<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Dining, shopping and nightlife]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Fri, 19 Dec 2014 03:01:53 -0500 Fri, 19 Dec 2014 03:01:53 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Tips for Making Latkes ]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:08:09 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bay-latke-chef.jpg

When it comes to holidays, there's no better recipe than the one you grew up with.

Same is true for latkes.

So, tonight, when Hanukkah begins at sundown, folks around the globe will be firing up the frying pans to create the ultimate potato pancake.

Some began cooking the Hanukkah delicacy even before the Jewish Festival of Lights began.

"We cooked 6,000 yesterday," said Evan Bloom, who co-owns Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen in San Francisco with partner Leo Beckerman. "And we'll probably be making more."

The secret to the Wise Sons latkes? "We try to keep it very simple," Bloom said, adding that the real trick is to squeeze any liquid from the potatoes after grating them, so that they taste "crispy, not soggy."

And of course, he uses oil. Lots and lots of oil.

And although schmaltz, the Yiddish term for rendered chicken fat, was recently touted in the New York Times as gaining a comeback, Bloom said he and his cooks tend to stick with regular cooking oil for their latkes.

"We use schmaltz in a lot of things, like our chopped liver and matzo balls, but not in our latkes. There are so many vegetarians, and so many people are afraid of it."

But there are all sorts of ways to make latkes. Here is a small round-up of some popular latke-making videos.

From upscale (with Parmesan cheese, chives and Tabasco)...

To India-inspired (with carrots and coriander)...

Lest your Bubbe should see, she just sticks to the basics: potatoes, oil, flour, salt and pepper.

Photo Credit: Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen
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<![CDATA[Merriam-Webster Names Word of the Year]]> Mon, 15 Dec 2014 15:52:03 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/27167011.jpg

A nation, a workplace, an ethnicity, a passion, an outsized personality. The people who comprise these things, who fawn or rail against them, are behind Merriam-Webster's 2014 word of the year: culture.

The word joins Oxford Dictionaries' "vape," a darling of the e-cigarette movement, and "exposure," declared the year's winner at Dictionary.com during a time of tragedy and fear due to Ebola.

Merriam-Webster based its pick and nine runners-up on significant increases in lookups this year over last on Merriam-Webster.com, along with interesting, often culture-driven — if you will — spikes of concentrated interest.

In the No. 2 spot is "nostalgia," during a year of big 50th anniversaries pegged to 1964: the start of the free speech movement, the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the birth of the Ford Mustang and the British Invasion heralded by the landing of the Beatles on U.S. soil for the first time.

Nostalgia was followed by insidious, legacy, feminism and a rare multiword phrase that can be looked up in total, in a foreign language at that: the French "je ne sais quoi."

The Springfield, Massachusetts-based dictionary giant filters out perennial favorites when picking word of the year, but does that formula leave them chasing language fads?

"We're simply using the word culture more frequently," said Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster. "It may be a fad. It may not. It may simply be evolution."

Sokolowski noted that the reasons words are looked up aren't just about not knowing what they mean. Sometimes, he said, we seek inspiration or a way to check in on ourselves. Of an estimated 100 million lookups on the website each year and a similar number on the company's app, culture enjoyed a 15 percent year-over-year increase.

Percentage-wise, it doesn't sound like much, but the raw number in that stratosphere is large, Sokolowski said. He wouldn't disclose actual numbers, though, citing the proprietary nature of that data for a company still privately held.

Sokolowski is a lexicographer, not a mind reader, so his observations about why any single word takes off in terms of lookups is well-informed but theoretical.

"The word culture's got a cultural story. We have noticed for years that culture has a cyclical spike every year at around Labor Day. That is to say back to school time during the month of September, so we've been watching this word spike at that time for years," he said by telephone from Springfield. "In recent years we've seen similar spikes at the end of semesters during finals."

But traffic throughout the year indicates that culture is a "chameleon," Sokolowski said. "When you put it next to another word it means something very different. For example, 'consumer culture' or 'rape culture,' which we've been reading about lately."

