Tag Archives: Hartford Stage

A Weekend Sure To Wonderfully Wear You Out Hartford!

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If you haven’t squeezed in a nap by now this week, you are out of luck. calendar_clip_art-1_opt

There is so much going on in and around Hartford going forward,   that there is no time for weekend snoozing.

Fun begins Thursday  at On20 in Hartford with a launch party celebrating the “Best of Hartford.” The event features the May issue of Hartford Magazine and the people, restaurants, shops and services named to its 11th annual “Best of” list.

Also on Thursday, the state Office of Tourism will hand out its annual “Pineapple Awards” at the Connecticut Conference on Tourism at the Connecticut Convention Center. Awards in categories including Excellence in Tourism, Tourism Ambassador and Volunteer of the Year will be presented to each of the state’s three tourism districts.

pineappleAmong those competing for awards in the Central Connecticut district are the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, the Marriott Hartford Downtown Hotel, Farmington Valley Trails Council and Mark Twain House & Museum.

Keynote speaker at the daylong event is Daniel Levine, global editor of the website WikieTrend.org. For information go here.

Also on Thursday , the Simsbury Performing Arts Center will hold its Kickoff Celebration at the Hop Meadow Country Club beginning at 6 p.m. The event will highlight the upcoming 2014 season which includes performances by  Willie Nelson and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Proceeds from the event will benefit the center.

For information go here.

On Friday, the Wadsworth Atheneum opens its “Art and Flowers” weekend. On Friday, floral FineArtFlowers_wadsworthatheneumF-10-2_WEB[1]designer Bill Graham who will create arrangements based on “the little black dress” theme. The demonstration is followed by lunch.

On Saturday, there will be a farm-to-table dinner and tours of the galleries and art and flower displays. For ticket information for both events  go here.

And what is spring without Meriden’s annual Daffodil Festival?

DaffodilsThe sea of yellow is ready and waiting at Hubbard Park  and opens Saturday at 10 a.m. Celebrating its 36th year, the festival includes 600,001 daffodils, food, arts and crafts, children’s rides, entertainment, a parade, and firework on Saturday , and arts and crafts, food, children’s rides and entertainment on Sunday.

For more information go here.

Saturday night has more events than any one person can possibly get to but here goes.

The American Red Cross will hold its “Red, White And You Ball” at the Connecticut Convention Center.

stew (2)The black tie evening, emceed by WFSB personalities Dennis House and Kara Sundlun and ESPN’s Kevin Negandi, features educational exhibitions, digital storytelling, three-dimensional installations and imaginative pop up booths.

Honorees for the night will be Kim and Stew Leonard Jr. who will receive the Red Cross 2014 Community Impact Award.

For information go here.

Meanwhile over at Hartford Stage’s “Party in the Paint House” time once again, this one hs13celebrating the theater’s 50th birthday.

Titled “1964″ Hartford Stage Gala” the evening is all about the year the theater began and will feature its paint shop turned into a “oh-those 60s” party venue. For information go here.

At the Bond Hotel, CRIS Radio will host its 4th Annual “Dancing in the Dark” gala featuring a dance competition with celebrities including Broadway actor Billy Johnstone, NBC CT anchor Todd Piro, Miss Ct. Kaitlyn Tarpey, WFSB reporter Courtney Zieller, tv host Jose Vega, the Bushnell’s Paul Marte and emceed by WFSB personality Scot Haney.

Cris Radio Dining & Dancing in the Dark April 21, 2012For information go here.

And at the Bushnell, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra will perform its 2nd annual “Playing With Food” concert, a collaborative effort with several Hartford area restaurants.  Music based on food dishes will be featured. For more information go here.

Like chocolate? On Sunday head over to the Connecticut Science Center for the Chocolate World Expo. All things chocolate  including baked goods, special foods, gelato and more will be featured at the event that runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.  For more information go here.

UConn Parade, UConn Gala And More This Weekend

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]uconngala2Yes,  we have two national championship teams here in Connecticut so it just follows that it is all about UConn this weekend. And so it should be!

But besides the Championship Parade on Sunday in Hartford, the UConn Foundation  will be doing some celebrating of its own on Saturday night at its Fifth Annual “White Coat Gala.”  The event will be held at the Connecticut Convention Center.

