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Hum along… with Singin’ in the Rain at the Capitol Theater Arts Academy

August 1, 2012 Arts & Entertainment, Local News Comments Off

The students at Capitol Theater Arts Academy (CTAA) in Willimantic, CT will present public performances of the award-winning musical, Singin’ in the Rain on Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 9, 10 and 11, at 7 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Aug. 11.

The students at Capitol Theater Arts Academy (CTAA) will present public performances of the award-winning musical, Singin’ in the Rain on Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 9, 10 and 11, at 7 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Aug. 11.

The Academy – an arts magnet school – is located in downtown Willimantic at the beautifully renovated, air-conditioned Capitol Theater, 896 Main St.

Featuring 43 students, ages 8-15, CTAA’s Summer Musical Theater Program includes students from Amston (in Hebron), Chaplin, Columbia, Colchester, Coventry, Hampton, Manchester, Mansfield (including Storrs, Mansfield Center), Norwich, Scotland, South Windsor, Tolland and Windham (including North Windham and Willimantic).

Regular tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and children under 12.

To order your tickets now, please call EASTCONN’s Capitol Theater Box Office between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, at 860-465-5636.

The box office window is also open 45 minutes before show time for walk-up ticket sales if still available.

This production is sponsored by the Savings Institute.

Posted August 1, 2012

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News. https://www.facebook.com/HTNPnews and find us on our NEW Twitter page at HTNP News (@HTNPNews )

Like vintage cars? Want to show off your own?

July 4, 2012 Areawide, Arts & Entertainment Comments Off

The Belltown Antique Car Club will host its 46th annual Vintage Motorcar Meet on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012 (rain or shine) at the Haddam Neck Fairgrounds off Rt. 151 in East Hampton, CT. The show opens at 8 a.m. Photo courtesy of BACC

The Belltown Antique Car Club will host its 46th annual Vintage Motorcar Meet on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012 (rain or shine) at the Haddam Neck Fairgrounds off Rt. 151 in East Hampton, CT.

The show opens at 8 a.m.

Antique cars and trucks from the dawn of the motoring age through 1971 will be celebrated.

Stock, unmodified vehicles will be classified and judged, with trophies awarded at 3 p.m. There are 24 classes, with three trophies per class. Registration is from 8 a.m. until noon.

For a list of the classes, go to http://www.belltownantiquecarclub.org/pdfs.htm and click on the link for page 2 of the flyer (in PDF format).

The first 300 cars will receive plaques.

There also will be display-only parking for 1972-82 models and hot rods (not judged).

Also, enjoy a flea market catering to the antique-car hobby.

Food and refreshments will be sold.

Drive your old car to show, or just bring the family and share your enthusiasm for old cars. Show car admission is still only $5 and includes all occupants.

General admission is also only $5 per person (or $3 for seniors age 65 and up). Children under age 12 will be admitted free but must be accompanied by an adult. (Please, no bicycles or pets.)

For more information visit the Web site at http://www.belltownantiquecarclub.org or call Peter Christianson at 860-267-8394.

Note: Most of you know of our beautiful bell trophies that we award at our shows. These are made by Bevin Bros., a sixth-generation company making only bells since 1832 in East Hampton (Belltown USA). They are the last bell company in America. On the night of May 26, 2012 a devastating fire swept through the factory and destroyed 180 years of East Hampton’s (and America’s) history. There is hope that they will rebuild soon and continue the tradition. To help, visit their Web site at http://keepthebellsinbelltown.com

Posted July 4, 2012 as edited and added to by HTNP.com Editor Brenda Sullivan

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News. https://www.facebook.com/HTNPnews and find us on Twitter at HTNP News (@HTNPNews )

Check out these June events at Mansfield Public Library

June 6, 2012 Arts & Entertainment, Local News Comments Off

Put on your best bunny slippers and join enjoy the library’s first-ever Family Pajama Party, with a number of after-hours crafts and activities, ending with a cozy read-aloud and a snack to send you on your way.

Some fun summertime activities at Mansfield Public Library  for children and adults.

June 20 – Dream Big

“Dream Big” is the 2012 all-ages summer reading program.  It begins Wednesday, June 20, and runs through Friday, Aug. 17.