There's the "culture of transparency" in government and business, and "celebrity culture," and the "culture of winning" in sports, he noted. "It's a word that can be very specific, like 'test prep culture,' or it can be very, very broad, like 'coffee culture.'"

One standout reference that caught Sokolowski's eye in The New Yorker's December issue is from a new book, "How Google Works," which includes a description of a software fix by a few engineers that made ads more relevant on the search engine:

"It wasn't Google's culture that turned those five engineers into problem-solving ninjas who changed the course of the company over the weekend," wrote the authors, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and former head of product development Jonathan Rosenberg.

"Rather it was the culture that attracted the ninjas to the company in the first place."

Before the word culture exploded, Sokolowski said, "we used to talk about 'society' a lot. Certain groups are taking 'society' out of their names now. It seems to be receding. Part of that seems to be because it's elitist. We're using the word culture more frequently in that place."

Not all lookup spikes are quite that complex. The reason "je ne sais quoi" landed at No. 6, for instance, is "dead simple," he said.

The fast-food drive-in chain Sonic, known for TV spots featuring two goofy dudes eating in a car, had them munching on boneless chicken wings in September.

"I've finally found myself a wingman," goofy guy No. 1 says of the wings he hopes will make him a chick magnet.

"Oh right," sneers goofy guy No. 2, "gonna give you that certain je ne sais quoi."

Responds No. 1: "Jenna said what?"

They mine the word play a couple more times, but you get the picture.

"Since September when this ad came out this word has been close to the Top 10 or in the Top 10 of our lookups almost every single day," Sokolowski said.

Fast-food aside, he called this year's list a relatively sober one.

Insidious, for example, received a bump early in the year when a new trailer was released for "Insidious: Chapter 3," a prequel in the horror film franchise "Insidious," out in June. The word surfaced in a big way again, on Oct. 8, when a Texas hospital released a statement on the death of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first confirmed Ebola patient in the United States.

The statement spoke of his courageous battle and the hospital's profound sadness when he "succumbed to an insidious disease, Ebola."

Rounding out the Top 10 are innovation, surreptitious, autonomy and morbidity.

"This is a fairly sober list. It was a fairly sober year," he concluded.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tips on Throwing a Great Holiday Party]]> Wed, 10 Dec 2014 12:32:00 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Tips_on_Throwing_a_Great_Holiday_Party_1200x675_369885251932.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[#SantaPhotoFail: Pics of No Good Santa Encounters]]> Fri, 12 Dec 2014 02:42:41 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/01-santafailthumb.jpg It's Christmastime and it's that time of year when you head out with the family and get those beloved pics of the kids with Santa. Except the photos don't always turn out as you hoped.]]> <![CDATA[James Franco Talks Sony Hack on "SNL"]]> Sun, 07 Dec 2014 09:02:47 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/James-Franco-SNL.jpg

James Franco returned to the "Saturday Night Live" stage this weekend, kicking off his opening monologue by addressing the massive hack at Sony, which produced Franco's upcoming movie "The Interview."

"These hackers have leaked real, personal information about everyone who's worked with Sony," the host said. "Soon you'll know that my email is cuterthandavefranco@aol.com, my password is 'LittleJamesyCutiePie,' and this is all a huge invasion of my personal life."

Halfway through the monologue, Franco's friend (and "The Interview" co-star) Seth Rogen shuffled onstage to inform Franco that the hackers released all their personal photos.

"They also released this one of me teaching you how to read," Rogen somberly told Franco. "We were making such good progress, man."

Franco later appeared as Tad Rankin, a man miffed about losing to a four-year-old in a mayoral election.

"Tommy is a little kid!" he howls. "This town needs a mayor who doesn't get ear infections!"

The "SNL" cast spoofed NBC's Thursday-night special "Peter Pan Live!", starring Allison Williams and Christopher Walken.

Peter Pan (Cecily Strong) challenged Captain Hook (Franco) to a duel while asserting "his" own masculinity.