The Carole and Ray Neag Medal of Honor recipients  this year are Richard and Jane Lublin and UConn Auxiliary president Irene Engel . Also being honored with the corporate philanthropist award at the ball is Cigna.

For more information go here.

But let’s back it up a bit. On Thursday, the Ct Historical Society will host an opening  reception for its new display honoring acting icon, Katharine Hepburn.

Titled “Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen,” the exhibit features over 40 costumes the Oscar-winning,  Connecticut resident wore in 21 films and six stage productions, including “Adam’s Rib,”  “The Philadelphia Story”  and “Coco.” The display also includes vintage posters, playbills and photos and, of course, an ensemble of her signature tailored beige trohepburn-sponsorship-page-header[1]users and linen jackets.

The exhibit was organized by the Kent State University Museum and will be on display in Hartford through Sept. 13.

For more information go here.

Also on Thursday, the Boys & Girls Club of Hartford will host its annual “Opening The Door openingCelebration” at the Connecticut Convention Center. The event features the induction of the 2014  Hall of Fame inductees, Kevin Henry, Joseph Horvath, Darryl Thames and
Clarence (Sonny) Thomas.

The evening includes dinner, a reception, auctions and some surprises. For more information go here.

Also on Thursday at The Pond House Cafe in Elizabeth Park, the Interfaith Education Task Force will hold its 7th annual “Soaring for Success” fundraising party.

Profits from the party support a collaboration between Noah Webster and Rawson Schools and  the task force that provides volunteer tutors for students in need.

Tickets are $35  and available at the door.

Spgoodspeedyankeesring is absolutely here for two reasons. Baseball season has begun and the Goodspeed in East Haddam opens Friday for the season.

And its opening production is the best of two worlds for a baseball-conflicted Connecticut. It’s “Damn Yankees” with a Red Sox twist.

Opening night of “Damn Yankees, The Musical (The Red Sox Version)  includes some Sox treasures including its World Series trophy which will be on display for ticket holders before the show begins. There will also be some other Red Sox surprises including Wally the Mascot and Sox “ball girls”  at the opening night event .

For more information go here.

And speaking of theater, “Somewhere” opens Friday night at Hartford Stage. For ticket wetstasteinformation go here.

On Saturday, you can also enjoy a dine around by attending the Wethersfield Historical Society’s Taste of Wethersfield from 7 to 9 :30 p.m. The dine-around will be held at the Keeney Memorial Cultural Center at 200 Main St. Cost is $50 per person for early admission at 6 p.m. and $35 per person for admission at 7 p.m. A host of area restaurants will be serving featured foods. There will also be live entertainment and auctions. For information go here.

On Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m., at The Studio at Billings Forge in Hartford, GLAD will honor John and Becky Glezegladn for their efforts on behalf  the LGBT community.

The couple have not only financially supported organizations like True Colors,   but have also served as activists for gender equality in the state. For more information go here.

 

TheaterWorks Unveils New Show, New Digs

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theater3The evening was supposed to be about the opening of TheaterWorks latest production “The Other Place.”

But before the show began Friday, there was the celebration of another “other place,” the dazzling new administrative digs at the Pearl Street theater.

A select group of the well-known got the first peek of the new second floor office space that includes a box office, meeting room and some impressive new territory for TheaterWorks producing artistic director Rob Ruggiero.

“It’s just nice to have us all in the same place,” enthused Ruggiero, whose opening night guest theater1list including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and, his wife, Greater Hartford Arts Council Cathy Malloy. “It is just so much nicer than being spread out all over the place.”

And if the old adage that your workspace determines how you work, then watch out. The seemingly unstoppable Ruggiero will undoubtedly be bringing even more to the creative table.

“I love my sand box,” said Ruggiero whose minimalist but sophisticated office includes a small desktop sand box where he can dig for new ideas, a chalkboard wall already filled with inspirational sayings and notes to himself and assorted art and posters, all aimed at artistic succtheater2ess.

Among the VIP’ers at the pre-show reception was Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra. He could not stay however; he had some cooking to do back at his Prospect Avenue home.

“Charlie is at home and I have to get back to help him,” explained Segarra. Seems the power couple was hosting and cooking for a Hartford Stage party.

And on the menu?

