7-Day Happenings: 11/12-18

Welcome to your 7-day Momecast of what to do and where to go throughout Hartford County!

Get out for much deserved Parental Time Out – our version of the PTO. See a documentary; instead of a movie such as Return of the River at Spotlight. Enjoy some guiltless brews while supporting Playhouse on Park. Go on a journey with Mark Twain and embark on a cheerful, yet feerless voyage of your own – without even leaving Hartford!

Take the kids out to see Shrek the Musical – no need to head to NYC when Hartford County has all the entertainment a child could want! Bring your child’s favorite book to life at the Bushnell while watching Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny on stage. Enjoy an indoor kid’s carnival at the New England Carousel Museum in Bristol.

The options are endless – we hope this week’s edition of Momford – where we put the Mom into Hartford – brings out your inner child as you explore the greater Hartford’s area with or without your kids!

Thursday, November 12:

5:30 – 7pm: Gallery Crawl Trivia Night How well do you know the galleries? Come and find out—and learn something new! Participants are invited to an evening of fun, facts, and a gallery crawl with wine/beer stations. Explore the galleries and test your knowledge of art, art history, and the Museum. Prizes will be awarded to the winners!

5:30 – 7:30pm: Cultural Cocktail Hour Join us on the Second Thursday of November and December for exhibition openings, garden concerts and entertainment. Free with a suggested $5 food and per beverage donation. Butler-McCook House & Garden, Hartford.

6 – 8:30pm: Set to Celebrate Preview Party An annual showcase of tablescapes “dressed” for celebration. Presented by The Connecticut Valley Garden Club. Started in 2011 by The Connecticut Valley Garden Club to raise funds for a fully handicap accessible rose garden in Elizabeth Park, Set to Celebrate continues to inspire local residents and beyond with over 30 beautiful tablescapes designed by decorators, businesses, organizations, and individuals. $125 per person. Town and Country Club, Hartford.

Thursday, November 12 – Sunday, November 15:

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Grand Opening Celebrate barre3’s grand opening where free classes will also be offered all week-long (some with complementary childcare) until November 15.

Thursday – Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2pm: Jimmy and Lorraine is a meditation on the American political climate of the late 50’s and early 60’s through the lens of two significant artists of the time, James Baldwin and Lorraine Hansberry. Writer Talvin Wilks through his research and collaboration with HartBeat Ensemble members, including director Brian Jennings, will develop this new work and explore the lives of these two artists and social activists. Through insights from Jimmy and Lorraine, this new play hopes to hold up a mirror to America’s history and shed light on the issues of race, art and politics in an ever-changing multicultural society. $25 general admission, $20 students. Runs through Sunday, 11/22. Carriage Theater, Hartford.

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{Last Call} Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday – Saturday at 8pm, Saturday – Sunday 2pm, Sunday at 7:30pm: Rear Window Murder is in the eye of the beholder. A sweltering New York summer. A man confined to his wheelchair spends hour after hour watching his neighbors. Is he imagining things, or has he witnessed a murder? A thrilling adaptation of the classic crime story—“Rear Window” by Cornell Woolrich—that inspired the Alfred Hitchcock film. Keith Reddin’s plays include Frame 312, Life and Limb and Rum and Coke. Sold out but standing room only tickets are available online only. Hartford Stage, Hartford.

Thursday, November 12 – Wednesday, November 18:

Monday – Saturday from 10am – 9pm and Sunday from 11am – 6pm: Westfarms to Celebrate the Holidays with Beloved ‘Peanuts Gang’ To celebrate the launch of The Peanuts Movie, in theaters everywhere, a special family-friendly holiday experience is being offered exclusively at Westfarms from November 6th through December 24th. Developed in partnership with 20th Century Fox, the iconic Peanuts characters will take center stage within its unique, interactive Ice Palace. The indoor holiday display will feature a 30-foot dome complete with falling snow, a light show and other activities for the entire family. In addition, kids can watch special scenes from the new movie, create and compare their icy handprint alongside Snoopy and Woodstock, have their photo taken with a life-size graphic of Snoopy and his dog house and much more. Westfarms will also offer the opportunity for families to visit with Santa Claus as part of the Ice Palace experience. Those who visit Santa will receive a complimentary gift. Westfarms Center Court, West Hartford.