"You heard me -- I'm a boy! The most gorgeous, womanly boy with shiny bright eyes and feminine features!" Pan proclaimed, in a sendup of the bright-eyed (and thoroughly female) Williams.

One difference from the original: Tonkerbell (Aidy Bryant), Tinkerbell's puckish half-sister, joined the cast. "Do not boss my ass around, okay, Peter? I work for myself as a reverse tooth fairy -- I fly into kids' rooms, I take a dollar, and I leave one of my own teeth."

Franco lampooned Walken's laconic delivery as Hook, whose singing was limited to monosyllabic grunts while his motley pirates did song-and-dance routines.

In the cold open sketch, Al Sharpton (Keenan Thompson) addressed the Michael Brown and Eric Garner grand jury decisions.

"For the first time in my life, everyone agrees with me," he said. "Folks are high-fivin' with me, invitin' me places -- this must be what it feels like to be Beyonce!"

Sharpton welcomed Peter Dinello (Bobby Moynihan), a spokesman for the Staten Island Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, and asked what it takes for a police officer to be indicted for homicide.

"Well it does happen, Al, but there are very clear rules on this," Dinello said. "The victim must not be resisting arrest, it's best if he's sleeping, and, uh, it helps if he's white."

The political skewering continued during "Weekend Update," as co-hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che lambasted a grand jury's decision not to indict the two police officers.

"It used to be you said you were racist to get out of jury duty. Now it seems like it's a requirement!" Che said. "These decisions were so bad that I might just stop avoiding jury duty. I might just show up at court and see if they take walk-ins."

Jost piled on: "Please, for everyone's sake, keep the cop trials out of Staten Island," the Staten Island native said. "We're not ready for these complicated modern issues yet. We still arrive in Manhattan every day huddled in a boat."

Joining them at the desk was Weekend Update "relationship expert" Leslie Jones, who documented her experience taking psychedelic mushrooms after joining a dating site for marijuana smokers.

"When I took the mushrooms, I talked to Harriet Tubman for like 2 hours," Jones said. "Have you ever been called a bitch by Harriet Tubman, Jost?" she barked at the bemused co-host.

Kim Kardashan (Nicki Minaj) rounded out Weekend Update, as she tried to give some context to Kardashian's skin-baring photoshoot for Paper magazine.

"Look at this photo. Do you notice anything? There's no background to the photo," she said. Then, as the background changed: "See, it was actually about about getting regular checkups from your gynecologist."

In addition to performing as Beyonce-as-the-Virgin-Mary in the "Jingle Ballerz" sketch, Minaj sang "Bed of Lies" with Skylar Grey and "All Things Go."

"SNL" returns Dec. 13 with host Martin Freeman and musical guest Charli XCX.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[30 Connecticut Holiday Activities]]> Fri, 05 Dec 2014 15:50:52 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/fantasy+of+lights_new+haven+.jpg

Holiday spirit is in the air this December as local events kick off the winter festivities. Here are 30 ideas of how you can get through the chilly months without turning into a Scrooge. Add your favorite holiday events to the comment section below!

Magic of Christmas (Old Lyme), Dec. 5 – Jan. 4, Florence Griswold Museum

  • Christmastime Teas (Dec. 5 – Dec. 20)
  • Sunday Holiday Arts and Crafts (Dec. 7 – Jan. 4. 1-5 p.m.)
  • Art/Bar Happy Hour – an evening of holiday crafting for adults (Dec. 9)
  • Snow Queen’s Christmas Crafting and Holiday Party (Dec. 13)

Lantern Light Tours (Mystic)
“Set on Christmas Eve in 1876, this play unfolds through five scenes in exhibits around the Museum’s 19th-century maritime village. Both young and old will enjoy seasonal delights that include a horse-drawn carriage ride, a spirited holiday dance, the beautiful glow of lanterns that light the way and, just perhaps, a visit with old St. Nick!”