“We are serving Cornish game hen with a guava glaze and roasted pork loin with pigeon peas,” Segarra reported.

But what about the TheaterWorks show?

“I’m going to catch it on another night,” Segarra said as he headed out the door. “I have to go cook!”

Welcome Courant “Java 250″

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oldjava2Through 250 years of wars, politics, development, weather, science, arts, sports and education in Connecticut, there was always the social news. Reports on people and their parties, cotillions, galas, coming-out parties, balls, socials, celebrations, festivals and fetes have been a “must read” during the Courant’s long history. These titillating tidbits provided insight into the pulse of the community, and of course everyone always loved the gossip about the way the “other half” lived. Yes, everyone wanted to know who poured tea, who made the debutantes list, the vacation comings and goings of the city’s rich and powerful, who attended and who was hosting the A-list get-togethers. And what was everyone wearing to these? That news made the social columns over the years, under the headers that were Java predecessors: “In The Social World,” “Society,” or “Social and Personal.” On Wednesdays during February we will revisit some of these social reports (written in period style)  on the balls, parties, dinners, fundraisers from years past.  Welcome to JAVA 250!

 

In 1867…….

Othello Presented

Allyn Hall was crowded last evening, with one of the finest audiences of the season to witness “Othello” by the company under Mr. Lowell’s management. The interest was admirably sustained throughout, and the audience held almost breathless in some portions. Mr. Davenport’s rendering of the jealous Moor was one of his best efforts, not strained or overdone, but full of passion and life. (1867)

oldjava3

In 1924….

In The Social World

Mrs. Fred P. Holt of Elm Street gave a bridge party at her home Wednesday afternoon for the benefit of the Charter Oak Branch of the Sunshine Society. Mrs. William E. Hudson poured.

Mrs. Arthur L. Gillett of Marshall street was one of the chaperones at the Hartford Club on Friday at the performance of “Turtle Doves” given by the Jester’s of Trinity College.(Feb. 3, 1924).

 

In 1969….ivyball

Ivy Debs Rehearse for December Ball

Twelve debutantes have been selected for the third annual Ivy Ball. Sponsored by the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, the Ivy Ball is Hartford’s leading Negro social cotillion and is traditionally held in December, this year Dec. 29 in the Grand Ballroom of the Hartford Hilton Hotel.

At the recent mother-daughter tea at the Wadsworth Atheneum the debutantes and their mothers were entertained by members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha. Mrs. Frank Jacobs, president, discusses the growing “importance of Negro women in Hartford’s social community.”

Joseph Albano of the Hartford Ballet co., assisted by his wife, Julia Frederick and Enid Lynn, demonstrated a presentation ceremony which will take place at the ball, (Aug. 3, 1969

Lots to Do As January Turns To February

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]Well, the good news is another month of winter is almost done. The better news is that January goes out on a great note and February begins on an even better one as the months  change.

Thursday at 6:30 p.m. , Wadsworth Atheneums’s executive director Susan Talbot  will welcome Pulitzer Prize winning composer David Lang for a program that will include a screening of the award-winheartning film,”The Great Beauty.”

The program, titled “On Stage  David Lang & Susan Talbot” will  include a discussion the  Yale professor about his music and involvement in filmmaker Pablo Sorrentino  films.

Information: thewadsworth.org.

It may still be January but most people have a bit of Valentine’s Day on their minds and thatmunson means thoughts of chocolate.

On Thursday, The United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut will host its “Red, White and Chocolate” fundraiser benefiting its Women’s Leadership Council.

The tasty evening will be held at The Pond House Cafe at Elizabeth Park and will feature  30 wines from eight distributors and assorted Munson’s chocolates. There will also be hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.  The party begins at 5: 30 p.m. Information: unitedwayinc.org

Think of it as a winter block party.

winebotsThat is what is happening in Hartford’s West End Saturday when more than 300 neighbors get together for the neighborhood’s annual  dine around.

The festivities begin with cocktails and appetizers at UConn Law School, followed by dinner at  31 different homes  and then dessert and coffee for everyone at yet another home.
Proceeds from the event benefit the West End Civic Association.

Like so many others, are you afraid spring is just never going to arrive?  Cheer up! There is hope in the form of a little furry forecaster at the Lutz Children’s Museum Sunday. (And you can catch her act long before settling down for the annual Super Bowl contest.)

