Tag Archives: Taste of Hartford

A Beach/Bookbag Full of Summer Weekend Options Hartford

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]This might be a weekend of mixed messages Hartford, a combination of traditional summer doings mixed with other events that make one thing of back-to-school and autumn.

But it’s all fun so here goes!

Camp Courant will be the place Thursday where state treasurer Denise Nappier hands out back-to-school backpacks and school bpacksupplies to children with need from Hartford. Called the Backpack Donation Program, it is sponsored by the Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET).

But let’s get back to summer please!

Also on Thursday, the Wadsworth Atheneum, with The Amistad Center, will host its Caribbean themed “First Thursday” party.

The “Caribbean Block Party” celebrates the Aug. 1 Emancipation Day holiday celebrated by manycarib countries in the Caribbean and also kicks off the “Taste of the Caribbean and Jerk Festival” in Hartford this weekend. Thursday’s party will feature reggae music by Anthem Band, a performance by Jamaican songstress Karen Smith, poetry readings, dancing, fire dancers and stilt walkers. Admission is $5. Those wearing yellow get in free.

Information: wadsworthatheneum.org

And that brings us to that Caribbean festival at Hartford’s Mortensen Riverfront Plaza on Saturday from 1 to 11 p.m. The annual event features authentic cuisines, island beverages, costumes, dancing, music as well as children’s activities and live entertainment.

Information: riverfornt.org.

Has anyone noticed all the sunflowers blooming everywhere?

Hesunad over to Lyman Orchards where its annual Sunflower Maze opens Saturday and continues through Aug. 25. The maze is cut through a field of 350,000 blooming red and yellow sunflowers,. A portion of the admission cost is donated to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. For those who head over on opening day, there is a special treat. PBS is a co-sponsor for the kids themed opening day and is bringing network personality “Buddy” from its “Dinosaur Train” to meet visitors beginning at 10 a.m. Raindate is Sunday.

Information: lymanorchards.com

Now if you are a person hunkering for a taste of fall, fair season begins this weekend. The Middlesex and New Haven County 4-H Fair will be held at the Durham Fairground beginning Friday at 5 p.m.

Tcowhe fair includes tractor pulls, home arts exhibits, livestock judging, a dog show, trained steers pull, draft horse pull, tractor driving contest and live entertainment.

The fair is open Friday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m., to 10 p.m.

Information: 4-hfair.org

And finally, don’t forget, whether you are a foodie or not, you can treat yourself to a really nice dinner for a really affordable price through Sunday.

Timages[3]_opthere are still four more days to Taste of Hartford and that means $20.13 three-course dinners at dozens of Hartford restaurants.

Information: tastehartford.com



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!




A Lot of Hot Weekend Choices Hartford!

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]Yes it’s hot. and it’s going to get even hotter when it comes to the array of choices this weekend.

The events on Thursday are diverse and spread all over the city, including up in the air.

The big events are the sold-out Justin Bieber concert at the XL Center which begins at 7:30 p.m. and the nearly sold-out Mark Twain House & Museum program with famed author Stephen King at the Bushnell, coming in a close second.

Wkinghile getting a glimpse of  “The Bieb”  may not be possible, you can see King whose is best known for his books including “Cujo,” “The Shining,”  “The Green Mile” and “Under the Dome,” which has been the basis for the new hit tv show. A few tickets are still available

Ticket information: www.bushnell.org or 860-987-5900

For bargain hunters, today marks the beginning of the three-day  once-a-year mega event, the Tabor House Tag Sale at which continues through tabortag2Saturday. Merchandise includes household goods, toys and games, holiday items, small appliances, furniture, jewelry and more.  The event is at the convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph at 27 Park Road, West Hartford.

On Thursday, from 5 to 8 p.m., organizers host an opening reception and early bird shopping event. Admission is $10. Friday’s hours are from noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday’s hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free on Friday and Saturday. 100 percent of the proceeds benefit housing for men living with HIV/AIDS.

Also on Thursday, if you are in the mood for an adult libation that will benefit a good cause, head over to Trumbull Kitchen in Hartford where a crew of Fox Ct personalities will be shakin’ and stirrin’ to benefit Camp Courant from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Around 9:3fworks0 or so look up Hartford. It’s Riverfest time.