Community Carol Sing (Mystic)
Dec. 21
Free admission with the donation of a canned food item.
Led by former Ledyard High School coral director Jamie Spillane and backed by the Museum carolers and a brass quartet

A Christmas Carol (Newtown)
Dec. 5 – Dec. 14
A unique telling of the classic Christmas tale of love, sharing and goodwill toward men.

A Christmas Carol Reading (Madison)
Reading by Jennifer Munro Dec. 6 at 7 p.m.

Santa’s Crazier Christmas, Nutcracker Suite, Christmas with the Celts (Bridgeport)
The Bijou Theatre offers a variety of Christmas plays throughout the holiday season

Deck the Walls (Old Lyme)
Nov. 14 – Jan. 3
“Work by Newly Elected Artists,” group show

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play (Sherman)
Dec. 5 – Dec. 28
Inspired by the film It’s a Wonderful Life.
Performed as a 1940s live radio broadcast in front of a studio audience.

Greenwich Holiday Stroll Weekend
Dec. 6 – Dec. 7
“Over 110 participating merchants offering holiday promotions and refreshments. Live Nativity featuring nine animals and Greenwich area churches, two different horse drawn carriage rides, horse petting station at Wine Wise, live music entertainment tent featuring outstanding singing performances, professional ice sculpture demos, the Kempo Academy Bouncy Castles, a food truck village on Greenwich Avenue, food trucks on East Putnam, Greenwich Arts Council holiday art workshops, letter writing to Santa and much more.”

Kent Gingerbread Festival
Dec. 5 – Jan. 5
“Gingerbread Houses of all shapes and sizes will be on display in over 40 beautifully decorated shop windows for one month.” Visitors can download a Gingerbread Manhunt Map and check them off as they see them.

Connecticut Trolley Museum Winterfest (East Windsor)
The trolley will travel through the Tunnel of Lights

Gingerbread Festival (South Windsor)
Nov. 28 – Dec. 13
Local artisans and bakers can make gingerbread houses

A Charlie Brown Christmas and Frosty the Snowman (New Britain)
The New Britain Youth Theater

Firelight Festival
Dec. 5
4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Firelight Festival - featuring outdoor fires, luminaries, roasted marshmallows and chestnuts, s’mores, hot cider and cocoa, pine cone ornaments and a reading of The Night Before Christmas.

Greenwich Reindeer Festival
Nov. 28 – Dec. 24
Take a photo with Santa and see his live reindeer

Mother Goose’s Golden Christmas (Chester)
A musical comedy presented by Madhatters Theatre Company.
Dec. 12 – Dec. 14

Christmas Open Farm Weekends (Stone Bridge)
Stone Bridge Alpaca Farm
Starts Nov. 29

On a Winter’s Night Holiday Tour – Jim Brickman (New Haven)
Shubert Theater
Hits include "Valentine,” “If You Believe,” “The Gift," “Angel Eyes,” and "Sending You A Little Christmas.”

Fairfield Christmas Tree Festival
Dec. 4 – Dec. 7
Visitors can stroll through the historic Burr Homestead will be decorated by local interior decorators and artists while drinking complimentary hot cider.

The Christmas Schooner
Connecticut Theatre Company
Dec. 12 – Dec. 21
“Tells the true story of a Michigan shipping captain who braves the deadly winter weather to bring Christmas trees to homesick German American families in turn-of-the-century Chicago.”

Fantasy of Lights (New Haven)
Check out more than 60 attractions that include animated and LED light displays

Winterfest Ice Skating (Hartford)
Free skating all week on the east side of Bushnell Park

Holiday Light Fantasia (Hartford)
A two-mile winter wonderland in Goodwin Park
Drive-through admission starts at $12/car
Open through Jan. 1

A Christmas Carol (Hartford)
A ghost story of Christmas
Nov. 28 - Dec. 28

Pay What You Can: Christmas on the Rocks (Hartford)
An off-beat collection of twisted holiday tales
“It's Christmas Eve in a rundown local bar. Expecting a silent night, the bartender finds himself mixing drinks for a parade of surprising guest - children from your favorite holiday specials - now all grown up! Tiny Tim, Charlie Brown, Cindy Lou Who and a host of other favorites pour out their Christmas woes in this delightful parody.”

