Families from Newtown and area towns stood in the shade outside Christ the King Lutheran Church on July 27, waiting for their Fresh Air Fund guests to arrive. Heads turned as a coach bus from New York City carrying young passengers arrived at the parking lot of the Mt Pleasant Road church. Soon spilling from the opening door were young guests who would spend a week with families in Newtown and nearby towns through The Fresh Air Fund. As area coordinator Marie Athans and her husband Dave helped unload guests and get their luggage, words of greeting included comments from “Hello” and “Welcome back” to “Good to see you” and “You definitely got taller.”
Marching bands, salsa dancers, pipe and drum corps, the skirling of bagpipes, and banjo music have also been regular parts of the Newtown Labor Day Parade over the years. Parade-goers will experience a new kind of music on September 7, though, when Joseph FireCrow, of the North Cheyenne tribe of Native Americans, and an acclaimed Native American flutist, brings his indigenous music to town. Meanwhile, the Labor Day Parade Committee has also introduced a new way for the public to support the parade's fundraising efforts.
Jeannette Maté’s visit to Newtown the week of July 20 was three-fold. Not only was the founder of Ben’s Bells Project in town to finalize plans for the move of the Newtown studio to a larger, Bethel site, but Ms Maté also made time to visit with area companies interested in implementing the Ben’s Bells Kind Colleagues program, and to assist with the installation of a large Be Kind mural commissioned by the Soto family at the new Victoria Soto School at Stratford Academy in Stratford. Ben’s Bells is the Tucson, Ariz., organization founded by Ms Maté, more than ten years ago, in response to the outpouring of kindness she experienced after the death of her three-year-old son, Ben.
Area beer lovers can add one more microbrewery to the list of Connecticut breweries to visit, just in time for hot summer days. Veracious Brewing Company, 246 Main Street in Monroe, opened its tasting room Saturday, June 20, featuring craft beers, cold brew coffee on tap, and beer drinks geared toward people who appreciate a fine beer. Veracious is a natural offshoot of the brewing supply company, Maltose Express, located adjacent to the brewery, said Tess and Mark Szamatulski, owners of both businesses.
The Home Economics room at Newtown Middle School was a flurry of activity the week of July 20, as 13 preteens baked, blended, and chopped their ways through the cuisines of five countries, under the direction of cooking instructor Sharon Martovich. Ms Martovich, of Southbury, has been teaching kids’ cooking classes through Newtown Parks and Recreation summer programs for 11 years, she said. Other than one year, when the sessions conflicted with the 12.14 Foundation summer theater productions, she has had a good turnout of youngsters interested in learning about healthy foods and new ways to prepare them. A certified nutritionist and chef, Ms Martovich said she always tries to use recipes that are healthy options for the class.
Newtown Cultural Arts Commission continued its Sunday Cinema Series with two screenings of the film "Casablanca" on Sunday, July 19, at Edmond Town Hall. NCAC, in collaboration with Edmond Town Hall and with support from the Law Offices of James O. Gaston, was able to showcase Director Michael Curtiz’s 1942 classic film, which stars Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
Wednesday, July 29, will be the final workshop at the 17 Church Hill Road Ben’s Bells Newtown Studio. The doors will not be closing permanently, however, on the program that has issued thousands of the handcrafted ceramic bead and bell ornaments to the Newtown community, and many other communities in need of an act of kindness. Thursday and Friday, July 30-31, will be moving days for the studio. Ben’s Bells will be relocating to 32 Stony Hill Road in Bethel, where the studio hopes to reopen by mid-August. While the group is very appreciative of the current Church Hill Road landlord, the project really needed more space in order to operate. The Bethel studio will offer 2,000 square feet of usable space, allowing Ben’s Bells to focus more on group experiences. The move will also allow the studio to establish more hours and days that it is open.
People who regularly visit the Newtown Forest Association (NFA) Holcombe Hill property, off Great Hill Road in Newtown, are familiar with the expansive fields covered in native flora that flow about Fairfield County’s highest point. What visitors may not be as familiar with are the four gardens surrounding the headquarters building of the NFA, at the top of the hill. “A Glimpse Of The Garden” is a seasonal miniseries focusing on the heart of a gardener’s work — a special spot, an extraordinary plant, a place of respite, or a place that evokes a heartfelt memory. While Nancy K. Crevier usually meets with a homeowner for a private tour of their gardens, which she then shares with Bee readers through this series, this time she spent time at Holcombe Hill Preserve to see what The Garden Club of Newtown has been doing recently. This week's column offers a preview of what the public can find now, and expect to find in the near future.
Two decades ago Connecticut entrepreneur and self-avowed Deadhead Ken Hays decided to mount a concert commemorating the passing of legendary Grateful Dead co-founder Jerry Garcia. He may never have conceived the musical celebration would become an annual tradition, never mind a four-day, jam-packed home state festival destination for the world's best musicians - and tens of thousands of fans.