Chuckles VIII,  the resident groundhog there,  will do her Groundhog Day duty  and depending on whether she sees his shadow or not, determine if there are six more weeks of winter or a spring that is just around the corner.

The chuckles3season predicting “coming out” will happen just  before 7 a.m. Coffee and breakfast foods will be available. Information: 860-643-0949 or lutzmuseum.org

Also this weekend, whether you have or have not seen  “War Horse,” head over to the Bushnell for its production of the Broadway and Oscar-nominated  hit.  Bring tissues and your listening ears. Joey the horse and the incredible puppeteers  more than deserved the opening night standing ovation.

Also, Steve Martin’s “The Underpants”  continues at Hartford Stage and over at TheaterWorks, catch “Freud’s Last Session .”

Also, if you haven’t done it yet, this is your last weekend to take a spin around the ice skatingskating rink at Hartford’s  WinterFest at Bushnell Park. Information: hartford.com

 

 

 

New Year, New ‘To Do’ Hartford!

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]disneyAnother year and another 52 weekends of things to do in and around Hartford.

So Happy New Year all! Here are some choices to get your 2014 ‘out and about’ off to a good start!

If you are still trying to stretch that “extra time” with the kiddos into the new year, head over to the XL Center for the ‘Disney On Ice: Princesses & Heroes’ show. The production featuring Disney characters including Prince Philip, Meleficent, Ursula, Ariel and Prince Eric runs through Sunday.  Information: ticketmaster.com

Looking for something that is “adults only.” Head over to Hartford Stage where actor/author Steve Martin’s  “The Underpants” opens  Thursday and continues through February. Information: hartfordstage.org

Also, beginning on Thursday, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra with Hartford Stage celebratehstage505 120 years worth of theater and music at a production of Shakespeare’s (dare we say it)  ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’

HSO, celebrating 70 years, and Hartford Stage, celebrating 50 years, will present the classic through Sunday. Information: hartfordsymphony.org

Tired of winter and the cold, cold, cold?  Head over to the Connecticut Convention Center this weekend for some dreams of summer at the 32nd annual Northeast RV & Camping Show Friday through Sunday.

madDogAndMerrillCartoon[1]Besides displays and vendors, the three-day event also features Wisconsin “cheese heads”  Mad Dog and Merrill who have been featured on national TV and have their own show back in Wisconsin on the CW Network.

 

 

2013. What A Java Year It Was!

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goodspeed5stage501capgrill1It’s a day of change, one year ends and the new calendar begins and for Java, 2013 was one packed with anniversary celebrations, new babies, power weddings, celebrity visits, new places to eat and old ones that closed and media comings and goings that kept the buzz factor high.

Anniversaries (and the celebratory galas that marked most of them) were the big news as some of the area’s most prominent arts venues and non-profits celebrated noteworthy milestones. Among them, the Goodspeed, CPTV and Hartford Stage marked “gold” with 50th anniversaries. Hartford Symphony Orchestra marked its 70th year while Mercy Housing celebrated its 30th and Infinity Hall (which opens a second location in Hartford in the spring) celebrates its fifth anniversary. When it came to eating, Carbone’s, an iconic landmark in Hartford’s South End marked its 75th anniversary and downtown’s Bin 228 marked 10 years in the business.

Speaking of food, the anxiously awaited Capital Grille arrived in Hartford and Salute’s Jimmy Cosgrove was named restaurateur of the year by the CT Restaurant Association. Manolo Blahnik execs George Malkemus and Anthony Yurgaitis opened their chic Arethusa al Tavolo eatery in Bantam and Chris Prosperi moved his Metro Bis restaurant into the historic 1820 House in Simsbury. Dan Keller and Billy Carbone added to their dining dynasty, opening Sorella across the street from their DISH restaurant in downtown Hartford while West Hartford’s Dorjan Puka, well-known owner/chef, opened a second restaurant, Avert, just around the corner from his TREVA rsilo (2)estaurant there.

Gary Santorso of Silo restaurant family fame got back in the business after a brief hiatus, opening his own place, 150 Central in Bristol’s Forestville Center.

