Tag Archives: Mike ditka

A Hartford Weekend of Galas Galore and Halloween Hijinks

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]Java doesn’t know what to say except grab a nap when you can because the “going out” possibilities are almost too numerous to mention this pre-Halloween weekend. But here we go!

Yep, those Boston Red Sox are in the World Series so how lucky is the Greater Hartford YMCA! Former Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield comes to Hartford town Thursday for the “YMCA Celebrates Champions ” program at the Connecticut Convention Center.

Theredsox baseball legend, community leader and philanthropist will be featured at the event that benefits the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign and Read to Succeed program.

Information: ghymca.org or call 860-522-9622.

The Norma Terris Theatre continues the Goodspeed’s 50th anniversary party with the opening of “Snapshots, A Musical Scrapbook” on Thursday.  Curtain up at 8 p.m. Information: goodspeed.org.

On Cowboy-cartoon[1]Friday, there are not only a few pre-Halloween parties around town but also a couple of events benefitting really good causes. Open Hearth will hold its annual Open Hearth Round-Up  at 7 p.m. at the home of Kelly and Jon Jarvis in Hartford. Proceeds from the western-wear fundraiser benefit the non-profit that provides services and shelter to Greater Hartford’s homeless men.

On Saturday, there’s a party in nearly every part of Hartford. 

It all starts at the Connecticut Convention Center where  the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective  will host its annual “One Big Event,” a black tie affair benefitting the organization’s programs. Music by Shaded Soul band, dancing, silent and live auctions, food, and the who’s who of New England LGBTQ life are highlights of the night.

Cross the boulevard to Hartford’s Front Street complex where the nearly completed Infinity Hall bigmo2 will be the venue Saturday for the annual “Big Mo.” Big Mo’ (the “Mo’” stands for “mo’mentum”) has been Riverfront’s major fundraising event since 2000, celebrating positive changes in Hartford and East Hartford, with a focus on locations close to the River.Information: riverfront.org

 Still have some energy? Walk up the block to the Wadsworth and don’t be surprised if you see revelers there ‘dancing in the street.’ That’s because the Amistad Center for Art & Culture  will be welcoming  girl group icon Martha Reeves of Martha & The Vandellas at its annual Fall Gala, called, of course “Dancing in the Streets.”

 PDAIEDA5[1]roceeds from  the dinner/dance benefit the center which owns a collection of 7000 items including art, artifacts and popular culture objects that document the experience, expressions and history of people of African-American heritage. .

Over at the Bushnell Saturday, the Hartford Symphony will be continuing its 50th anniversary celebration with a performance of  Walt Disney’s groundbreaking marriage of symphonic music and animation, Fantasia. Information: bushnell.org

  We’re not done yet as far as Saturday goes. Get on overoddballblog1 to Arbor Street where Real Art Ways is holding its Odd Ball. Usually held in the spring, the costume ball was moved to Halloween weekend because well, what better time of year to dress up in a costume. Plan on tricked out galleries, eerie photo ops and outrageous tunes. Tickets are $65, and include treats by top local chefs, specialty potions, and a costume contest! A cash bar will also be available. If you just want to dress up and dance, there are  $25 “Just Dance” tickets available starting at 11 PM.  Information:realartways.org

Also, if you are in the mood for some football fix, head over to Hot Tomato’s at Union Station in Hartford on saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. where ESPN guy and former NFL standout Mike Ditka will be signing bottles of his wine! 

If you have some free time Satuday, you also might want to head over to the YWCA’s Money Conference for Women featuring broadcast journalist/author Stacey Tisdale.  The conference begins at 8:15 a.m. at the Connecticut Convention Center. Admission is free.



ESPN Ditka Reflects On Shooting Tragedy

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Former Chicago Bears coach and ESPN personality Mike Ditka got his Scrooge on Monday taping an Ebenezer-inspired NFL Sunday Countdown promo at Hartford Stage.

The promo has become a tradition of sorts for Ditka who each year for the past several, takes on the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, and hits the stage, batting around wildcard choices, running backs, quarterbacks and division winners with the innocent Tiny Tim.

In the bit, eight-year-old Ethan Pancoast of Rocky Hill, who is playing Tim in the Stage’s production of “A Christmas Carol,” prodded the cranky Scrooge with a series of questions on football-related topics including whether the Vikings Adrian Peterson could garner an MVP award, whether the Jets are worthy of a wild card berth, and whether or not the grumpy old man believes in the Cincinnati Bengals.

And between “bah hambugs,” Ditka answered them all, hunched over a desk and sporting a top hat.

But before taking on the persona of the Charles Dickens character best known as being cold-hearted, tight-fisted and greedy, Ditka was a dad and grandfather, lamenting the Sandy Hook school tragedy.

“I have three grandchildren and it is a sad, unbelievable tragedy,” said Ditka, reflecting on the days after Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. “I can’t believe what has been taken away,” he said. “May they be in a better place.”

The promo airs on ESPN on Dec. 23.