Anyone of any age who enjoys reading for fun is eligible to take part, including young children who are being read to.

Register online or in person at the Mansfield Public Library beginning Wednesday, June 20.

Each week, you let the library know what books you’re reading. Kids can pick a weekly prize. Teens and adults will be entered into weekly drawings.

June 22 – Come to the library in your jammies

A Family Pajama Party from 6 to 7:30 p.m. will be hosted by the library on Friday, June 22. All ages are welcome.

Put on your best bunny slippers and join enjoy the library’s first-ever Family Pajama Party, with a number of after-hours crafts and activities, ending with a cozy read-aloud and a snack to send you on your way.

June 26 – Magic show

David Alan & Bogus, a family magic show will entertain you at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26. All ages are welcome. Stick around after the 35-minute show for a balloon-animal giveaway!

June 27 – Catch some dreams

Dream Catchers is a craft program for Tweens and Teens, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 27. Keep all your dreams sweet, make your own personalized dream catchers!

June 28 – Stamp out boredom

Be a Stamp Artist, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 28.  Stamp a work of art using a variety of stamps and different types of paper.  All ages are welcome.

Storytime for the little ones

Here are programs planned for June.

“Wonderful Wednesdays,” June 20 and 27 at 10:30 a.m. in the Program Room. Stories and activities such as puzzles, simple crafts and Play-Doh for Preschool children (must be accompanied by a parent or other adult caregiver.)

“Toddler Time,” Fridays, June 8, 15, 22 and 29 at 10:30 a.m. in the Buchanan Auditorium (connected to the library). Designed for children under 3 years old and their caregivers, the library hosts a mini-story time and specialized play group with riding toys, an activity table, play kitchen, toy tool bench, soft toys, a safe play area for babies and lots more.

“Family Story Time,” Saturdays, June 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 at 10:30 a.m. in the Program Room  Stories, songs, finger plays and crafts for young children and their families to share.  Stories last about half an hour, then move on to a craft activity.

Did you know?

You can sign up to receive the library’s monthly newsletter on the Town of Mansfield’s QNotify system.  Go to the town website at www.mansfieldct.gov and click “Email Notifications” on the right side of the screen. Enter your email address, then scroll down to the “At the Library” section and choose “Library Newsletter.”  Click “Join” at the bottom, and you’re all set!

Posted June 6, 2012

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News. https://www.facebook.com/HTNPnews and find us on Twitter at HTNP News (@HTNPNews )

A treat this weekend – Man of La Mancha at Connecticut Repertory Theatre

June 5, 2012 Arts & Entertainment, Local News Comments Off

Terrence Mann as Don Quixote with Richard Ruiz as Sancho Panza in Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s Nutmeg Summer series production of “Man of La Mancha,” playing June 7 through16 in the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre, on the Storrs UConn campus. For tickets and information, call the box office at 860-486-2113 and visit www.crt.uconn.edu Photo by Gerry Goodstein.

Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) launches its 2012 Nutmeg Summer Series with “Man of La Mancha,” running Thursday, June 7 through Saturday, June 16.

CRT productions are in Harriett S. Jorgensen Theatre, at the rear lower level of the Jorgensen Performing Arts Center on the Storrs UConn campus..

Broadway legend Terrence Mann is the unforgettable Don Quixote.

Mann leads a spectacular cast that includes last summer’s audience favorite Richard Ruiz (who played Alfred Doolittle in My Fair Lady) and Alix Paige (who played Eliza, also in My Fair Lady.)

James Barry, recently of Broadway’s “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson,” returns to his hometown and alma mater to play the Padre.

Man of La Mancha tells the story of Miguel de Cervantes who, at the height of the Spanish Inquisition, is imprisoned and uses the story of the knight-errant Don Quixote to defend himself.

With its beautiful Latin-tinged score, the original production of “Man of La Mancha” ran for six years on Broadway, won the Tony for Best Musical and gave us “The Impossible Dream.”

The production is directed by CRT Artistic Director Vincent J. Cardinal.

“The great energy and entertainment Terrence Mann, Richard Ruiz, and Alix Paige brought to our stage last summer was so special that we had to reunite them for another classic of the American Musical Theatre,” Cardinal said. “After seeing James Barry on Broadway in Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, I knew we had to bring him back to his home town stage and alma mater this summer season.”