Well-known eateries, Rainforest Café at Westfarms Mall and Prospect Café in West Hartford closed, as did Mortensen’s, the family friendly haven on the Berlin Turnpike. Carmen Vacalebre also closed his Carmen Anthony’s Fishhouse on the turnpike.

Wedding bells were loud and impressive with some power couples hooking up during the year. Hartford Public Library’s President/CEO and Hartford Board of Education chairman Matt Poland and Cigna exec Jeff Capelle said “they did” at a ceremony at the Wadsworth Atheneum. The Hartford residence of wedding guests Gov. Dannel P. and Cathy Malloy served as the backdrop for the nuptials of former legislative heavyweight and now deputy OPM secretary for criminal justicelawlor (2), Mike Lawlor and David Zakur, as well as that of former Malloy political advisor Roy Occhiogrosso and Meagan Cowell.

Also saying “I do” in 2013 were FoxCT’s Rachel Frank and Laurie Perez and WTIC 96.5 FM radio’s Damon Scott.

And hours before a new year begins, WTNH personality Teresa LaBarbera plans to tie the knot with Brandon Dufour.

Babies made the news when Dr. William Petit and wife, Christine Petit, welcomed new son William Petit III into the world. WTNH anchor Anne Craig and her husband also welcomed a baby daughter while FoxCT’s  Rachel Lutzker and her husband welcomed a new son.

Tallison-demers-feat[1]here were lots of comings and goings on radio and TV during the year. Among them, WTNH’s Sonia Baghdady left that station as did Jamie Muro. WFSB’s Olessa Stepanova headed to Boston while former NBC CT/WVIT General Manager Dave Doebler headed to Chicago. WDRC FM’s Jerry Kristafer was shown the door but walked through another at WJMJ. WDRC AM’s Mary Jones retired and WRCH’s Allison Demers also left the business. Veteran radio personalities stepped up. Mary Scanlon joined WRCH and Kim Zachary joined WDRC. WCCC had a bit of a ruckus during the year with a change in music format and an unwilling departure by Mike Picozzi.

Truthhe stars hone bright in the area, the biggest and shiniest being Prince Harry’s spring trip to Greenwich where he played polo and hobnobbed with VIP guests at the Greenwich Polo Club. Project Runway’s Mondo Guerra, supermodel Kathy Ireland, sports greats Tim Wakefield and Tony Dorsett, and others including Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Justin Bieber, Jillian Michaels, Tabatha Coffey, Malcolm Gladwell, Stephen King, Jimmie Johnson, Nick Cannon and Steve Carell were all out and about the Hartford area, with some doing special guest shots at Bristol’s ESPN.

king1Hill-stead Museum’s Sue Sturtevant left the executive director’s job there and was replaced by Susan Ballek. Rob Ruggiero officially took over as producing artistic director at Theaterworks, while at Mark Twain House & Museum, Cindy Lovell took over as the new executive director. At the Bushnell, Mike Fresher left his COO job to take a post in San Antonio.

Connecticut had a couple of ‘beauty and brains’ firsts. West Hartford native Ashley Wilson became the state’s first Playboy centerfold in 2013.  Miss Connecticut, accountant and Glastonbury resident Erin Brady was crowned Miss Connecticut and went on to win the Miss USA pageant, a first for a Connecticut contestant. She represented the country at the Miss Universe pageant in Russia a few weeks ago, placing in the top 10 in the international competition.Erin Brady poses at a news conference after being crowned Miss USA 2013 in Las Vegas

When it came to reality shows, Connecticut did okay in 2013. The New Haven-based 3 Penny Chorus and Orchestra did the state proud as it advanced on the “America’s Got Talent.” And East Hartford’s Ashlee Feliciano was equally impressive as one of contenders on “American Idol.”

Last Weekend Pre-Holidays Hartford, Start Your Celebration!

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]twainhouseIt’s the last weekend of the year before Christmas and New Year’s arrive. so let’s get in the mood if you are not already there.

