Staples High School seniors.

This year’s total was $36,000. Recipients include Chloe Manna (Emily Duvoisin Scholarship), Tatiana Dragun (Lea Ruegg Scholarship), Juliette Savarino (Emily Fuller Scholarship), Sam Betit (Most Active Member Scholarship, in honor this year of Suzan Murphy), and Olivia Pace, George Kocadag and Malachi Evans (WWC Scholarships).

Funding for the grants comes in part from the Yankee Doodle Fair. The annual event runs tomorrow (Thursday) through Sunday, at the WWC Imperial Avenue grounds.

Attending the ceremony were Congressman Jim Himes, State Senator Will Haskell, State Representative Stephanie Thomas, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, and Staples High School administrators and counselors.

Westport Woman’s Club scholarship winners, with government and school officials.

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You never know what you’ll find on Cablevision Channel 78.

The educational access channel is the home for town meetings, board schedules — and videos produced in the Westport public schools.

Two of those earned honors in the Area 9 Cable Council contest, for their public service announcements. The prize: an “Eddy” (Ed Access Trophy).

Kings Highway placed first in the Elementary School category, for “Think Before You Print” (discouraging printing unnecessary copies of anything).

Kings Highway winners (from left): Kylie Dorfman, Presley Levin Samantha Frank, Adrienne Bihl, Alexander Sheefel, Grey Shugrue.

Staples took second place in the High School division, for “After.”

Staples winners (from left):Jane Weil, Ava Waldman, Jacob Baker. Not pictured: Cooper Tirola

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To plan ahead: Here’s the Levitt Pavilion schedule for June:

  • June 19: Michael Franti & Spearhead (limited tickets remaining)
  • June 21: Comedy Night #1
  • June 22: Children’s Series launch (Josh Lovelace/Young Folk)
  • June 23: Isle of Klezbos
  • June 24: Isabella Mendes Bossa Nova Project
  • June 25: James Langton’s New York All-Star Big Band
  • June 26: Danny Jonokuchi & the Revisionists
  • June 28: Queer + Quiet: An Evening with  Treya Lam
  • June 29: Children’s Series (Falu)

Free tickets are available on the Levitt Pavilion website, and at the box office window 2 hours before show time.

A small portion of the Pops Concert crowd last Friday. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Live theater is back at the Westport Country Playhouse.

And so is their London Theater Tour.

In April, audiences returned to the historic local institution. In October, the WCP hosts a week-long, theater-filled trip.

Managing Director Michael Barker and Artistic Director Mark Lamos led similar trips in the past, with great success. This time, Lamos will pick 5 of the most exciting shows, plus non-theater activities. Past trips have included tea with a cast member, a discussion with a London theater critic, and backstage tours.

For more information (and to book a spot), click here.

The West End Theatre

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UPDATE: The mistake below is on me. Molly Alger sent 3 photos; I misunderstood her. She knows the difference between raspberry and milkweed. I don’t. My apologies.

Molly Alger sends this photo and report, from the Baron’s South walking path:

“The raspberries are ready to bloom. They must be checked daily if you want to save any from the birds and deer.”

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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And finally … as raspberries (above) and strawberries start to ripen:

(“06880” would not exist without reader contributions. Please click here to donate!)

Yankee Doodle Comes To Town

For all its beauty and promise of summer, June is a frazzling time for Westport parents.

There are thousands of end-of-school activities, end-of-sports activities, get-ready-for-camp activities. There’s no time to stop and smell the roses, let alone tend the rest of the garden.

But all that takes a back seat on Fathers Day weekend (sorry, dads!).

It’s Yankee Doodle Fair time. Knocked out twice by COVID (and back, to much joy, last September), the Westport Woman’s Club fundraiser returns to its traditional dates this year.

A timeless scene. (Photo/Dan Woog)

The Fair — on the Woman’s Club grounds at 44 Imperial Avenue — runs this Thursday and Friday (June 16 and 17) from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday’s hours are 1 to 10 p.m. Sunday’s final day is 1 to 5 p.m.

(Photo/JP Vellotti)

Among the highlights: a carousel, Flying Dumbo, Dizzy  Dragon, Frog Hopper, Scrambler, Cliff Hanger, Zero Gravity and Expo Wheel. One-price, unlimited-ride wristbands make the process hassle-free.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

Other attractions include sand art, a bake sale, music (rock, country and bluegrass), raffles (prizes: $1,000, $500, and a gold-and-diamond necklace), and a “take a chance” tent with a ton of prizes.

(Photo/Joel Triesman)

Food court offerings range from burgers and dogs to Greek delights, waffles and ice cream. Beer and wine too (though not for the kids).

(Photo/Dan Woog)

As much fun as the Yankee Doodle Fair is, it’s serious business for the Westport Woman’s Club. Funds raised support an array of programs and grants, from a food pantry and help for organizations serving women, children, people with special needs and much more, to scholarships for graduating seniors.

This year, the WWC donated to $300,000 to Westport’s Emergency Medical Services. That pays for a much-needed new ambulance.

Between the good Westport Woman’s Clubs good works, and all the fun the Yankee Doodle Fair offers, it’s a win-win for all.

See you at the Fair!

The Yankee Doodle Fair (Drone photo/Ryan Collins)

(“06880” relies completely on reader support. To donate, click here.)