Friday, November 13:

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6 – 9pm: Third Annual Beer Garden Sample from over 50 micro-brews, enjoy assorted finger foods, giveaways and a “Beer Stein” Auction; all to benefit Playhouse on Park in West Hartford.

7 – 8pm: Read It & Sleep A free monthly event for local children and their families to enjoy snacks, hear a bedtime story and the first 25 families get to take home a free copy of the book! Each month, we’ll feature a different reader from the community. Charter Oak Cultural Center, Hartford.

7 – 9pm: Riverside Reptiles This is a free program provided by donations made to the Trails Fund. We are pleased to invite Brian Kleinman of Riverside Reptiles back for another interactive presentation on a wide variety of animals. In this program you will encounter some creepy-looking creatures. This program is a perfect mixed bag of entertainment with a variety of reptiles, amphibians, arachnids, insects and more! Registration is required three days prior to the event. Free. Winding Trails, Farmington.

Friday, November 13 – Saturday, November 14:

10am – 5pm: Set to Celebrate An annual showcase of tablescapes “dressed” for celebration. Presented by The Connecticut Valley Garden Club. Started in 2011 by The Connecticut Valley Garden Club to raise funds for a fully handicap accessible rose garden in Elizabeth Park, Set to Celebrate continues to inspire local residents and beyond with over 30 beautiful tablescapes designed by decorators, businesses, organizations, and individuals. Admission: $25 in advance; $30 at the door. Town and County Club, Hartford.

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Friday at 7pm and Saturday at 9am: In 2015 Women of Faith will celebrate 20 years of ministry with a nationwide, farewell tour. We’ll welcome back longtime friends and introduce new ones in a hilarious, heart-warming, life-affirming Friday night-Saturday experience that cannot be missed. It will be a time to remember, rejoice, and reflect on the message we’ve shared since the very beginning… that no matter how you may feel, the reality is this: You are seen. You are known. You are free. You are Loved. Women of Faith has been encouraging women since 1996 with compelling stories, laugh-out-loud humor, heart-tugging music, rejuvenating worship, and more! Long before reality TV, Women of Faith speakers were candidly sharing their real problems and how hard life can be—reassuring those in the audience that God is with us in the pain of life and that we are not alone. XL Center, Hartford.

Friday, November 13 – Sunday, November 15:

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Friday – Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm: Shrek the Musical Based on the Oscar-winning film, Shrek the Musical is a Tony Award-winning adventure featuring all the characters you love from the film. In this not-so-traditional fairy tale, Shrek discovers the value of friendship and realizes that true love is more than skin deep. Irreverently fun, this show has something for kids and adults to enjoy! $24 for general seating. Reoccurs 11/20-22. Little Theatre of Manchester at Cheney Hall, Manchester.

Saturday, November 14:

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10am and 12:30pm: Goodnight Moon and the Runaway Bunny Adapted from Margaret Wise Brown’s sixty-year-old classic, Goodnight Moon is a celebration of familiar nighttime rituals, while The Runaway Bunny’s pretend tale of leaving home evokes reassuring responses from his loving mum. Both feature the endearing animal puppets, stunning scenic effects and evocative music that have earned international recognition for Mermaid Theatre. The hour-long staged adaptation brings a fresh appreciation of the stories and images that have delighted several generations. The Bushnell, Hartford.

10am – 2pm: Clay’s Critters! Join Clay on the second Saturday of every month when he brings a menagerie of critters to show us at the Barnes Nature Center.  Clay specializes in reptiles, amphibians and carnivorous plants so there is always something exciting on hand! Free. Barnes Nature Center, Bristol.

10am – 5pm: Community Day Residents of New Britain, Berlin, and Kensington enjoy an admission free day of gallery viewing and art activities. Visitors can now explore more artwork throughout our recently completed expansion and view works that have been hidden in our collection. You can also bring the family and create your own work of art by joining one of the hands-on art activities taking place in our new studio classrooms. Open Studio: 11am to 2pm create a geometric pattern piece inspired by Robert Natkin’s work, Chicago (1968). This piece is located on the second floor of the Museum in the Director’s Favorites exhibit. Free admission for residents of New Britain, Berlin, and Kensington. New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain.