Ticket info…

Evening performances start at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Matinee performances start at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Single ticket prices range from $10 to $42.

The Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre is air-conditioned comfort and free parking is in Lot 9 across from the Jorgensen Center. Paid parking is available in the North Garage.

Please call 860-486-2113 or visit www.crt.uconn.edu for tickets and additional information. You can also find CRT on Twitter @CTRepTheatre and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/connecticut.repertory.theatre

More about the cast…

  • Terrance Mann

Last summer Terrence Mann portrayed Prof. Henry Higgins in CRT’s “My Fair Lady.”

He made his Broadway debut in 1982 as Chester Lyman in the Tony Award-winning musical “Barnum.” However, his breakthrough performance was the lead role of the “playful” cat Rum Tum Tugger in the original Broadway cast of “Cats.”

Mann’s portrayal of Inspector Javert in the original Broadway production of “Les Miserables” earned him his first Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

His second Tony Award nomination came in 1994 when he played the Beast in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.”

“Most recently, he completed a Broadway run as Mal Beineke in “The Addams Family.” Other stage credits include “The Scarlet Pimpernel” (Chauvlin), “Rags,” Jerome Robbins’ “Broadway, Getting Away With Murder,” the 2000 Broadway revival of “The Rocky Horror Show,” “Assassins,” “Lennon,” and “The Lost Colony.”

His film credits include A Chorus Line, A Circle on the Cross, Eavesdrop, and all four Critters films. TV credits include Smash, 30 ROCK, The Dresden Files, All My Children (Earl Boyd), The Equalizer, The Tick, Law and Order, and an Emmy nominated turn on As The World Turns.

  • Alix Paige

Alix Paige (Aldonza/Dulcinea) played Eliza Doolittle in last summer’s “My Fair Lady.”

She also appeared as General Cartwright and a Hot Box Girl in “Guys and Dolls” at CRT immediately following a run of Jason Robert Brown’s “Parade,” in which she starred as Lucille at the Secret Theatre in New York City.

National Tours: Irving Berlin’s “I Love a Piano” (Ginger), “Cabaret” (Sally Bowles u/s). Regional: “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” (Logan), “Bat Boy” (Meredith), “I Love a Piano” (Ginger), “Sunday in the Park with George” (Dot).

Film: Transatlantic Coffee (Jazz Singer), Work Out (Marcia), Vanished (Jen).

  • Richard Ruiz

Richard Ruiz (Sancho Panza) graduated from UConn in 1998 and returns to CRT after playing Alfred Doolittle last season in “My Fair Lady.”

Off Broadway he has appeared in “Two Gentlemen of Verona” for the Public Theatre.

National tours include: “Sweet Charity,” “Urinetown,” “Man of La Mancha” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

Regionally, he has appeared in “Cyrano” (Folger Shakespeare, DC), “Tis Pity She’s a Whore” (Baltimore Center Stage), “The Mystery of Irma Vep” (Intiman Theatre), “Guys and Dolls” (Long Wharf Theatre), “Moby Dick: Rehearsed” (Berkshire Theatre Festival), “Candide” (Arden Theatre, PA), “Love’s Labour’s Lost” (Connecticut Repertory Theatre), “Treasure Island” (People’s Light and Theatre, PA), “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Two Rivers Theatre, NJ), “The Music Man” (Lyric Theatre, OK), “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” (Theatre Virginia), and “The Winter’s Tale” (Yale Repertory Theatre).

  • James Barry

James Barry (The Padre/Juan) grew up in Mansfield, CT and is a graduate of E.O. Smith High School and UConn.

Broadway: “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.”

New York: “Sive” (Irish Rep, NY), “JB” (78th St. Theatre Lab, NY).

Regional: Wittenberg Chester Theatre Company, “The Full Monty” (Drury Lane, Chicago), “Pump Boys & Dinettes” (New Theatre,Kansas City), “Bomb-itty of Errors” (Syracuse Stage), and several productions with The Berkshire Theatre Festival where credits include “Tommy,” “The Caretaker,” “The Misanthrope,” “The Einstein Project,” “A Dream Play” and many others since the 2000 season.