The weekend begins Thursday at Real Art Ways with its monthly Creative Cocktail soiree from 6 to 10 p.m. Hartford’s Markie Gee is the DJ for the night. The evening also includes a recap of  the very best YouTube had to offer in 2013. A new exhibit, The Shadow of the Palm is Deep by StepUp artist Austin Ballard will also be featured. Information: realartways.org

Thanks to The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., The Mark Twain House & Museum is offering free tours to Hartford residents Saturday. City residents only have to bring along proof of residency to take that long-planned tour of Mark Twain’s house, which is decorated for the holidays. The museum is open 9:30-5:30; last tour at 4:30. Information: mallmanarktwainhouse.org

Some celebrity in town performing this weekend, too. Devon Allman, son of famed rock/blues singer Gregg Allman, will be the featured talent at Black -eyed Sally’s Saturday at 9 p.m. $12 cover. Information: blackeyedsallys.com

Thinking about eating out? You might want to consider Hartford and enjoy a trolley ride.

Several restaurants are among the stops as part of this year’s holiday trolley that runs between Keeney Memorial Cultural Center in Olde Wethersfield and Bushnell Park in Hartford.

Trolleys provide the free, continuous back-and-forth rides on Friday and Saturdays from 4 to 11trolley p.m. with stops at Costa Del Sol, Carbone’s, Casa Mia and Andreas, Mozzicato’s and Francesco’s, J Restaurant/Bar and Bushnell Park where Winterfest is underway. On New Year’s Eve, transportation will be available from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. The route takes about 30 minutes.

Looking for some on-stage inspiration when it comes to Christmas? Take your pick. Hartford Stage is featuring its annual production of “A Chrisnutctmas Carol” (hartfordstage.org) through Dec. 28.

Or you can take in the CONNetic Dance’s Nutcracker Suite & Spicy production at The Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford Friday  or Saturday at 8 p.m. or Sunday at 2 p.m.  This Hartford holiday tradition is a quirky and fun take on the holiday ballet classic and includes athletic dance forms including tap, jazz, and hip hop and seasoned with their signature sense of humor. Information:  860-251-9194 or www.conneticdance.com

 

 

 

 

 

Time for Some Fa La La La La Spirit Hartford!

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]Less than two weeks and counting Christmas fans! And if you need a little fa la la la la lift, there’s a lot to choose from this weekend.

Thursday morning the Catholic Charities holds its 8th annual “Help and Hope Breakfast” at the Hartford Marriott Downtown. American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco is the guest speaker at the event that benefitting families in need.  

On Friday, head over to the Glastonbury Hilton Homewood Suites where the Salvation Army and WTIC radio will hold the 24th annual Holiday Store “Pajama Party” beginning at 5:30 a.m. The event raises money and toys for gifts for those in need.  

Fridabeaty is “Liquid Lounge” night at the Connecticut Science Center. The party, beginning at 6 p.m. will include three floors of DJs, ice sculptors, gourmet food carts, games & crafts, specialty drinks and live burlesque from Hartford’s own Beat City Beauties. The entire event is Hollywood-themed and there will be prizes for guests who dress up like their favorite movie characters. Information: ctsciencecenter.org.

Hartford’s Nook Farm will provide a pleasant look back intime this weekend as it hosts its annual “Stowe & Twain’s Olde Fashioned Christmas.” Both the Stowe and Twain Houses will be decorated for the holidays Saturday from 10 to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. twainhouse

The open house includes tours, horse-drawn carriage rides, entertainment and a visit from St. Nicholas. Information: harrietbeecherstowecenter.org.

Thinking about eating out? You might want to consider Hartford and enjoy a trolley ride.

Several restaurants are among the stops as part of this year’s holiday trolley that runs between trolleyKeeney Memorial Cultural Center in Olde Wethersfield and Bushnell Park in Hartford.

Trolleys provide the free, continuous back-and-forth rides on Friday and Saturdays from 4 to 11 p.m. with stops at  Costa Del Sol, Carbone’s, Casa Mia and Andreas, Mozzicato’s and Francesco’s, J Restaurant/Bar and Bushnell Park where Winterfest is underway. On New Year’s Eve, transportation will be available from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. The route takes about 30 minutes.

Lowadstree17oking for some on-stage inspiration when it comes to Christmas? Take your pick. Hartford Stage is featuring its annual production of “A Christmas Carol” (hartfordstage.org) through Dec. 28 , while over at TheaterWorks, catch the off-beat “Christmas on the Rocks” (theaterworkshartford.org) through Dec. 22.