The original celebration, including the fireworks, had  to be postponed earlier this month because of river flooding. The rescheduled celebration has been downsized and will feature just the fireworks tonight at 9:30 p.m. from the Connecticut River in Hartford.

Grab a blanket and a picnic and head to Bushnell Park Friday through Sunday evening for The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz. Among the performers at the three-day event are Grammy award winning musician Arturo Sandoval.  The festival, which also features food and craft vendors,  kicks off Friday at 7 p.m. Information: hartfordjazz.org.

On Saturday and Sunday, Valley Railroad Circus Train & Big Top Show is at Essex Station and again on July 27 and 28, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Essex Steam Train transforms into an authentic circus train, complete with antique circus wagons,Essex-Circus-Train[1] clowns and more. Guests can park off site at Lee Company, 55 Bokum Road, Essex, where every 30 minutes the circus train will depart to Essex Station. At Essex Station visitors can enjoy food, amusement rides, a petting zoo and musical performances. An acrobatic show inside the big top tent and puppet shows are some of the highlights of the event. Cost is $20 a person; those under age 2 are free. Information: 800-377-3987 or www.essexsteamtrain.com

On Sunday, Fort Hill Farms in Thompson will host its annual “Ice Cream, Blueberry and Bluegrass Bash”  from 1-4pm. salute

 And if you are sick of not eating because of the heat, cheer up. the heat wave is supposed to break and a Taste of Hartford begins Monday. That means $20.13 three-course meals at some of the Hartfords’ best restaurants.

The promotion  goes through Aug. 4 for a list of participating restaurants and menus go here.


Super Weekend, Super Bowl, Super Groundhog Hartford

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Today, Jan. 31, take a ride south to New Haven where its popular “Flights of Fancy,” a wine tasting and shopping event returns from 4 to 8 p.m. Sponsored by The Wine Thief and The Study Hotel at Yale, the event includes  in-store wine tastings, special discounts and  giveaways at over 25 downtown shops.

Or head over to the New Britain Museum of American Art where you can fill your mind and your stomach at the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit there. Former “Hell’s Kitchen” contestants, Van Hurd and Kevin Cottle (now both with Jordan Caterers)  are hosting a series of French wine paired dinners at the museum to highlight the exhibit and the food of Georges Auguste Escoffier. There is still one more dinner after tonight’s two-hour event. Reservations are necessary. For more information call 203-272-8213

Former talk show host, author and director Phil Donahue will be attending a showing of his war documentary, “Body of War” at the Ridgefield Playhouse Friday, Feb. 1. The movie starts at 7:30 p.m. followed by a Q & A with Donahue. Admission is $10 for adults, $7.50 for seniors and $5 for students.

salute_opt If you haven’t taken advantage of it yet, there is still time to inhale those $20. 13 taste of Hartford bargains that continue to Feb. 3. Go to tastehartford.com for a list of participating restaurants and prices.

Fun, entertainment, exhibits, prizes will be featured at the annual BIG Y “KIDS FAIR” , Feb 2 and 3 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. the two-day event includes pony rides, a petting zoo, product samples, entertainment celebrity appearances, rides and family activities. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Sunday the fair will be open from 10a.m. to 4 p.m. Adults $8, kids are free.

ghogLonging for spring? Six weeks away or around the corner? There is hope that on Saturday, Feb. 2,  Connecticut’s new state groundhog will tell us spring is around the corner at the Lutz Children’s Museum in Manchester.

The museum’s  “Connecticut Chuckles VIII” will let us know beginning at 6 a.m. when Lt. Gov Nancy Wyman  “swears in” the new state groundhog.  Shadow reading is scheduled at about 6:55 a.m. There will be coffee and for those who want to stop by and be the first to find out what Chuckles predicts.

goats--wfsb_244x183[1]Feb. 3 is  Super Bowl Sunday and if football isn’t your thing, (especially since  the Pats won’t be there) tune in to see the ads and find out whether two former Simsbury residents, Ben Holst and Jeremey Gilbertson,  and their Dorito ad make it to primetime. (By the way, what is it about Simsbury and goats? Remember this?


bred2And don’t forget Wednesday, Feb. 6 when the Greater Hartford Arts Council hosts its annual Big Red for the Arts at The Society Room in Hartford. Considered Greater Hartford’s premier food and wine fundraising event, the evening features  dishes from top area restaurants and wines and spirits from around the world. The event opens at 6:30 p.m.  with tickets $100 each or $375 for a party of four. For $175 per person, you can attend the VIP vintage wine tasting that begins at 5:30 p.m.


