Tag Archives: hartford symphony orchestra

Is It The Weekend Yet? YES!

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Can you believe it? July is almost  gone and August is soon to arrive.calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]

As we head into the best part of summer, make some time to savor every moment, especially on the weekends.

And this one includes  ice cream, carousel rides, and sweet music and theater under the stars.

marktwainOn Thursday, July 24, it’s free ice cream and more at one of Hartford’s most famous landmarks, the Mark Twain House & Museum. Its 6th annual Ice Cream Social  will be held at the patio with Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum doing the scooping at this free event.

Performing will be Horizon Blue, an acoustic Americana musical group.

Also featured is Jessica Lawson, the author of the new young adult book “The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher.”

There will also be a Becky Thatcher-themed scavenger hunt, lawn games, and discounted tours of the first floor of the Mark Twain House ($5 for adults, seniors, and children; under age 6 free).

icream7Following the social, which will be held from 5 to 8 p.m., Mark Twain House & Museum will host its “Get A Clue” tour. Play its live-action version of the classic game CLUE in the Mark Twain House. Was it Becky Thatcher with the revolver in the Conservatory? The Prince (or was it the Pauper?) with the knife in the library? This hour long tour features SEA TEA IMPROV .

And if that ‘s not enough, head back on Friday and Saturday evenings for the popular “Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours” for some summer fun. The Mark Twain House has been featured on Syfy Channel’s Ghost Hunters and the Biography Channel’s My Ghost Story.

For more information on all the weekend events go here.

On Friday, July 25, pack a picnic, grab the lawn chairs and head over to Simsbury Meadowshso-logo1[1]  where the Talcott Mountain Music Festival will pay tribute to Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. Singer Marva Hicks and  trumpeter Byron Stripling will featured with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. For more information go here.



Celebrate another landmark in Hartford Saturday, July 26,  when Bushnell Park’s Carousel kicks off its 100th birthday celebration . The party includes free rides face paining, balloon twisting, cake and mini-train rides around the park.

The party goes from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

For more information go here.


Treat yourself and take advantage of the summer version of the “Taste of Hartford” that continues salute next week.

Dozens of Hartford restaurants are offering specially priced lunch and dinner fixed-price menus, giving diners the perfect opportunity to try a new restaurant or visit a favorite one “just because.”

For more information go here.

Speaking of food, don’t forget the Connecticut Wine Festival at The Goshen Fairgrounds  on July 26 and 27. Wine tastings, food, crafts, wine seminars, live music and entertainment will be featured.

Tickets are $30, which includes wine and specialty food samplings, a souvenir wine glass and tote bag. A ticket for designated drivers is $10.

For more information go here.



Capital Classics Theatre Company enters its 24th anniversary season this weekend  with the staging of “All’s Well That Ends Well.”

This is central Connecticut’s longest-running Shakespeare festival, running for  three weekends: July 24 through August 10, 2014. Held at University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford. The festival will also feature pre-show entertainment on Thursday , ice cream on Friday, and lectures by local professors on Sunday.

Performances are held on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5:30 p.m. For more information go here.

And finally, get a dose of good Irish music, food and fun at the 31st Greater Hartford Irish Music Festival  June 25, 26 and 27.  the festival is held at the Irish American Home Society , 132 Commerce St., Glastonbury. For more information go here.



Hartford Symphony Celebrates 70 With Platinum Gala

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Four hundred guests gathered at the downtown Marriott in Hartford to celebrate the Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s platinum gala, “A Celebration of 70 Seasons,” Saturday night. April 2014 198

“The things that Carolyn [Kuan] and the musicians have done over the last few months have been really perfect for a celebration of this magnitude,” said Jim Remis, HSO board chairman, who attended the event with wife Nancy Remis. “Seventy years in this town with great music. And 70 more coming.”

April 2014 187In true Hartford Symphony fashion guests were treated to music by several students (current and past winners of the HSO’s Young Artists Competition) during the cocktail hour, and then a special performance by the orchestra later in the evening in the grand ballroom, conducted by music director Carolyn Kuan.