About the Director…

Vincent J. Cardinal

Most recently, he served as Director of the Performing Arts Center at Adelphi University. Previously, he was the Artistic Director of the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre in Coral Gables, FL where his musical theatre productions garnered international attention.

Cardinal was the Director of off-Broadway‘s Circle Repertory Company School of Theater. He was also an Associate Artist with the Circle Repertory Company and a member of its LAB.

He graduated in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama where he was honored with the ASCAP-Cole Porter Award for Best-Collected Work.

His play, “The Colorado Catechism,” premiered at Circle Repertory Company. The Los Angeles production of the play garnered actors Timothy Daly and Amy Van Nostrand Dramalogue Awards for Best Performances.

Cardinal’s play “King Dusyanta: A Tale from Kalidasa,” premiered, under his direction, at the Oasis Theater Company. It starred Broadway’s André DeShields.

Cardinal directed Eileen Gallindo’s “Multicultural Disorder” for Next Stage, NY, Joe Fox’s new play “Prism View” at New Dramatists, NY and Paul Corrigan’s “Queens Blvd.” in a commercial off-Broadway run.

He recently directed “STEVE HAYES: Hollywood Reunion” at Red House in Syracuse, NY. Last summer he directed “Guys and Dolls” and “My Fair Lady” for the Nutmeg Series and “Spring Awakening” at Connecticut Repertory Theatre, April 2012.

CRT Sponsors…

CRT’s Season Sponsor for the Summer series is SI Financial Advisors, the Wealth Management Division of Savings Institute Bank & Trust.

Community Partners are Hamilton Sundstrand, XL Color, Nathan Hale Inn, The Chronicle (Willimantic), WHUS 91.7 FM, the Mansfield Community Center and the UConn Dairy Bar.

While you’re here…

Dinner

Enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner at the Nathan Hale Inn before the performance (matinee or evening). Reservations are required; please call 860-427-7888).

Or dessert

Top off the evening with whipped cream and a cherry… the UConn Dairy bar (with freshly made ice cream) is open before evening performances, and before and after matinees; daily hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Posted June 5, 2012

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News. https://www.facebook.com/HTNPnews and find us on Twitter at HTNP News (@HTNPNews )

Take a free tour of the Rainbow Fishway

June 1, 2012 Areawide, Arts & Entertainment Comments Off

The Rainbow Fishway is the largest fishway in Connecticut. It allows fish to bypass a 58-foot hydroelectric dam and continue up the Farmington River.

See migrating fish from an underground viewing window.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) annual Open House at the Rainbow Fishway in Windsor is Saturday, June 2 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

The public is invited to visit the fishway for free and learn about it and the fish it passes.

The Rainbow Fishway is the largest fishway in Connecticut. It allows fish to bypass a 58-foot hydroelectric dam and continue up the Farmington River.

On Open House day, the public can tour the facility and check out the underground viewing window. Shad and lamprey may be seen passing upstream, and Atlantic salmon are sometimes captured for breeding.

Staff will be on hand to answer questions.

Directions to Rainbow Fishway

From Rt. I-91, take exit 40 to Rt.20 (Bradley Airport Exit). Travel west to the Hamilton South exit. At the end of the exit ramp turn left. Turn right at the first intersection on to Rainbow Road. The fishway is on the left, about a quarter of a mile down the road. Look for a cyclone fence and a brown sign with yellow lettering.

From Rt.20 East (traveling toward I-91), go past the exit for Bradley Airport and take the Hamilton exit. At the end of the exit, ramp turn right. Turn right at the first intersection onto Rainbow Road. The fishway is on the left, about a quarter of a mile down the road. Look for a cyclone fence and a brown sign with yellow lettering.

For more information about fishing in Connecticut, click on this link to access the May 31, 2012 fishing report http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?a=2696&q=322752&depNav_GID=1630

Posted June 1, 2012

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News. https://www.facebook.com/HTNPnews and find us on Twitter at HTNP News (@HTNPNews )

So much going on in June, where to start?