Holiday Artist’s Showcase (Darien)
Dec. 2 – Dec. 24
9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday
Features unique and affordable paintings by 11 of the region’s most well-known and respected artists

Boston Pops Holiday Concert (Storrs)
Dec. 6 at 8 p.m.

Wizards of Winter - A Trans Siberian Orchestra Experience
Dec. 7
“Performing Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s greatest hits including: Christmas Eve in Sarajevo, Mad Russian, Christmas in the Air, Old City Bar, Queen of the Winter Night and others plus music from our own rock opera “Tales Beneath a Northern Star.”

A Darlene Love Christmas – Love for the Holidays
Dec. 13
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Darlene Love performs

Lamplight Stroll (Milford)
Dec. 5 – Dec. 6
Holiday-themed activities will take place from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, and again from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday.
Attendees will enjoy free horse and carriage rides, Christmas Holiday Carolers, the Christian Cornerstone Choir, Christmas Spirit of Milford Ghost Walks, Santa's arrival via train, holiday sing-a-longs, performances by the Creative Movement Dance Company, face painting with Jammie the Gentle Clown and more.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Target Employee's Black Friday Pep Talk Goes Viral]]> Fri, 05 Dec 2014 20:25:29 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/target+credit+card+breach+latest.jpg

Although Black Friday can be a stressful day for bargain-hunting shoppers, it may be even more difficult for retail employees.

That is why a Target electronics department worker in Westminster, Maryland, gave his coworkers an epic pep talk ahead of the shopping holiday, as seen in a video that has gone viral.

"They come here with bargains in their heads, and fire in their eyes!" Scott Simms shouts in the video. "We're more than just a store. This is a team! This is a family! This is Target!"

The speech has been compared to Gerard Butler’s in the 2006 war movie "300,” but others say it is just marketing scheme concocted by the company.

However, Target told “Today” that it wasn’t responsible for the viral video.

"One of our favorite parts of the holiday is watching our entire Target team bring the season to life in their own way,” the retailer said in a statement. “We have long said that Thanksgiving weekend is to retail what a championship game is to sports. Scott is clearly quite a team player." 

<![CDATA[Lia Sophia Closing Its Doors]]> Wed, 03 Dec 2014 19:32:44 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/LiaSophia11.jpg

The popular direct-sales jewelry retailer Lia Sophia announced Monday it will be closing its doors this month.

“We are so proud of building Lia Sophia over the past 28 years into an outstanding company that has empowered women, and whose jewelry has been a favorite of so many,” creative director Elena Kiam wrote in a blog post on the company's website Monday. “However, given the challenging business environment, we made the painful decision to wind down Lia Sophia in the United States and Canada by December 31, and cease operations by the end of February.”

Kiam’s husband, Lia Sophia CEO Tory Kiam, acquired the business from his father Victor Kiam. Victor Kiam, former owner of the New England Patriots, made a name for himself in the 1980s as president and CEO of Remington Products, famously appearing in commercials coining the slogan, “I liked the shavers so much, I bought the company."

Victor Kiam purchased the retailer in 1986 under its original name Act II Jewelry before renaming it to Lady Remington. Following the entrepreneur's death in 2001, the brand was acquired by his son Tory Kiam and his wife Elena. In 2004 the couple relaunched the brand under the name Lia Sophia.

"Most of all, we're proud to be a family company, and to see the names of our daughters, Lia and Sophia, on every box of our jewelry," the company's website states.

Lia Sophia sold its jewelry through a network of local independent sales representatives, relying on in-home demonstrations and a direct-selling approach similar to the practices of Avon and Tupperware.

