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Community news for the Farmington Valley edition

May 09, 2024May 09, 2024

OLD WETHERSFIELD – The Hartford Community 2nd Saturday Contra Dance will be held on Sept. 9 from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. at Temple Beth Torah, 130 Main St., with a beginner lesson at 7:15 p.m. The band is called “The Fiddleheads” and the caller is Jen Jasenski. All adults pay $13, students pay $5 and there’s also a family rate. Visit for more information.

WEST HARTFORD – Flagg Road United Church of Christ, 134 Flagg Road, will host their second annual neighborhood food drive to benefit the West Hartford Food Pantry on Saturday, Sept. 9. Donations may be dropped off between 10 a.m. to 4 the church parking lot.

Suggested donations include canned fruit/applesauce, cold cereal, tuna and canned meats, rice, and rice mixes (1 lb. packages), baked beans, canned pasta, pasta sauce (especially meat free), spaghetti, peanut butter (16 oz. – 18 oz. jars), jelly, soup, canned vegetables, macaroni & cheese, granola bars, cookies, toothpaste, laundry soup, and dish detergent (please check expiration dates). If you have any questions, call 860-523-0121 and leave a message. Visit the church website at for more information.

WEST HARTFORD – Holy Family Retreat Center, 303 Tunxis Road, is hosting the following programs. Visit or call 860-760-9705 for info.

On Sept. 10, 7 p.m., in-person or online, a 9/11 Memorial Mass for Peace will take place. Refreshments will be served and free-will offerings accepted.

On Sept. 16, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Retreat for Persons Who Are Deaf: “A Missing Peace” will take place. Lunch is provided.

From Sept. 22 to 24, a women’s weekend retreat will take place. On Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, a men’s weekend retreat will take place.

On Sept. 23, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Finding God as Companion in Navigating Life’s Final Journey, with Patricia O’Connor will take place.

Nurse and educator O’Connor will guide us as we think about the final journey of our lives and the lives of those we love. She’ll share conversations, choices and resources that can be helpful and suggest ways we might be able to hear the gentle nudges of spirit during this time of life. Cost is $75 and includes lunch.

FARMINGTON – The Cove Center for Grieving Children, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides free grief support services to children and their families, is gearing up for their Annual Memorial Walk & Kids Fun Run on Sept. 17, with a second location on Oct. 1 in Groton.

The events will include a walk and fun run for children on a picturesque path at Winding Trails in Farmington and Bluff Point State Park in Groton. Participants can walk in memory of a loved one or to support The Cove’s mission to provide hope and healing to grieving children.

All funds raised will go toward supporting The Cove’s free programs for grieving families. The Cove offers a variety of programs to support grieving children, teens, and their caregivers.Their Family Program runs from September through June each year and meets twice monthly. Led by a licensed clinician and supported by trained bereavement volunteers, children and their families receive peer support in a trauma-informed setting along with therapy animal cuddles, therapeutic art activities, and ceremonies to honor their loved ones.\

The Family Program takes place at each of their five Cove sites, with sites in West Hartford, Stonington, Guilford, Meriden and New Haven. The Cove also offers a Teen Virtual Program and a Virtual Male Caregiver program, along with various support groups which take place throughout the summer. Each year, they offerCamp Compassion, where campers participate in traditional fun camp activities such as climbing, dance parties, and drum circles, and therapeutic activities under the guidance of licensed clinicians.

Participants are encouraged to set up a team to maximize fundraising potential and offer support to The Cove. Teams and or individuals who raise an additional $30, not including their registration fee, will receive a sign in memory of their loved one to be displayed along their memorial walk at the event. Team Captains whose team raises $250 or more are entitled to one free gift based on total dollars raised by the team, and team members who raise $125 or more are also eligible to receive one free gift. Visit or for more information.

WEST HARTFORD – The events listed are hosted by Congregation Beth Israel in person at the synagogue, unless otherwise noted. All events listed are open to members and non-members. Details on registering for events or viewing virtually can be found at

Community Selichot Program: Saturday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. The Reform synagogues of Greater Hartford are coming together to celebrate Selichot. This is an opportunity to sing with the local cantors and learn from the local rabbis.