June 1, 2012 Areawide, Arts & Entertainment, Local News Comments Off

Copies of the 2012 Connecticut Trails Day booklet of events are now available in public libraries and can be downloaded from http://www.ctwoodlands.org/CT-TrailsDay2012

Besides Victorian Days in Willimantic (through June 3) and the return of the Coventry Regional Farmers Market on Sunday (June 3), here are a couple of get-out-the-door events coming up: Connecticut Trails Day on June 2-3 and the 8th Annual Connecticut Open House Day on Saturday, June 9.

This year’s theme for Connecticut Trails Day is “America’s Largest TRAILgating Party.” You have a choice of 193 events in 121 towns with more than 540 miles of trails.

Connecticut’s event is part of National Trails Day, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2012.

Activities include hiking, biking, horseback riding, running, trail maintenance, kayaking, educational walks, bird watching, geocaching and more.

While public libraries now have copies of the 2012 booklet that lists all the events, you can also download an electronic copy from the web site at http://www.ctwoodlands.org/CT-TrailsDay2012

And you can keep up to date on the Connecticut Forest and Park Assoc. Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CTForestandParkAssociation

The booklet is also handy for discovering hiking, biking and paddling places to explore all summer and fall.

On the Annual Connecticut Open House Day, museums and other historic sites (as well as many artists’ studios) throughout Connecticut open their doors for the season – in many cases offering free admission or free gifts.

The annual event is coordinated by the Connecticut Office of Tourism (a division of the Department of Economic and Community Development).

Here’s just a sample of what you might want to explore in the HTNP.com readership area:

  • In Ashford, the Willow Tree Pottery studio at 24 Bebbington Road will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pottery will be displayed in the gardens and studio. Visitors receive a handmade amulet or bead of clay. For more info, call 860-287-8056 or visit http://www.willowtreepottery.us
  • In Chester/Hadlyme, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., visitors can ride for free aboard the Selden III, the second oldest continuously operated ferry service in Connecticut (at 54 Ferry Road/Route 148), which crosses the scenic Connecticut River near the Gillette Castle State Park (former home of the stage actor who made Sherlock Holmes famous). For more information, call 860-526-2743 or click here.
  • In East Haddam, from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., enjoy free tours of the historic Victorian theater built in 1876, the Goodspeed Opera House, at 6 Main St./Rte. 82. For more information, call 860-873-8668 or visit http://www.goodspeed.org
  • In East Hampton, visit Sears Park (65 North Main St.) with lovely views of Lake Pocotopaug to enjoy while picnicking – admission is free from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on this day only. For more information, call 860-267-7300 or visit http://www.easthamptonrec.com
  • In Lebanon, admission is free at the Jonathan Trumbull Jr. House Museum (780 Trumbull Hwy/Route 87, on the famous Lebanon Green) – there will be Colonial craft demonstrations, a mounted cavalryman portraying a French Army hussar (renowned for their elegant dress), and refreshments. Learn about the artist famous for his painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. For more information, call 860-642-7987 or click here And next door at the Lebanon Historical Society Museum, also from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., enjoy Model-T rides, farm animals and hands-on activities.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about the Revolutionary War, about archaeology or other sciences, find out just why people like Prudence Crandall and Jonathan Trumbull are famous, and otherwise discover new sights (and share them with your weekend visitors) in your own back yard – or farther afield, if you like.

One of the advantages of living in a postage-stamp-sized state is that you can drive to pretty much any part of Connecticut in two hours or less. This makes it easier to plan affordable day trips, and keep them short enough for energetic children.

You can explore the different sites that are taking part in Connecticut Open House Day by visiting http://www.ctvisit.com/dontmiss/details/211 But note that this list doesn’t include all the museums (and activities) in the state – if there’s one you’re curious about and you don’t see it on the Visit Connecticut site, call the museum directly and ask what they have planned.

Posted June 1, 2012

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News. https://www.facebook.com/HTNPnews and find us on Twitter at HTNP News (@HTNPNews )

Victorian Days this weekend – house tours, high tea, carriage rides

May 30, 2012 Arts & Entertainment, Local News Comments Off

Horse-drawn rides past historic Victorian homes are part of the 14th annual Victorian Days activities that run from Thursday, May 31 through Sunday, June 3 (most events are Saturday and Sunday). Photo courtesy of the Willimantic Victorian Neighborhood Association

Willimantic, Connecticut will invite visitors into some of its 600 Victorian-style homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places during the 14th annual Victorian Days events, which begins Thursday, May 31 and continues through Sunday, June 3.