Among the 400 in attendance were Jeff Brown, Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts board member and wife Virginia; Susan O’Brien, HSO’s assistant director of individual giving; Dr. Gary Rhule, who is currently working on his second novel; and Esther Pryor, HSO board member and mom Claire Pryor of West Hartford (Claire and her late husband were involved with the symphony since the 70s).

TV and radio personality Jim Masters was the evening’s emcee.April 2014 195

And proving that the symphony is truly for all ages, board member Mark Hayes tells Java that he’s been taking his daughter Raegan, 7, to the symphony since she was 2 years old.

“My father took me to the symphony,” said Hayes. “The most special thing about the symphony, for me, is being able to share that moment with my daughter.”April 2014 202

More photos from the event here



Finally April And A Hartford Weekend To Behold!

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]Sun, some milder weather and a new month mean lots of possibilities this weekend in and around Hartford.

Thursday and Friday are parties with a kick.

At the Wadsworth Atheneum it’s “Tango!” at its First Thursday After Hours event from 5 to dancing8 p.m. There will be tango lessons at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. by the Hartford Argentine Tango Society with music by Sofia Tosello and Tangolando. Get creative by making paper flowers, take advantage of the ‘3 in 30′ tour at 6 p.m., feast on Argentine-inspired food and see the film ‘Elsa and Fred’ at 8 p.m. Admission is $5 for non-members, free for members. Information: thewadsworth.org

You can also get an early start on the weekend by heading over to theegypt Connecticut Science  Center and its ‘Liquid Lounge: Party by the Pyramids’ from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday.

Coined as Hartford’s ‘hottest’ 21+ party, the evening will include live music, dancing, gourmet food carts, hands-on exhibits and some special treats including a ride on a ‘tiger’ with Safari Bob, African animals, belly dancing classes, Egyptian crafts and more as the museum highlights its ‘Lost Egypt’ exhibit. Dress like an Egyptian for chance to win a prize.  Tickets are $18 at the door. Space is limited. Information:  ctsciencecenter.org

Tbledsoehis weekend it is all about UConn basketball in Connecticut but if you want to see a former football star, head down to the new Maximum Beverage on Route 10 in Farmington where former New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe will be pitching his Doubleback wine.

Bledsoe is the special guest at the new store co-owned by ESPN personality Colin Cowherd.  Bledsoe will be at the store from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Saturday is also SWAN Day in Wolcott, Support Women Artists Now Day.swan

More than 25 female artists will be featured with their art including painting, dance and music.

Among the performers are them Damn Hamiltons, Vivienna Laflamme, Post Modern Panic and Angie of 1974.

The festival takes place at illusions Night Club, 1639 Wolcott Road. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the door.

The Hartford Symphony Orchestra will celebrate its 70th anniversary  at its ‘Platinum Gala: A Celebration of 70 Seasons’ at the Hartford Marriott Downtown on Saturday beginning at 6 p.m. The black tie party includes a cocktail reception, dinner, open bar, live auction and a special performance by HSO musicians led by Maestra Carolyn Kuan.   Information: 860-246-8742 excamrynt. 326 or hartfordsymphony.org

And looking ahead, the Hartford Region YWCA will host its annual ‘In the Company of Women’ luncheon April 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m at the Connecticut Convention Center.

Special guest will be actress Camryn Manheim, best known for her Emmy and Golden Globe award winning acting on the hit tv show ‘The Practice.’

Information: ywcahartford.org

And don’t forget you get enjoy some fine dining down in New Haven as its ‘NewHaven Restaurant Week’ continues through Apil 11 with specially priced meals at dozens of restaurants there.

And last but not least, for couples planning their big day, the annual Bridal Expo will be happening at the XL Center, offering brides and grooms -to-be all they need to know when it comes to planning a wedding. Information: jenskproductions.com










March Bringing Some Great Weekend Choices Hartford!

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]With a (finally) warmer weekend  forecast in the offing, take advantage of some “get out” days this weekend by doing just that.