SAGE Speaker Program: A Conversation with CBI Leadership, Chet Zaslow will take place Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 11 a.m. Chet is a long-time member who has served CBI in numerous leadership activities over the decades. He will speak with SAGE as he begins his first year as CBI President. A light buffet lunch will follow the presentation. RSVP to Barb Lavine at [email protected] or Kay Weiss at [email protected]. SAGE is CBI’s Seniors for Arts, Growth and Education. All are welcome, regardless of age.

Adult Ed Program: Louis Schmidt and “The Untold Story of How the Stories Were Told” will take place Thursday, Sept. 21, at 8:30 p.m. Join this virtual program (register at to hear Louis Schmidt talk about the genesis of his involvement with the USC Shoah Foundation interviewing survivors, how he was chosen for the position, and the remarkable videotaped conversations he conducted with these unforgettable martyrs of one of world history’s darkest periods. Schmidt is the winner of three Emmy and Four Ace Awards and as well as the Silver Medal from the International Television Festival of New York. He was formerly a reporter for LOOK Magazine and a Senior Producer for the National Football League for 33 years, producing HBO’s award winning show “Inside the NFL” for 16 seasons.

Shabbat LIVE! Service will take place Friday, Sept. 22, at 6:30 p.m. Lift your spirits and inspire your soul at this Shabbat Service with contemporary and Jewish tunes by CBI’s amazing Shabbat Band.

Congregation Beth Israel’s Organ Sounds Concert Series, celebrating the 90th Birthday of Historic Austin Organ, will take place Friday, Sept. 29, at 6:45 p.m.

In 2004 representatives of the American HIstorical Society presented to CBI its Historical Organ Citation plaque, declaring the organ to be of significant historical importance. Come and hear this magnificent instrument played by brilliant musicians, starting with Alexander Straus-Fausto on Sept. 29. All concerts are Fridays at 6:45 p.m. and are free and open to the public. Additional concert dates are Oct. 20, Nov. 17, Dec. 15, Jan. 19, Feb. 16, and April 19. For more information, visit, email [email protected] or call 860-233-8215.

Pizza in the Hut! Sukkot Party & Havdalah will take place Saturday, Sept. 30, at 6 p.m. Enjoy delicious pizza in the hut and get a chance to shake the lulav and etrog. There will be music from a Klezmer band and an opportunity for blessings. For questions or more information, email Michelle at [email protected] or call 860-233-8215.

WEST HARTFORD — Presidents’ College, the Lifelong Learning Program at the University of Hartford for adults 50 and above, is hosting a free “Get-to-Know-Us” event on Thursday, Sept. 14, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Enjoy refreshments and jazz plus hear about upcoming fall courses and lectures from professors.

Mingle with current and prospective lifelong learners and see if the program’s lectures and short (2, 3, or 4 session) non-credit courses are the right fit for you. Topics include the arts, history, current events, literature, science, and engineering. There is no charge for this event, but you must register at Email [email protected] or call 860-769-4495 with questions or to be added to the mailing list.

SIMSBURY – Visit the Simsbury Public Library on Sunday, Sept. 10, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. for a Pet CPR & First Aid Class. Taught by Tom Rinelli of Paws N Claws 911, this highly interactive training emphasizes hands-on skills practice to ensure proficiency in the life-saving skills taught. This training is geared toward teens (12+), their families, and pet parents.

Attendees will learn hands-on skills such as emergency muzzling and restraint, vital signs assessment CPR (Canine & Feline), choking management (conscious & unconscious), and bleeding control/shock management. Participants will also learn how to deal with medical emergencies, environmental emergencies, and pet safety & wellness. Participants will receive a handbook, certificate, & emergency muzzle at the end of class.

This program is free and registration is required as space is limited. The library is located at 725 Hopmeadow St.

WEST SIMSBURY – Join the Simsbury Grange and the Simsbury Public Library in welcoming local filmmaker, Ray Asselin, as he presents his five-part Beaver Pond Wildlife series documenting a full year’s time at New England beaver ponds.