This very popular event, which draws people from throughout New England, also includes garden tours, unique museum exhibits, live music, art exhibits and Victorian teas that sell out every year.

Victorian Days is sponsored by the Willimantic Victorian Neighborhood Association, which promotes the preservation of Willimantic’s Victorian past.

Most events take place on Saturday and Sunday.

Willimantic’s Hill Section abounds with old Victorian homes. It is “sort of a hidden treasure,” says event manager Lynn Duval. “It was built when the textile mill industry was at its prime.”

During that era, immigrants came from France, Poland, Ukraine, Ireland and other countries to work at the thread mills, and “their families are still here,” Duval said.

The George Tiffany House on Prospect Street is one of the Victorian-style homes that will be open for tours during the 14th annual Victorian Days, the weekend of June 2-3, 2012. Photo courtesy of Wilimantic Victorian Neighborhood Association

“They all left something here in the community,” she said, and so the Victorian Days weekend also celebrates the diversity of Willimantic’s history.

“People come from all over New England,” Duval said, and “when we bring the people here, they see that Willimantic is kind of a cool town.”

New to this year’s festivities will be Saturday tours of five churches with historically interesting stained glass windows and organs.

“They’re all historic. They all have magnificent stained glass. It’s going to be a beautiful tour,” Duval said.

Thursday – with cooler and less humid weather in the forecast – will start the three-day event with a walking tour of historic Main Street that will include a viewing of the old Franklin Hall Vaudeville Theater.

Friday night, the public can attend a free Classic Brass Band Concert at the First Congregational Church, 199 Valley St. Following the performance will be a large buffet.

The Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum will take part in the 14th annual Victorian Days the weekend of June 2-3, and will offer 1.5-mile train rides in an open car with benches. Photo of the "round house" courtesy of the Railroad Museum

Saturday and Sunday, visitors can tour Victorian homes, the Willimantic Camp Meeting Association (Saturday, only), the Elks Lodge, the Old Willimantic Cemetery, Windham Mills, the magnificent Garden on the Bridge neighboring the renovated mills and ArtSpace, Wright’s Pleasant Street Garden and the Windham Town Hall with its newly installed exhibit, “Connecticut’s Connection to the Titanic.”

The Windham Textile & History Museum/Visitor’s Center, the Windham Historical Society at Jillson House and the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum (set back from Bridge Street) will also feature exhibits and other activities.

The railroad museum will offer 1.5-mile train rides in an open car with benches. “The kids will love it,” Duval said.

The Victorian Teas are “real high teas,” using real china, silverware and linen napkins and tablecloths. Sandwiches, handmade scones, pastries and tea are served in one of the Victorian homes. The tea gatherings sell out quickly. “We tell people to reserve ahead of time, and they have to,” Duval said.

For information on where to buy tickets or to make advance reservations for tea on Saturday or Sunday, call (860) 428-7573.

To download a brochure detailing all the events and a map, visit the Willimantic Victorian Neighborhood Association Web site at http://www.victorianwillimantic.org/events/victorian-days-in-willimantic

Posted May 30, 2012 as edited by HTNP.com Editor Brenda Sullivan

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News. https://www.facebook.com/HTNPnews and find us on Twitter at HTNP News (@HTNPNews )

Enjoy Connecticut’s many beautiful state parks at a discount

May 27, 2012 Areawide, Arts & Entertainment, Local News Comments Off

Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, CT offers views of Long Island Sound, nature trails, picnic tables, beautiful gardens and a tour of the historic mansion (for an additional fee).

The State offers a number of seasonal passes to Connecticut’s many and varied state parks for reasonable prices.

With the cost of gas up one day and down the next – usually up once the summer vacation season rolls around – a day at a state park can be an affordable day trip.

Some parks, such as Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, offer ocean views and many offer picnic and cookout sites.

Most have hiking trails that vary from relatively flat and easy, to steep and challenging, often leading to a summit with an inspiring view.

Some parks are great for bird-watching, and others allow fishing.

Some parks, such as Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam, also offer tours of historic and unusual estates.