You can start recovering from a winter of cabin fever be heading over to Avon Old Farms Hotel Thursday for “A Toast to Women, An Evening of Wine & Chocolate Delights.”

The event, celebrating March 8 as “National Women’s Day,” is presented by  Soroptimist International of Farmington Valley and features chocolate creations by several well-known  area restaurants including Apricots, Cavey’s, Grist Mill and Max Downtown.

ginabFeatured guest is author and humorist Gina Barreca, with emcee Debbie Allen Wright. Proceeds will benefit Grace Academy in Hartford, Prudence Crandall Center in New Britain and SIFV sponsored awards that empower women and girls to live their dreams. Information: 860-930-9298.

And speaking of National Women’s Day, Charter Oak Cultural Center will be the venue for the Women Composers Festival  beginning Thursday and continuing through Sunday. Among the performers are Andrew Clearfield and Agosto and the Sylvctforanus Ensemble. Information: womencomposersfestivalhartford.com

On Friday, The Connecticut Forum will present “An Honest Look At Mental Illness,” at a series program at the Bushnell. Moderated by NPR’s John Dankosky, panelist swill include author and psychologist Andrew Solomon, Institute of Living chief of psychiatry Dr. Hank Schwartz and author/bipolar expert Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison. Information: ctforum.org


Speaking of art inspired events, you can also head down to Foxwoods on Friday from 8 to 10 p.m. where the resort casino is hosting its “Drunken Palette” at the casino’s new lounge, The Box. A local artist will be on hand to help guests create a one-of-a-kind work of art while enjoying a complimentary glass of wine. The specbjoelial art night continues Fridays through March.  Information: foxwoods.com

And on Saturday, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra will be saluting singer/composer Billy Joel at its POPS concert Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Bushnell. Hartt School director of bands Glen Adsit will conduct the program featuring Michael Cavanaugh and music from other rock ‘n’ roll icons including Elvis Presley, Elton John and Jerry Lee Lewis. Information: hartfordsymphony.org

And finally, we all know it’s tax time. And Hartford is offering some help not only with that but finances in general.

On March 8 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. the City of Hartford, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut and The Village for Families & Children will host Dollars and Sense Day at Hartford Public Library Downtown, 500 Main St. The event is free, open to the public and part of the 2014 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Campaign and MyFreeTaxes. Both services help lower-to-moderate wage earning families work toward financial security.

Bank of America volunteers will provide financial budget coaching, and other volunteers will assist families with benefits screening. Families and children may enjoy guest read-a-loud sessions, complimentary refreshments, several prize drawings, kids’ activities and more.

People will also be able to access the CT Works One-Stop Career Center @HPL, for assistance with employment services such as job searching, resume writing and workshops.

Information: unitedwayinc.org/freetaxrefunds.



HSO’s ‘Playing With Food’ Time Again!

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hso8The concert date is set, April 26,  and so are the restaurants and the chefs that participating in the Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s 2nd annual “Playing with Music” program.

You might remember it from last year. Hartford-area restaurants interpreted pieces of music with food and HSO conductor Carolyn Kuan chose music to go with menu dishes. The event climaxed with a symphony playing the music while the restaurants featured the foods.

This year’s restaurants and chefs  have been announced and they are:

Apricots Restaurant and Pub- Chef and Owner Ann Howard, Grants Restaurant and Bar / Restaurant Bricco- Chef and Owner Billy Grant, Max Downtown- Pastry Chef Warren Hardman,Treva Restaurant / A Vert- Chef and Owner Dorjan Puka and Trumbull Kitchen Executive Chef Chris Torla

Get Ready Hartford For a Great Summer Weekend

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calendar_clip_art-1_optFinally Mother Nature is giving us a break by delivering what appears to be the kind of balmy summer weekend we dreamed of when we were shoveling out of snowstorms last winter.

It’s a weekend of summer’s best;  ice cream, outdoor concerts, leisurely boat rides, wine, food, golf and more.

All that good stuff begins today at the Mark Twain House & Museum. The Hartford landmark will be hosting its annual “Ice Cream Social.” And it’s free!