An outpouring of messages to the company’s Facebook page from customers and employees expressed a mixture of shock, disappointment and appreciation for the products and jobs the company created during its operation.

Photo Credit: Lia Sophia]]>
<![CDATA[Yale Director Hosts "Night At the Museum" Film Screening]]> Wed, 03 Dec 2014 15:32:55 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/170*120/124950008.jpg

A Yale alumnus is preparing for another one of his projects to hit the big screen and is hosting a screening right here in Connecticut.

Director Shawn Levy, who graduated from Yale University in 1989, is hosting a special screening of his new film, "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" on Wednesday, Dec. 10 at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven.

The film, starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and the late Robin Williams, follows Larry (Ben Stiller) as he is reunited with old characters and meets new ones, embarking on a quest to save the magic of the museum, according to a release from 20th Century Fox.

This is the third movie in the "Night at the Museum" film series that began with the first one in 2006, followed by "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" (2009). Levy directed all three.

Levy graduated from the Drama Department of Yale University at the age of 20, and later went on to study film and the art of directing in the Masters Film Production Program at USC, according to the release. He is most well-known for directing hit comedies such as The Internship (2013), The Pink Panther (2006) and Cheaper By The Dozen (2003).

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is set to open in theaters on Dec. 19.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giant Gingerbread House Fits People]]> Wed, 03 Dec 2014 07:31:21 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/giant+gingerbread+house.jpg

Vermont's Woodstock Inn & Resort has unveiled a giant gingerbread house that towers above the rest. The creation of pastry chef Lerome Campbell and his team stands 9 feet tall from its base to rooftop. It's 7 feet long, and has ceilings high enough for most people to carefully stand up beneath.

"We have about 180 pounds of flour in there," Campbell told New England Cable News. "Confectioners sugar? I'm going to say about 150 pounds."

The gingerbread house was about three weeks in the making, Campbell said. It's mostly edible, but is built over a wooden frame. Campbell explained there is so much gingerbread — more than 350 shingles on the roof and 700 bricks on the walls — that it would need a sturdy wooden frame to bear the weight of the gingerbread, icing, and candy.

Campbell said he has worked on even larger gingerbread houses before. At a previous job at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida, Campbell said he once helped construct a taller house than the one in Woodstock. "I always shoot for the 'wow effect' in people," Campbell told NECN.

"I've never seen anything like it," said Robin McCluskey, a traveler visiting Woodstock from the Boston area. "It's just wonderful."

"There's no detail spared," added McCluskey's friend, Kate Brown, who was marveling at the giant gingerbread house's windows, trim, and flowerboxes, which are filled with lollipop blooms and shredded wheat soil. "It's just amazing!"

This mansion of the gingerbread house world will be up at the Woodstock Inn & Resort until the start of 2015. Campbell said the wooden frame will be saved for use in future years, as a base over which fresh candy decorations and gingerbread tiles can be applied.

The Woodstock Inn & Resort has a series of Christmas events and outdoor winter activities, like dog sledding, planned for the next several weeks. For more, visit the destination's website.

For additional information on planning a visit to Vermont during the winter, visit the website of the state's Department of Tourism and Marketing and Ski Vermont.

Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Tonight]]> Tue, 02 Dec 2014 12:08:56 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/228*120/capitol_christmas_tree.png

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas on Capitol Hill.

House Speaker John Boehner will light the Capitol Christmas Tree on the Capitol's West Front Lawn at 5 p.m. ET Tuesday.

This year's tree, a massive White Spruce, came from Minnesota's Chippewa National Forest and will be decorated with thousands of ornaments made by residents of Minnesota children.

After Tuesday's lighting, the Capitol Christmas Tree will be lit from dusk until 11 p.m. every day through Jan. 1.

<![CDATA[Foxwoods Ice Skating Rink Opens Thursday]]> Mon, 01 Dec 2014 16:25:32 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Foxwoods+external+photo.jpg

Foxwoods is celebrating the holiday season by opening a brand new outdoor ice skating rink and winter patio on Thursday.

