Tag Archives: Billings Forge

Like It Or Not, It’s ‘Bye Summer’ and ‘Hello Autumn’ This Weekend

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]It’s kind of the ‘glass half full, glass half empty’ quandary when you look at the upcoming weekend. It’s the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, and for some that can be both good or bad. But despite what season is your favorite Hartford, this weekend brings a lot of enjoy.

It begins today with two well-known al fresco dining events. Carbone’s will host its annual scotch and cigar social under a tent at the landmark restaurant on Franklin Avenue from 6 to 9 p.m. The evening features Carbone’s old world cuisine, aged single malt scotches, complimentary cigars, boutique beers, fine wines and music. Tickets are $125 a person with proceeds going to Carbone Family Charities. Information: 860-296-9646.  

At billings2the same time over at the Billings Forge Market Green at 539 Broad St., Hartford, there will be the annual Farm-to-Table  Dinner under the tent beginning at 6 p.m. The fundraiser showcases the best of the season’s harvest and supports the initiatives at Billings Forge Community Works. There will be food, wine, entertainment and auctions. Tickets are $160. Information: billingsforgeworks.org

If it’s shopping that makes your weekend, The Village for Families & Children will host a grand re-opening of its Second Chance Shop at 730 Hebron Ave., Glastonbury Thursday. The thrift boutique is operated by the facility’s auxiliary and benefits The Village programs. The grand opening and reception are from 5 to 7 p.m.

Friday also has a plethora of choices including the annual WOW Forum, a professional women’s conference held at the Warner Theater in Torrington and sponsored by the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce. Guest speakers including author Ann Leary, NBC Today Show contributor Susanna Salk, artist Danielle Mailer and author Suzy Kline. Information: wowforum.org

Thappy (2)he Goodspeed Opera House continues its 50th anniversary celebration with the opening of “The Most Happy Fella” Friday. It marks the second time the opera house has staged a production of the musical about an aging vineyard owner who proposes to a younger woman via mail, but sends pictures of his much younger and more handsome foreman instead. The show runs through Dec. 1. Information: 860-873-8668 or goodspeed.org 

bbash6Over at Camp Courant in Farmington Friday it will be ‘superhero’ time as the camp holds its annual “Buddy Bash.’ Guests are invited to dress as their favorite superheroes and enjoy a dine-around, auctions and entertainment with proceeds going to the facility that provides free summer camp to eligible youths from Hartford. The party begins at the camp at 6 p.m. and there is an ‘after party’ at Trumbull Kitchen in Hartford.  Tickets are $125. Information: campcourant.org

Celebrate the official end of summer Saturday by heading to Hartford for the annual ‘Envisionfest,’ a  free one-day festival highlighting the city’s innovative history, arts and cultural assets. Hundreds of live entertainment and hands-on activities will be featured throughout the day with musical entertainment and dramatic performances on six stages, free admission to more than eight museums, landmark building tours, lawn games in Bushnell Park and activities along the riverfront. Information: envisionfesthartford.com

Ahclso on Saturday, The Hartford Club will celebrate its ‘140 Years of History’ at a gala there beginning at 6:30 p.m.  The evening will include cocktails, a four-course dinner, dessert room, music and dancing as well as live and silent auctions. Information: hartfordclub.com

New Cafe At Hartford Public Library

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kitch10There’s a new place in town when it comes to dining.

Billings Forge Community Works has opened its second “Kitchen” cafe, this one at Hartford Public Library.The two organizations teamed up for the cooperative venture aimed at bringing more good food to a downtown entity while at the same time providing farm-to-table training for those seeking employment.

“It is cross marketing,”  said Billings Forge executive director Cary Wheaton, who, with library CEO Matt Poland, presided over ribbon cutting ceremonies at the newest location Wednesday. “And at the same time, it promotes what Billings Forge has become known for in terms of increased access to job training and job placement.” A ribbon-cutting party with Billings Forge signature fresh fruit salad, blueberry muffins, and quiche welcome a roomful of invited guests including Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

 Ankitch6d while the new cafe was the reason for the a.m. party, a beaming Poland had other party  plans on his mind.