And finally, the Wadsworth Atheneums’ 40th Annual Festival of Trees & Traditions continues through Sunday. Information: 860-838-4100 or thewadsworth.org

Get Your Christmas (And More) On This Weekend

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]

It’s time to get that holiday season really rolling and this weekend in the Hartford area, you cannot avoid it. Some of the area’s biggest holiday events are going on, with some extra thrown in for good measure.

Things kick off Thursday with the opening of the Wadsworth Atheneum’s 40th Annual Festival of Trees & Tradition. Begun in 1974, the annual event transform the landmark museum into a holiday wonderland with trees, wreaths and table decorations, all  enhanced with daily family programming and more. More than 11,000 visitors are expected at  the festival with proceeds benefiting museum programs.

treefest16A preview party will be held Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m.  On Friday  “The Night of Illumination”  festivities will be held  featuring refreshments, performances and a light display. Information: 860-838-4100 or  thewadsworth.org   

Also on Thursday, Foxwoods Resort Casino will kick off the holiday season with the opening of its Winter Skating Rink & Patio. Former Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan will christen the rink with a special performance and then join Boston hockey legend Terry O’Reilly for a meet and greet autograph session. 

The opening festivities will also include VIP reception featuring hors d’oeuvres, a ribbon cutting and official tree and rink lighting. Members of the local Mystic Ballet Company will perform and award-wining ice sculptor Gregory Shimoda from the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort will carve a winter masterpiece to fit the winter wonderland.  Information:foxwoods.com

If ymashouseou are looking for an eyeful of decorations visit  Governor and Mrs. Dannel Malloy’sgovres Prospect Avenue governor’s residence Friday through Sunday for their annual Holiday Open House. The residence has been decorated with four trees and over-the-top trimmings and gingerbread houses (like the one above from Max Downtown pastry chef Warren Hardman)  on mantels and tabletops, all for public viewing Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. Visitors are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to be donated to the Toys For Tots holiday gift-giving program. Information: 860-524-7355 or ct.gov

Friday begins with a Girl Scout breakfast at The Hartford Club. “The Breakfast Badge” awards program will honor Teresa Younger, executive director of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women and past girl scout board president. Breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m. Information: 860-522-0163 or gsofct.org

Alsonusser on Friday, you can head over to the Connecticut Convention Center for the Greater Hartford Women Against MS Luncheon. Guest speaker at the event that includes shopping, a luncheon will be motivational speaker Larissa Nusser. Information: 860.913.2550 or nationalmssociety.org 

The Children’s Law Center of Connecticut will hold its “Imagine…Growing Our Garden” fundraiser at The Hartford Golf Club Friday. The 20th anniversary gala celebrations includes cocktails, dinner and auctions. Information:ctcct.org or 860-232-9993

Looking for some on-stage inspiration when it comes to Christmas? Take your pick. Hartford Stage is featuring its annual production of “A Christmas Carol” (hartfordstage.org) through Dec. 28 (while over at Theaterworks, catch the off-beat “Christmas on the Rocks”  (theaterworkshartford.org) through Dec. 22.  And at the Bushnell Saturday, The Hartford Symphony Orchestra along with The Hartford Chorale and special guest soloists will perform “Handel’s Messiah.” Information: hartfordsymphony.org

bearAlso on Saturday , grab the kids and head over to Max Downtown from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for its annual “Teddy Bear Tea.” The event includes light treats, a signature Max bear, a photo and some family fun. Guests 13 and under are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy to be donated to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.  Information: 860-522-2530 or maxrestaurantgroup.com

Wait, there is still more!

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit several distinctive Hartfordtwainxmas and West Hartford homes all decked out for the holidays as part of the Mark Twain House & Museum’s 33rd Annual Holiday House Tour on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Among the six homes that are featured on the tour are the former Katharine Hepburn residence in West Hartford, The Isham-Terry house in Hartford and of course, The Mark Twain House in Hartford.

As an added bonus, author Carlo Devito, who wrote a new book called “A Mark Twain Christmas” will be at the MTH to autograph copies. Information: 860-280-3130 or marktwainhouse.org.

lego_optAnd finally, don’t forget it is Lego KidsFest weekend over at the Connecticut Convention Center.

If you or your kids are fans of those little plastic blocks, plan to be happily overwhelmed with master builder creations and more. There is limited ticket availability for the show that runs Friday through Sunday. Information: legokidsfest.com