U.S. Champion figure skater Sasha Cohen and Brian Boitano will kick off the event at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 4 with a three-minute routine, according to a release from the casino.

New York Ranger Dan Girardi and "Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Amber Marchese will join them for opening day. Guests can also skate with Santa, drink hot chocolate and admire the rink's 30-foot Christmas tree.

The outdoor rink includes more than 100,000 lights and is right next to the new winter patio, where skaters can warm up around fire pits while enjoying hot chocolate or toasting s’mores.

The Foxwoods Rink & Winter Patio will be open seven days a week through March 8. Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for kids. Skate rentals are $5 for adults and $2 for kids.

Foxwoods Resort guests pay $8 apiece.

More information is available online.

<![CDATA[Gillette Castle Decorated for the Holidays]]> Mon, 01 Dec 2014 15:29:06 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/gillette+castle+18+lead.jpg Gillette Castle is decorated for the holidays as it would have looked in the early 1900s. The castle in East Haddam is open to the public for tours on weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Dec. 21.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[NORAD Santa Tracker Launches Ahead of Christmas ]]> Thu, 11 Dec 2014 10:42:14 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/sb10069274b-004.jpg

Once you've made your Christmas list and checked it twice, you can log online to track Santa Claus as he delivers millions of gifts around the world.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, also known as NORAD, launched its official Santa tracker website and mobile app Monday.

The latest version of the NORAD Tracks Santa effort, which has been around since 1958, features new games and daily activities, including the opportunity to help name a new elf in the North Pole Village. The #NoradElf challenge was announced in a new video posted to the site.

Santa and his sleigh will have a hard time staying under the radar thanks to the site, which is accessible in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian Japanese, Portuguese, and Chinese.

Visitors can watch Mr. Claus prepare for his flight around the world on the day before Christmas, starting at 12:01 a.m MST on Dec. 24. 

Starting at 4 a.m MST that day, trackers can speak with a live phone operator to find out Santa's current location, by dialing 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or by emailing noradtrackssanta@outlook.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Winterfest Kicks Off in Hartford]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 22:08:18 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/winterfest2014.jpg

The holiday season is in full swing, winter festivities are kicking off in Hartford.

Connecticut’s capital is once again hosting Winterfest, an outdoor experience that brings thousands together for the holiday season at Bushnell Park.

“Every year Winterfest Hartford gets bigger and better,” Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra said in a statement. “Last year over 100,000 families enjoyed Winterfest and this year we expect even more."

Community members donned their ice skates and took to the rink after Monday evening's opening ceremony in Bushnell Park.

Guests can take pictures with Santa at the park's Pump House Gallery, admire ice sculptures, enjoy hot chocolate and peruse garlands for sale.

Free skating, skate rentals, and a learn-to-skate program held every Saturday are available throughout the festivities until Feb. 1.

Free parking will begin at noon on opening day, according to Eric Boone, CEO of the Hartford Parking Authority.

If you haven’t taken your child’s Christmas card picture yet, don’t fret! Free pictures with Santa will be available on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. through Dec. 21.

The Bushnell Park Carousel will be closed during Winterfest 2014, as it is currently undergoing restoration.

The public is encouraged to donate new or gently used hats, gloves and scarfs and bring them to the skate shack at the Bushnell Park skating rink anytime throughout the Winterfest season.

In addition, monetary contributions can be made online.

Skating Rink Schedule

Black Friday: 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Daily: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day: 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
New Year’s Day: 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m

For a full schedule of events visit www.hartford.com.

Parking Information

Free parking is available on Elm Street from Trinity Street to Hudson Street, or on Trinity Street from Elm Street to Jewell Street.

Parking is free on Nov. 28 starting at 12 p.m. and on weekdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 31 through Jan. 30.

Additional free off street parking is available after 5 p.m. at the state parking lots located on West Street and along Capital Avenue, which gives the visitors easy access to the ice rink.

As always, legal on-street parking in the city of Hartford is free after 6 p.m. on weeknights and all day on weekends.