Part four will be presented Thursday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. at the Simsbury Grange, 236 Farms Village Road. Visit to register.

SIMSBURY – Mike DelGuidice, the accomplished musician, singer, and songwriter best known for his work with Billy Joel and his band, takes the stage at Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center, 22 Iron Horse Blvd.

Enjoy your picnic on the lawn or reserved up-close tables. For an elevated experience, the VIP package offers an exclusive catered table for eight from award-winning Metro Bis Restaurant, complete with wine. Gates open at 6 p.m., and the show kicks off at 7 p.m. All event proceeds support Favarh – The Arc of the Farmington Valley, a nonprofit dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across 34 Connecticut communities. For more information and ticket purchases, visit

UNIONVILLE – The grand opening of the Wilcox-Bushley Homestead and Environmental Learning Center, 119 Coppermine Road, isFriday, Sept. 15. Party in the Pasture will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. and features an evening under the stars with a farm-to-table feast and live music.

On Saturday, Sept. 16, Family Day on the Farm will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is free of charge, but please register. Come for a fun day of hayrides, face painting and more. Purchase snacks or lunch at the food trucks on the grounds.

On Sunday, Sept. 17, a garden party will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. Enjoy a traditional English high tea and create a lovely flower arrangement with the help of expert Trish Manfredi. Visit to register and to purchase tickets for Friday and Sunday’s events.

FARMINGTON – The Farmington Historical Society offers an introductory lecture by Andre LePelle Keitt followed by a guided walking tour to the various sites throughout the village which were part of the Mende stay in Farmington, as well as several sites which are part of Connecticut’s Freedom Trail. From March through November, 1841, Farmington was home to the African Mende captives who had rebelled and overtaken the slave ship La Amistad.

Come hear the story of how the US Supreme Court declared the Africans free people with permission to return to their homeland. Tours are on most Saturdays, 10 a.m., at the First Church of Christ, Congregational, located at 75 Main St. Dates are Sept. 9, 23 and 30. Ticket prices are listed on and need to be purchased prior to the tour.

CANTON – The Cherry Brook Garden Club is hosting a lecture on Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 11 a.m. at the Canton Community Center, lower-level, 40 Dyer Ave. Steve Messier, lichenologist and former science teacher at Canton High School, will discuss “White Oaks’s Effect on our Mosses and Lichens” and how white oaks play a significant role in the ecology of dry-mesic forests. The lecture is open to the public. There is a $5 guest fee for non-members. Visit for more information.

AVON – Auditions for The Witch Tryal will take place at 6 West Main St. on Sept. 10 at 4 p.m. and Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. The Avon Congregational Church is seeking men, women and older teens for The Witch Tryal, the interactive witch trial hearing of Susannah Martin in 1693. Strong vocal projection and ultra-clear articulation are a must. Some improv and independent character development encouraged.

Auditions will include reading from the script however, a one-minute prepared monologue is also welcome, but not required. Email [email protected] with questions.

The script is rooted in a 17th century history context and while taken directly from transcripts, is also highly theatrical. Expect a handful of rehearsals before premiering Oct. 27 and 28 at the historical meetinghouse of the Avon Congregational Church.

AVON – Craft ‘n ChaT will take place Tuesday, Sept. 12, from 2 to 3:15 p.m. at the Avon Free Public Library Atrium 1st Floor, 281 Country Club Road. This program is for adults. Bring your own project that you’re working on.

If you don’t have something in progress we will have art supplies and coloring on hand for inspiration and to work with, while supplies last. Registration is required at

The Wednesday Morning Book Club will meet Wednesday, Sept. 13, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. The book is “The Other Black Girl” by Zakiya Dalila Harris.

Copies of the book and a reader’s guide will be available to check out ahead of time at the Reference Desk.

Past participation is not required for this once-a-month book club. Everyone is welcome to join the low-key, no long-term commitment, friendly group. Space is limited and registration is required at

A virtual event, Anxiety and Depression in Adolescents, will take place Friday, Sept. 15, at 2 p.m. Dr. Aaron Krasner will inform parents about the anxiety and depression in adolescents that we hear so much about. He is a board certified adult, child and adolescent psychiatrist. For more information, contact [email protected] or visit

GUILFORD – The Henry Whitfield State Museum, 248 Old Whitfield St., celebrates Welcoming Week with the second annual WelcomeFest on Saturday, Sept. 9, from noon to 4 p.m.