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11am: Baby’s First Christmas For babies born April- July 2015. Meet and mingle with parents and their babies. Share holiday storytime, activities and more. Enjoy prizes and giveaways. Create baby’s first “Ugly” Christmas Sweater” with a free Gerber Onesies bodysuit. While supplies last.  All Babies”R”Us Stores. November 21st is for babies born August – November 2015.

11am – 2pm: Microbes Matter with Dr. Ruth A. Gyure, Professor of Microbiology at Western Connecticut State University. Use a voltmeter to measure the output of a microbial fuel cell. Get answers to quiz questions by looking at microbes on a Petri plate and through a microscope. Connecticut Science Center, Hartford.

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11am – 4pm: Kids’ Carnival Join us for a whimsical day of fun for the whole family! This one-of-a-kind event, sponsored by the Thomaston Savings Bank Foundation, will feature carousel rides, magic shows, face painting, arts and crafts, carnival games, prizes, balloon animals, representatives from other Bristol non-profit organizations, and much more. Children are free, adults are $6, and all admissions include free access to all of the day’s activities. The New England Carousel Museum, Bristol.

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12 – 5pm: All-American Art Unwind is an opportunity for customers to Connect, Create, Color and unleash their inner artist! On November 14, from 12 Noon until 5 pm, all Barnes & Noble stores nationwide will feature three fun coloring activities. They include personalizing with color a selection of Hallmark greeting cards and envelopes so attendees can connect with others, creating a national digital art mosaic and coloring by experimenting with different illustration styles and artist supplies.

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2pm: The Price of the Ticket “Succeeds remarkably in getting into the mind and spirit of the most celebrated Black writer of our time….Stays with you after the program ends.”~ New York Times. Click here to learn more about this film. Carriage House Theater, Hartford.

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6 – 11pm: A Cheerful, Careless Voyage…A Globe-Trotting Gala with Mark Twain! The American Frontier. Paris. The Holy Land. Bermuda. India. New Zealand. Milan. The Sandwich Islands. The Swiss Alps. Australia. London. Vancouver. The Fiji Islands. Budapest. South Africa. Mark Twain traveled to almost every corner of the earth in his lifetime, revolutionizing travel writing with works like The Innocents Abroad, A Tramp Abroad and Following the Equator and expanding his views, and the views of others. Embark on a journey with the Mark Twain House and Museum and celebrate Twain’s spirit for travel and adventure! Your passport ensures your gala itinerary will make stops in many enchanted and alluring destinations. You’ll browse auction items at an exotic marketplace, imbibe spirits from distant shores, and dine on cuisine from across the world. Come in the traditional garb from your favorite land! If you lost your pith hat on your last safari, wear your cocktail attire instead! Where else can you explore spell-binding corners of the globe without leaving downtown Hartford? Tickets are $250. The Hartford Club, Hartford.

7 – 9pm: Music for the Harvest & Hearth Celebrate autumn with the music of Ringrose & Freeman, consisting of Jeanne Freeman (fiddle) and Dan Ringrose (guitar and vocals), a duo that entertains with Irish and Celtic music, contemporary folk, and original songs and tunes. Enjoy a mug of mulled cider and refreshments after the concert. $15 per person. Registration is required.  Stanley-Whitman House, Farmington.

7 – 11pm: Chaparrals Live at the Carousel Museum Reserve a seat and come to listen with friends and loved ones or come and make some fun new friends! Our beautiful large wooden dance floor will bring you to tap your toes or give a twirl. Join us for some fun! Cover is $12 per person.

Saturday, November 14 – Sunday, November 15:

11am – 3pm: Taste of Thanksgiving If you love having a free taste at Stew’s – this is like, “Free-Taste-A-Palooza” – you don’t want to miss this one! A cornucopia of sampling stations will be set up at each store, offering customers fresh ideas for their holiday entertaining menus and giving them an opportunity to taste Stew Leonard’s most popular Thanksgiving dishes including: Fresh turkey, turkey gravy, home-style turkey stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potato mousse mashed potatoes, whole roasted Brussels sprouts with crisp bacon and maple syrup cauliflower au gratin. Stew Leonard’s, Newington.