“We’re getting married Nov. 9,” said Poland about his upcoming nuptials to longtime partner Jeff Capelle.

The two are having their wedding and reception at the Wadsworth Atheneum. Officiating at the ceremony will be Segarra.

“About 100 people including friends and family from Paris and California will be coming ,” said Poland, who is also chairman of the Hartford Board of Education. “We’re excited.”


Restaurant Awards and New Restaurant in Hartford!

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Maryellen Fillo/Hartford Courant


Always so politically correct that Olympic coach Bela Karolyi.

The celeb coach was in town last week as part of the 2013 P & G Gymnastics Championships and as part of the event, participating in a “Capital City’s Taste of the Championships,” dine-around.

Karolyi, along with 1984 Olympic speed skating gold-medalist Johann Olav Koss, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, 2004 Olympic all-around champion Carly Patterson, 1984 Olympic gold-medalist, USA Gymnastics Board Chairman Peter Vidmar and USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny dined at the restaurants over a three-day period, with the intent of handing out gold, silver and bronze awards.

But everything was so good that this year everyone was a winner. Presented the “Nutrition Award” was Max Downtown while the “Most Creative Dish” award winner was Agave Grill. The “Carly Patterson Award” went to City Steam Brewery Café and honored for “Best Comfort Food” was Salute. The prestigious “ Bela Karolyi Award” went to Feng Asian Bistro while the “Mayor’s Award” went to DISH Bar & Grill.

Abillings1 (2)nd speaking of restaurants, another one is opening in Hartford and not where you would expect.

On August 28 “The Kitchen at Hartford Public Library” will open its doors at the Main Street main branch of the library. The new farm-to-table café, collaboration between Billings Forge Community Works and Hartford Public Library, will offer job training and permanent job placement services (through the library’s CT Works program) for Hartford residents.

Billings Forge also has a café at its complex on Broad Street in Hartford.

Ribbon cutting for the second location is at 10:15 a.m.

The restaurant will be serving breakfast, lunch and “to go” food Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Catering will also be available.  


Mraz Leaves More Than A Song Behind in Hartford

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When most Grammy winning performers come to Connecticut for a concert, there are sound checks, rehearsals, and downtime to rest up for the show. Not Jason Mraz.

The singer-songwriter donned a tee shirt and cargo shorts, grabbed a pick and shovel and was part of the landscaping crowd at Burns Elementary School Saturday to the delight of fans, students and environmentalists.

“I don’t want to just come to a place, sing and leave without doing something for someone else,” said the award winning singer who performed at Comcast Theater later in the day. “I don’t want to just leave plastic and crap behind,” he said explaining his “Tree is a Four-Letter Word” program that is part of his tour.  “I consider each of my concert venues a temporary home and want to leave something good behind.”

Mraz ended up planting trees at the Frog Hollow elementary school thanks to a cooperative effort by WTIC radio, Billings Forge, the Knox Foundation and area friends. And it was quickly clear he was not just doing it for show.

The longtime environmentalist, who also owns his own avocado farm, chatted with organizers about their environmental efforts, grabbed a pick and shovel and went to work with crews including Squawn Lewis from the Knox Foundation, digging holes for six new red maple trees.

“We are trying to replace the 1,000 trees we lost in the storms last year around the city,” said Charmaine Craig, better known in Hartford as “The Tree Lady.”  “We are making progress.”

Volunteers also planted banks of flowers, raked up dozens of bags of garbage and dead plants and leaves, and along the way, had the chance to pose with Mraz for pictures.

“I just can’t believe he would give up an afternoon and help,” said Robin Melendez, a resident who stopped with others to watch the action. “That’s a pretty good guy.”