Sice-cream-cone[1]taff will be scooping from 5 to 7 p.m . And there’s more than just ice cream and sundaes. There will also be dancers from West Hartford’s Ballet Theatre Company and barbershop quartet music courtesy of the group Bandstand.  Information: marktwainhouse.org.

Then you can head down to Goodspeed’s Norma Terris theatre in Chester for opening night of  its new musical “LMNOP.”   Billed as “chaos, one letter at a time,” the show begins at 8 p.m.  The show goes through Aug. 18. Information: goodspeed.org.

Beginning Friday, get your Irish on because the 30th annual Greater Hartford Irish Music Festival kicks off at the Irish American Home Society in Glastonbury.

The three-day festival is a lively mix of Irish music, culture, food, ands beverages. Among the bands featured this year are The Kildares, the Bogside Rogues, Unforgettable Fire and the St. Patrick’s Pipe Band.  There is a “Festival Colleen” contest, a “Men in Kilts” contest , Irish bread baking demonstration, “Celtic Cids” activity zone for kids  and sheep herding demonstration.

Shamrock_07[1]The festival is open Friday from 6 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from 2 p.m. to midnight and Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m. information: irishmusicfest.com

Also on Friday, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra will entertain with “The talcott2Rolling Stones Tribute: 50 years of Satisfaction” the final show in its Talcott Mountain Music Festival this season. It is held  at the Performing Arts Center at Simsbury Meadows. Bring a picnic, blanket and a chair and enjoy. Gates open at 6 p.m. with the show at 7:30. Tickets begin at $5 for children and $25 for adult lawn tickets. Tables seats are also available. Information hartfordsymphony.org. 

On Saturday head to Bushnell Park and enjoy a free ride on the  historic carousel to celebrate its 99th birthday.

The Bushnell Park Carousel is one of less than 200 antique wooden carousels still operating in the United States. the New England Carousel Museum in the process of a “Countdown to 100″ restoration and entertainment effort to celebrate the 2014 100th anniversary of the ride.

The free rides this weekend will be offered from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Birthday cake and punch will be served from noon to 1 p.m. Information: thecarouselmuseum.org.

Also on Saturday, New London will celebrate its historic waterfront with its “Fish Tales, Tugs & Sails 2013″ party from 11 a.m. to 4 p.. The free nautically themed family festival  includes public viewing of tug boats and other boats including the Mystic Whaler, entertainment, contests and  food.

Twinebotshe fifth annual Connecticut Wine Festival will be held Saturday and Sunday at the Goshen Fairgrounds. sponsored by the Connecticut Vineyard and Winery Association and presented by the CT Wine Trail, the festival features fine wines from a wide variety of local vintners, as well as artisanal crafts, foods, wine classes and entertainment. Admission is $30. Designated drivers can attend for $10. The festival is open Saturday from noon to 7 p.m and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

On Sunday, Mike Love and the Beach Boys will kick off the annual Ahmad Rashad Celebrity Classic with a concert at Mohegan Sun. Proceeds this year benefit the REACH Foundation.

The golf tournament  begins Monday and among those playing in the tournament on Sunday and Mike Love HeadshotMonday are football Hall of Famer Marcus Allen, NBA Champion Ron Harper, actor Richard Jenkins and UConn legends Donny Marshall and Scott Burrell.

And finally, don’t forget, Taste of Hartford continues through Aug. 6  and there are lots of great Hartford restaurants offering $20.13 fixed price dinners. Information tastehartford.com Enjoy!




Hot Enough For You Hartford? Time For Some Summer Fun

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]Yes, it’s hot but remember those snowstorms and the cherished thoughts of summer and weekend fun?

It’s time.

Fun this week begins Thursday at 5:30 p.m. when Community Connections hosts its annual “Summer Social-Party in the Park” at Bushnell Park. The evening party includes tours of the park arch, carousel rides, music, food and drinks. Information: leadershipgh.org

Then head over to Real Art Ways for the “Bottoms Up” cocktail event featuring author Tim Federle.