11am – 5pm: Open Studio Hartford There is so much to take in during Open Studio Hartford’s main event – Open Studio Weekend. We suggest planning your Saturday and Sunday by visiting a handful of venues each day. Free parking is available at most venues. Shuttle buses will be routed around the City for your convenience and comfort. Studios: Oak Hill Art Studio, Hartford Weaving Center, CT Historical Society, Venom Vintage & Creative Space, Passages Gallery, Majorca, Arbor Arts Center, Real Art Ways, The Dirt Salon, Trinity College Fifth Year Fellows, Kempczynski Gallery & Studio, First Presbyterian Church, Colt Gateway, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, Hartford Public Library, Hartford Artisan Showcase, CT Convention Center, Hartford Dada Art Show, Capital Community College, Hartford Prints, Lindsey Fyfe Studio, The Tobacco Shop Gallery, Union Station Great Hall, ArtSpace Hartford and M. D. Robertson Photo Arts.

Sunday, November 15:

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9:30 – 11:30am: Great Children’s Read Bring your children for this free day of fun for book loving families.  Children’s classics and PJ Library books will be read aloud by local personalities.  There will be interactive art activities and more.  An ASL interpreter will be present for all book readings. PJ Library Book Swap – bring duplicate books or books your children have outgrown. Take a book you don’t have at home. Free and open to the public. Click here for a detailed schedule. Mandell JCC, West Hartford.

12 – 3pm: Thanksgiving is Here! Come join us to enjoy “The One Day Above All Others: A New England Thanksgiving.” Tour our beautiful 1755 house, the barns and the property. Our colonial cooks, Lin and Annika, will be preparing several dishes in the fireplace. Sample chicken pie, cranberry pie and the tasty Marlborough pudding – a lemon custard with apples. Welles-Shipman-Ward House, Glastonbury.

Monday, November 16:

10 – 11:15am: Free Open Play Join us for dancing, bubbles, sensory play, art, gross motor play, dress up, socializing and more! Monday mornings every Monday in November. Perfect for ages 10 months – 5 years. Pre-registration not required.  Each play time is free (in November) with the donation of a canned food item for the West Hartford Food Bank. Imagine Studio, West Hartford.

1:30 – 3pm: Homeschool Days Historical artworks provide many keys to the past. During this session, we’ll examine masterworks in the Hudson River School collection for clues to what the weather may have been like when artists created these landscape paintings. Windy or calm? Summer or spring? Sunrise or sunset? Apply your own knowledge of the weather to answer these questions and more, and then borrow techniques from the Hudson River School painters to make a stormy, sunny, or snowy landscape of your own. Ages 5 – 12. $10 per student. No charge for children under 12 and accompanying adults. The New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain.

4 – 5pm: Volcanoes Come join Ms Courtney from The Clever Crayon for some volcano constructing and erupting! We will begin by designing our own unique volcanoes out of model magic before making them erupt over and over again! $15 per child. Imagine Studio, West Hartford.

Tuesday, November 17:

9:30 – 10:30am and 11:30am – 12:30pm: Thanksgiving Twist Toddler Class Today we are making Thanksgiving dinner with a twist, including a mouth-watering turkey casserole and your own personalized turkey cupcake! This class will definitely get you in the Thanksgiving spirit. Gobble, gobble! Ages 2-5. $15 per child. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Stew Leonard’s, Newington. Reocurrs on 11/20.

11am: Children’s Storytime Join us for a Thanksgiving-themed Storytime! Barnes & Noble, Canton.