Before bringing your four-legged family member along, check that a particular park allows dogs. If it does, your dog must be on a leash and you should bring drinking water and the necessary equipment for cleaning up after your dog.

Here is some information about discounted passes.

Season passes

For the frequent park visitor, Connecticut offers a season pass (a windshield sticker) that allows unlimited vehicle access to any state park or recreation area that has a parking fee, for no extra charge.

Season passes are valid for one vehicle per pass (non-transferable to any other vehicle) for an entire calendar year.

Season passes are not valid for admission to Dinosaur or Fort Trumbull State Park Exhibit Centers or tours of Gillette Castle (but you can visit the grounds), camping or special events with charges; if an area is closed to the public for any reason; for commercial use or on a commercial vehicle; if not adhered to the windshield (motorcycle operators may handhold the pass) of a registered vehicle.

A separate Heritage Passport will allow for unlimited access to Dinosaur, Fort Trumbull and Gillette Castle State Parks until the end of the calendar year. The cost is $67 and is good for a family (2 adults and up to 4 children). You can buy your Heritage Passport at any one of the three parks.

A season pass for access to all other parks is $67 for Connecticut residents and $112 for Out-of State residents and can be paid for online at the DEEP Store (The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection) http://www.ctdeepstore.com, as well as by mail or in person.

By mail, send a check for the fee, plus $2.50 for shipping and handling, made out to Treasurer, State of Connecticut to: DEEP Store, 79 Elm St., Hartford, CT 06106-5127

Your pass will be sent via first class mail with delivery confirmation to the address provided in your request.

Free lifetime passes

Called the Charter Oak Pass, this one provides access to all Connecticut state parks and forests and is available free to Connecticut residents age 65 or older.

It is accepted at all day-use areas where a parking fee applies and allows free access for the entering vehicle and passengers. And the pass holder does not have to be the vehicle driver.

It also allows free admission for the Charter Oak pass holder when visiting Gillette Castle, Dinosaur or Fort Trumbull State Parks, or fishing at the Quinebaug Valley Hatchery. Accompanying visitors, however, will be required to pay the appropriate fee.

Please note that each pass is issued to a specific person and can only be used when presented by that individual. Also, they are not valid for camping or special events that have separate admission charges, and may not be used for commercial purposes.

For a list of offices where you can buy your Charter Oak Pass in person (please bring proof of age and Connecticut residency), click this link and scroll half-way down the page.

Another free, lifetime pass is available for disabled veterans.

The Disabled Veteran Pass provides access to Connecticut state parks and forests and is available free to Connecticut residents who have a service-connected disability.

It allows free access for the entering vehicle and all passengers. Again, the pass holder does not have to be the driver.

This pass is not valid for camping or special events that have separate admission charges and may not be used for commercial purposes.

However, this pass can be used for free admission to Gillette Castle, Dinosaur or Fort Trumbull State Parks, or fishing at the Quinebaug Valley Hatchery. Accompanying visitors will be required to pay the appropriate fee.

You will need to show (or mail a copy of) your current Connecticut drivers license or other legal proof of residency, as well as a copy of your VA card or VA Benefits Letter indicating a service-connected disability. Mail to: DEEP Disabled Veteran Pass, State Parks Division, 79 Elm St., Hartford, CT 06106-5127. Questions? Call 860-424-3200 state office hours.

Letterboxing

And did you know that many state forests are included in letterboxing activities? Letterboxing is something like a treasure hunt in which boxes containing a log book and rubber stamp are hidden in the parks. Maps are created and the boxes hidden by participants, and clues to finding the boxes are posted on the Web.

You can learn more about letterboxing in this area at this site http://letterboxing.org/faq/faq.html

And this link will take you to a map of Connecticut counties and links to the letterbox maps for those areas.

And here is a link to Connecticut state forests with letterboxing trails and their clues.

More info

For descriptions of the state parks and the facilities they offer, click on this link http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?a=2716&q=325086&depNav_GID=1650

For more information about passes, click on this link http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?a=2716&q=325090&depNav_GID=1650

Also note that from time-to-time, the governor has declared certain dates to be admission-free at state parks and forests. Watch for those announcements here.

Posted May 27, 2012

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