TTEQUILA MOCKINGBIRD coverhe event, sponsored by RAW and The Mark Twain House & Museum, features the fun guy whose new book “Tequila Mockingbird, Cocktails With A Literary Twist,” celebrates literary classics and classic cocktails. The evening includes a showing of the documentary “Hey Bartender” followed by some of the book’s best cocktails and a book signing with Federle.

Tickets are $15 for RAW and MTH&M members, and $20 for the general public.

On Thursday, you can also head over to the Aqua Turf in Plantsville for the Calvanese Foundation’s Fifth Annual “Beer & Wine Tasting Festival” from 5:30 to 9;30

More than 60 vendors of beer and wine will be featured at the event which benefits foundation charities. Tickets are $30 at the door.

On Friday, treat yourself and go over to Simsbury’s Talcott Mountain for “Sinatra Under the sin2 (2)Stars,” a tribute to the greatest hits of Frank Sinatra, featuring the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and vocalist/trumpeter Rob Zappulla and his Big Band beginning at 7:30 p.m. The show is part of the HSO summer music festival series. Pack a picnic, grab a couple of chairs and a blanket and feel free to make a night of it. The gate opens at 6 p.m. The HSO Education Tent there, open from 6 to 7:15 p.m. offers family friendly activities such as music-themed games and crafts, the “Instrument Zoo,” and youth performances. In the case of severe weather, this concert will be performed on Saturday, July 13 at the same time. Single tickets range in price from $20-$45; and lawn tickets for kids 12 and under are $5. Information: 860-244-2999 or www.hartfordsymphony.org.

Whferriswheel[1]o doesn’t like a carnival and fireworks and a parade in the middle of summer? Tunxis Hose Co. #1 in the Unionville section of Farmington will deliver all three this weekend. The carnival opens Thursday and continues through Saturday, with fireworks planned for Friday night and the parade on Saturday. For more information go to tunxishose.com

On Sunday, the annual GE 5K Road Race, benefiting the Petit Family petiotrace2Foundation will be held in Plainville. Registration begins at 7 a.m. with adult races and walks beginning at 9 a.m. There are also kid walks, activities and a formal program. Information: petitroadrace.com




HSO Celebrates Summer and Talcott MT Series

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tal4At first windblown blush, it seemed like just another New England “winter weather” party in April at the Riverview in Simsbury Wednesday.

But once the wool coats and gloves were peeled off,  it was all about summer, Hartford Symphony Orchestra style.

The HSO was holding its Talcott Mountain Music Festival Summer Kick Off, a party to celebrate the 2013 upcoming outdoor summer series that begins at June 28 with “Mozart in the Moonlight”  and ends July 26 the “Rolling Stones Stones: 50 Years of Satisfaction”  at the outdoor Simsbury venue.



tal3But about the summer theme? Many guests took it literally and despite the less than summer-like weather outside, pulled out the stops when it came to donning seasonal attire for the soiree.

tal1Among those in sundresses was Nancy Remis, whose husband, Jim Remis, is chairman of the board.

“I’m trying it out for Taiwan,” she said about her dress and an upcoming trip she and the hubby are taking Taiwan where HSO conductor Carolyn Kuan will be guest conductor.

tal2The trip in a few weeks will have special meaning to Kwan, according to Remis. It will mark the first time the maestra’s father, who lives there, has seen his daughter conduct.

Also on hand were Hartford Hospital’s Dr. Andy Salner and wife, Pat Salner,  who were not only celebrating her  recent retirement as community programs director at Achieve Hartford, but their soon-to-arrive first grandchild.

“It’s a girl,” announced grandma-to-be, noting that her daughter Emily and son-in-law, Jason Bolton, expect the new addition in June.

King of summer wear for the night was HSO friend Howard Sprout who boasted bright yellow Hawaiian shirt, faux lei and a sunshine smile.

He had a quick answer to inquiries about whether the summer wear left him a bit chilly on such a cold April day.