5:30 – 7:30pm: Book Talk: “Nathan Hale The Life & Death of America’s First Spy” M. William Phelps brings into focus the life of this famed patriot and first spy of the American Revolution, charting Hale’s rural childhood, his education at Yale, and his work as a schoolteacher. Like many young Americans, he was soon drawn into the colonies’ war for independence and became a captain in Washington’s army. When the general was in need of a spy, Hale willingly rose to the challenge, gathering intelligence behind British lines on Long Island, and in the end bravely sacrificing his life for the sake of American liberty. Using Hale’s own journals and letters as well as testimonies from his friends and contemporaries, Phelps depicts the Revolution as it was seen from the ground. From the confrontation in Boston to the battle for New York City, readers experience what life was like for an ordinary soldier in the struggling Continental Army. In this impressive, well-researched biography, Phelps separates historical fact from long-standing myth to reveal the truth about Nathan Hale, a young man who deserves to be remembered as an original American patriot. Reservations suggested. Books will be available for purchase and signing. Event is free. Amos Bull House, Hartford.

Wednesday, November 18:

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12pm: Don’t Mince Your Words: Conversations at the Thanksgiving Table Connecticut’s Old State House, Hartford.

2 – 3pm: Story and Craft at the Museum Join us for storytime at the CHS! Children will listen to a reading of I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie, make a thanksgiving craft, and help “cook” an old-fashioned dinner. After the program, explore the hands-on activities in our exhibits. This program is great for children ages 5 and under. CT Historical Society Museum & Library, Hartford.

5:30pm: Movie Screening Benefit for Riverfront Return of the River Riverfront Recapture continues its series of environmentally-themed movies. Amid grim environmental news, this film offers a story of hope, as a group of strong-minded people works to change the opinion of the town, and eventually the nation, to remove two dams, showing the way to a more sustainable future. A story about people and the land they inhabit, it is also an unlikely success story for environmental and cultural restoration. The Elwha River, in Washington State, is showcased as the camera soars over mountain headwaters, dives into schools of salmon, and captures turbines grinding to a halt, as the largest dam removal project in history begins. Featuring perspectives on all sides of the Elwha debate, the film explores the complex relationship between communities and the environment that sustains them.The reception pairs the Front Street Bistro’s food with complimentary wine from Washington State, as well as beer and soft drinks. We encourage you to reserve a table at the Bistro after the movie to further discuss the film and enjoy the Bistro’s menu. Click here for the flyer. Spotlight Theatres, Hartford.

6 – 9pm: Visions For the Future of Our Children, Our Community, and Our Museum Highlights of the evening include our featured speaker, Carole Charnow, President of The Boston’s Children’s Museum will speak about the importance of children’s museums;  Jay Kaplan, Director of Roaring Brook Nature Center will be presented with a distinguished service award for 40 years of service, and much more! A Celebration and Fundraising dinner at Tumble Brook Country Club, Bloomfield, CT.

Be sure to check out more fun things to on our activities page. These are usually fun things that reoccur each week or month – we just don’t want to cloud up this page with redundancy – but these are some awesome things to do too.

On Deck:

Friday, 11/20 at 4pm and 7pm: Disney Live! Three Classic Fairy Tales at the XL Center in Hartford.

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Friday, 11/20 – Saturday 11/21 at 7pm and Sunday, 11/22 at 2pm: Winnie the Pooh at the New Britain-Berlin YMCA in New Britain.

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Friday, 11/20 – Saturday, 11/21 at 7:30pm, Saturday 11/21 – Sunday, 11/22 at 1:30pm: Rogers & Hammerstein’s Carousel at Hall High School Theater in West Hartford. Enter to win our giveaway running now!

Writing Contest Alert:

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High School and College Students: 2016 Student Stowe Prize The Student Stowe Prize, established by the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in 2012, recognizes outstanding writing by United States high school and college students that is making a tangible impact on a social justice issue critical to contemporary society. Issues may include, but are not limited to, race, class and gender.  Entries must have been published or publicly presented. The Student Stowe Prizes will next be awarded in June 2016 at the Stowe Center’s fundraising event, the Big Tent Jubilee. The Student winners will also be featured at the Real Stories of Social Change panel, a free public program immediately preceding the Big Tent. The recognition includes a $2,500 prize for the college winner and a $1,000 prize for the high school winner. The winning entries are printed in the Big Tent program book and posted on the Stowe Center’s web site. Nominations must be postmarked by: January 15, 2016. Download the flyer here. Download entry form here.

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