Baby It’s Cold Outside But The Weekend? Hartford Hot

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Yes, it’s cold outside and the first reaction is to stay inside!

Don’t look at the thermometer. You can and still have some fun this weekend, with lots of warm indoor choices. Like…




sunThe Mohegan Sun WineFest kicks off Friday and continues through Sunday. The annual food and wine event features celebrity chefs, wine and beverage  tastings, food and beverage demonstrations,  a Grand Cru, a celebrity chef dine-around, a Bubbles & BonBons champagne and dessert event, an oyster shucking competition and the competitive grape stomp. Tickets are still available and prices and times vary. Go to mohegansun.com for information.

Also on Friday, let’s talk witches and anniversaries.

The program, to mark the 350th anniversary of the execution of the last suspected witches in Connecticut,  is called “The Farmington Witch Project.” It will include music, theatre, food and wine and a book signing  by author Suzanne Ress, who will also read from her book,  “The Trial of Goody Gilbert.”

By the way, between 1647 and 1663, Connecticut tried 34 people for witchcraft, and hanged 11.  The last people executed were Mary Barnes of Farmington and Rebecca and Nathaniel Greensmith of Hartford, on January 25, 1663.

The program will be held at the Amistad Hall at First Church, 75 Main St., Farmington at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the door.  For information go to brownpapertickets.com, the Stanley-Whitman House at 37 High St., Farmington or call 860-677-9222.

westendOn Saturday, there will be one giant dinner party going on in Hartford’s West End when the group gets together for its annual “Dine Around the West End.” The event is a progressive dinner with about 250 neighbors meeting at one house for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, breaking into groups and going to several homes for dinner, and then reuniting again at another home for dessert and coffee.  The Village on Albany Avenue is donating the hors d’oeuvres. The Pond House Cafe is donating the desserts.

ntownOn Sunday Hartford will be rockin’ as in “Downtown Rocks for Newtown” beginning at 3 p.m. at The Great Hall in Union Station.

Members of Downtown Hartford’s restaurant and bar community are working together to present the one-day music festival  to raise funds to support those affected by last month’s tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The festival will feature over 50 local, regional and national acts performing across 9 stages. The host venues are The Great Hall at Union Station, Up or On the Rocks, Black Bear Saloon, Black-eyed Sally’s, Pig’s-eye Pub, The Tavern Downtown, Pour House, Rocking Horse Saloon, and The Russian Lady. A variety of genres will be included on the performance bill, which already includes Max Creek, who headlined a New Year’s Eve celebration at The Great Hall at Union Station.

Tickets are $30 and more information is available here.

parade_optAlso on Sunday, you can head to Damon’s Tavern on Prospect Ave. in  Hartford at 2 p.m. for a Hartford  St. Patrick’s Day Parade fundraiser. Each year, participating communities choose their own honorees and this year the Hartford choices are Sister Judy Carey and Johnny Vaughan. Donation is $25 and includes music and raffles.

The parade, by the way, is March 9.

And don’t forget Taste of Hartford continues with most participating restaurants offering $20.13 three or four-course dinners. Go to tasatehartford.com for a complete list of restaurants and menus.

Enjoy and stay warm!

Summer Wine, Golf, Music This Weekend

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Kick back this weekend and enjoy the fruits of summer… golf, music, wine, food and the luxury of time to enjoy it all.

For some of that kind of action, head to the casinos.

Celebs including “Goose” Gossage, Marcus Allen, Cuba Gooding and David Justice are among more than 30 sports and entertainment stars who will be partying and golfing this weekend in the Ahmad Rashad Celebrity Golf Classic at Mohegan Sun. The weekend includes a pairing party Thursday, a 70s-themed charity concert on Friday and golf on Sunday.