“No,” he grinned as he took advantage of the food stations that included summer fare like burger sliders. “I wore my winter coat here.”

Let The Hartford Weekend Begin!

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]flowershowHow many days till spring? Too many as far as this writer is concerned. But cheer up. It’s the weekend and spring is but weeks away!

Get a sense of that season  at the 32nd annual Connecticut Flower & Garden Show Feb. 21 to Feb. 24 at the Connecticut Convention Center.

The show features hundreds of displays, activities and vendors showcasing the best the season has to offer including landscaping, garden decor, bulbs, seeds , lawn care and arts and crafts as well as 20 gardens  and a design and horticulture competition all with a wedding theme.

Celebrities at this year’s show include Roger Swain, former host of PBS’  “The Victory Garden” and HGTV’s “People, Places & Plants.”  And there is a couple from Glastonbury who will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary by renewing their vows in the midst of the flower-filled hall Thursday as part of the opening.

Information: ctflowershow.com or 860-844-8461.

Information: www.ctflowershow.com

The Arch Street Tavern will be the place for Happy Hour Feb. 21. Camp Courant will host a “Send a Kid To Camp”  fundraiser  there from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The get-together includes cocktails and appetizers with special guests Congressman John Larson and Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra. Tickets are $50 a person.

faith (2)Great food and NPR’s award-winning Food Schmoozer Faith Middleton are synonymous so it’s no surprise that her annual “Heart to Heart Champagne and Romance Dinner Dance” is always a hit.

The food and love soiree is Feb. 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Farmington Gardens in Farmington. As part of her “Food Schmooze Signature Event Series,” the celebration features foods prepared by  a long list of celebrated chefs including Jordan Stein of the Pond House Grille, Albert Clugston of the Litchfield Saltwater Grille, Yale Woodson of Plan B Burger Bar in Glastonbury and Stefan Drago of Avon Belle Terrace.

Music is provided by Alex Nakhimovsky and his band. Information: cpbn.org.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Nothing like a 50th anniversary and the Goodspeed is kicking it off with style and music on Feb. 23 at “Celebrating the Impossible Dream-50 Years of Goodspeed Musicals!”

The special collaboration with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra will feature selections from Goodspeed originals that moved to Broadway including “Annie”  and “Man of La Mancha” as well as favorites from dozens shows including “Brigadoon,” “Finian’s Rainbow” and “No No Nanette.”

Guest conductor will be Michael O’Flaherty who has been resident music director for the Goodspeed for the past 21 years. Special guest artists include Sarah Uriarte Berry, Lindsay Mendez, Quentin Earl Darrington and James Snyder.

Information:  hartfordsymphony.org.

On Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. the Central Connecticut Celtic Cultural Committee will honor the St.Patrick’s Day Parade 2013 honorees at a recpetion at the Irish American Home Society in Glastonbury.

Named Parade Grand Marshal  is James Mulcahy. Person of the Year is FoxCt/Courant head Rich Graziano.  The two will also be feted at a cocktail reception on March 1.

oscarIt’s Oscar night Sunday, a night of awards, stars, great clothes and lots of partying.

Dreamed of walking the red carpet?   Java makes your dream come true at the AIDS CT  Oscar Experience Party at the Mark Twain House & Museum Sunday.

Join Java and WTNH traffic reporter Teresa LaBarbera on the red carpet  in your best finery and then head into the official Oscar party and fundraiser that includes  food, drinks (including the new Lamarre-tini named after, well, you know who!)  auctions, fashion show,  a VIP pre-party party and of course, big-screen viewing of the actual Oscar awards program.

Come dressed in your best cocktail wear or dress as one of characters from one of the award nominated films.

Information: aidsprojecthartford.org

oscar[1]_optThere is also an Oscar Night Party at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Center beginning at 7 p.m. benefiting the center. Information: katharinehepburntheater.org

And there is yet a third Oscar party this year at Belle Terrace in Avon sponsored by the Farmington Valley Film Commission. That party starts at 7 p.m. Information: www.farmingtonvalleyfilm.org. e