“Welcoming Week is an annual international campaign and celebration showcasing the work of communities striving to be more welcoming places for all, including immigrants and refugees,” said Museum Curator, Michelle Parrish. “The Whitfield House was built in 1639 as the home of Guilford’s first minister as well as a fort for the new settlement of about 350 Puritans fleeing religious persecution in England. While Puritans were religious refugees, they were often not welcoming to those with differing views or those they thought of as inferior. Here at the museum, we’re committed to Welcoming Week’s goal of building a nation of neighbors. WelcomeFest is a free event open to everyone where we learn about cultures different from our own, celebrate our similarities and differences, and foster mutual understanding and deeper belonging for all.”

For more information and a schedule of events, call 203-453-2457, email [email protected], or visit Admission is free and there is free parking.

MIDDLETOWN – Auditions are Sept. 11 and 14 for actors and movers ages 14 to 20, looking for a powerful and challenging performance experience this autumn. Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Repertory Company 2023, in partnership with ARTFARM, announces auditions for “Coming Into Being: A Journey of Individuation”, an original, ensemble-generated work created and directed by ARTFARM Artistic Director Marcella Trowbridge.

This work will be a physical, psycho-emotional exploration into what it is to come into your self as an individual, as a young adult. This work will require commitment, tenacity, courage, openness of mind, freedom of spirit, heart-centeredness and the willingness to lean into the grit and grace of what it is to be human.

Audition dates are Sept. 11 and 14, 6 to 9 p.m. at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington St.

Anyone wishing to audition should register for one of the two evenings at and arrive on time, dress to move, expect to be barefoot, and be prepared to stay the entire three hours. Auditions are open to anyone ages 14 – 20.

Everyone who auditions and commits to the rehearsal and production schedule will be cast. There is no cost to audition. Rehearsals begin Sept. 18 and will be Mondays and Thursdays, 6 to 9 p.m. Performance dates are Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 and Dec. 8 to 9.

Tuition for Teen Rep is $300. Financial aid or work-study are available for all who need it. Email [email protected] to register for one of the two auditions, or call 860-347-6143 for more information.

AREA – HartfordHealthCare is offering the following programs. Virtual: Dementia Caregiver Support Group – Do you care for someone diagnosed with dementia? A support group provides emotional, educational and social support. Topics include: communication techniques, caregiver support, benefits of activities, and stages of the disease, family dynamics and safety issues. Join the class on Tuesday, Oct. 3, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.Registration is required Call 1.855.442.4373 or go to After you register, you’ll receive an email with easy instructions on joining the virtual class.

In-Person: Healthy Brain Series: The Healthy Brain Series is offered starting in September. Participants are encouraged to attend all five sessions. Presented by a certified dementia specialist from Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging. Join the class every Thursday on Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26 & Nov. 2, from 11 a.m. to noon. Topics include activities to challenge your mind, the importance of diet and nutrition, finding meaningful engagement as you age, and more. Location: Wethersfield Senior Center, 30 Greenfield St. Registration is required by calling 860-721-2770.

Call-In Support Group: Looking for a safe space? Talk to a professional about the questions and or concerns you may have regarding dementia. Every Friday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. starting Friday, Oct. 6, there will be a call-in support group facilitated by Kristine Johnson, dementia specialist, Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging.Join Zoom Meeting: Meeting ID: 924 0818 1873 One tap mobile 1.646.876.9923, Meeting ID 92408181873#

NEWINGTON – Cedar Mountain Commons, an independent and assisted living community located at 3 John H. Stewart Drive, will be hosting an open house Wednesday, Oct. 11, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Visitors will be able to learn more about how living at a senior community can be the most comfortable and safest choice while enjoying engaging activities, new friends and supportive services. Registration is recommended. To reserve a time, call 860-665-7901.

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