Proceeds from the classic and the  REACH Foundation’s Charity Concert will benefit the Y Achievers and Y Teen Incentive Programs (Y-TIP) at the Wilson-Gray YMCA Youth & Family Center in Hartford.

The tournament also marks the grand reopening of the  Mohegan Sun Country Club at Pautipaug. For more information go to mohegansun.com

On Friday, Foxwoods Resort will host “Taste of the World,” a dine-around billed as a global world experience. Foods from countries including France, China, Brazil, and the United Kingdom will be featured. For ticket information go to foxwoods.com

Also tempt your taste buds Saturday and Sunday at the CT Wine Fest at the Goshen Fairground. The festival features wine tastings, local specialty food samplings and live entertainment. Tickets are $30 the day of the event. Designated drivers tickets are $10. The festival runs from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Information: ctwine.com

Got green? Get your Irish on at the 28th annual Irish Music Festival at the Irish American Home Society in Glastonbury. The event runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday and includes international Irish bands, food, a children’s area and the St. Patrick’s Pipe Band. 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. Admission is $10, $9 for seniors and free for children 9 and younger. Information: 860-633-9691 or irishmusicfest.com

And what’s summer without ice cream. Today from 5 to 7 p.m. head over to the Mark Twain House & Museum where free ice cream from Shady Glen, UConn Dairy Bar and Royal Ice Cream will be yours for the scooping at its annual Ice Cream Social on the Twain grounds. There will also be discounted tours, a lantern-making workshop with Hartford artist Anne Cubberly,  and entertainment. Information: marktwainhouse.org

Let you weekend seep a bit into next week as well.

Look up in the sky Monday for a vintage thrill and a look at history.

The non-profit  Liberty Foundation is bringing its restored  Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, used in the movie  “Memphis Belle” and a newly restored  Curtis P-40E to Brainard Airport as part of its  “Salute to Veterans” national tour.

The vintage WWII aircraft will be flying over the city that day as a preview to a public program on Aug. 4 and 5 when the public can book a flight as well as  tour the planes. The tour is designed to provide a national  “hands on” history lesson and bring awareness to the efforts of veterans. Information: libertyfoundation.org

And finally, treat yourself with a night out of dining. Taste of Hartford continues through Aug. 5. Take advantage of the $20.12 fixed price special menus at dozens of city restaurants and enjoy.



Music, Food, Sunset Cocktails This Weekend

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Yes it’s summer and yes it’s hot but take advantage of the best of the combination. Before you know it, the lazy, hazy days of summer will be gone and well, you know what December brings.

Grab a blanket and a picnic and head over to Bushnell Park this weekend for the Hartford Festival of Jazz opening Friday and continuing through Sunday.

Among the featured musicians are Layla Angulo, Jeff Golub, the Sax Pack and the HSO jazz  trio and ensemble. As an added perk, there will also be children’s activities, a craft show and food court. Go to   http://cour.at/MJWTUb    for more information.

On Friday, the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford is beginning a new “Sizzle Under the Stars” film series.

The outdoor evening features 1930s romantic comedies and opens with “It Happened One Night” starring Claudette Colbert and (sigh) Clark Gable. Doors open at 6 p.m. with an a la carte dinner and live jazz. The movie begins at  8:15 p.m. In case of rain, the movie night moves indoors. Admission is $9 , $8 for seniors and students and free for members.

Also on Friday, area author Dodie Milardo, president of “To Give Is Divine” will be at Mohegan Sun’s “Diva Friday” event and signing copies of her book. Milardo wrote “Penelope’s Cruise” and proceeds from the sale of her book have been donated to the Women’s Center of Southeastern CT.

On Saturday, take a trek to the “other” park, Elizabeth Park,  where the West End Civic Association, and its new Elizabeth Park Task Force, along with the City of Hartford and the Elizabeth Park Conservancy,  invite you to “Cocktails at Sunrise” from 6  to 9 p.m. at Sunrise Overlook on the East Lawn of Elizabeth Park.

The fundraiser is part of a new cooperative to restore the East Lawn of  the park.  Donation is  $20.


And while it’s not quite the weekend, make it feel like it is by eating out next week.  It’s “Taste of Hartford Week”   beginning July 23 and that means eating at dozens of Hartford restaurants for just $20.12. Go to  http://bit.ly/NBIji4 for information.