Parking restrictions from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Trinity Street will be lifted from Nov. 28 through Jan. 31. Restrictions will remain in effect on Elm Street and no parking will be available on Jewel Street.

Additional paid off street parking is available at the ProPark surface lots located near Pulaski Circle.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Idina Menzel To Perform at Mohegan Sun]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 20:31:39 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/idina+menzel_1200.jpg

“Frozen” fanatics and Broadway buffs all over Connecticut will be happy to hear Idina Menzel will be performing in Connecticut next summer.

The voice behind Elsa in Disney's mega-hit, "Frozen," is scheduled to perform at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville on July 11, according to her website.

“I’ve been so excited to tell you. I’m hitting the road this summer! I can’t wait to see you guys!” Menzel posted on her Facebook page on Monday.

Menzel originated the role of Maureen in "Rent" on Broadway, and won a Tony Award for her performance as Elphaba in "Wicked."

News of her tour caused trouble on her website on Monday.

“You guys crashed my website!” Menzel posted.

Pre-sale for the shows begins December 3.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Find the Perfect Present: Gift Guide 2014]]> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 20:28:46 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/gift-guide-promo2.jpg
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Black Friday 2014 Details]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 09:36:13 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Macy%27s_Holiday35345.jpg

Get that turkey and stuffing to go, because Black Friday doorbusters are no longer confined to Black Friday. Retailers like Target and Best Buy are starting their Thanksgiving sales even earlier than they did last year—and in many cases, those sales will keep going for days afterward. Here’s how the biggest stores are trying to lure customers away from Thanksgiving dinner and into the checkout line:

Walmart: After years of ever-earlier sales on Thanksgiving Day, the world’s largest retailer has transformed Black Friday into a five-day event. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced Wednesday that sales will begin at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Walmart will roll out sales in stores and online on different categories of merchandise like home goods, toys, and electronics. “This year, we're blowing it out with five days of deals in store and online,” said Duncan Mac Naughton, the company’s chief merchandising officer.

Target: Target is launching its “biggest, most digital Black Friday ever” at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, with a range of deals over the weeks leading up to Black Friday. Target, which opened its doors last year at 8 p.m., is also offering free shipping up to Dec. 20. The biggest steal? Target is selling the Samsung Galaxy S5, regularly $200, for one whopping cent each (with a two-year contract).

Best Buy: In an attempt to one-up its retail competitors, Best Buy will kick off its sales at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, an hour earlier than the store opened last year. (Best Buy is even handing out tickets up to two hours before the doors open.) As to be expected for an electronics giant, Best Buy’s flagship deal is a 50-inch Panasonic TV for $199.99.

Macy’s: Macy's will kick off its Black Friday sales at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving afternoon, two hours earlier than its opening time last year. The department store's big deals, which last until Nov. 30, are focused on clothes, shoes, jewelry and homewares.

The Holdouts: Many retailers are bucking the Black-Friday-on-Thanksgiving trend. Costco, for one, is giving shoppers a chance to digest their Thanksgiving dinner, saying that its employees “deserve the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with their families." Nordstrom, Dillard's, Barnes & Noble and GameStop are also closed on Thanksgiving, but are planning Black Friday sales.

Photo Credit: AP Images for Macy�s Inc.]]>
<![CDATA["Laurel and Hardy" Fan Club Meets in Enfield]]> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 18:31:07 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/movie+theater+generic+RESIZED.jpg

For film buffs and fans of old school comedy, a “Laurel and Hardy” fan club meeting might be right up your alley.

The acclaimed comedy duo of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy starred in dozens of comedy films in the first half of the 20th century.

While their last film was released in 1951, they left behind a legacy that lives on today around the world via their international fan club, “The Sons of the Desert.”

The group derives its name from the lodge Laurel and Hardy join in the 1933 film of the same name, a film which was added to the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry in 2012.

The local Connecticut Valley chapter, known as the Night Owls, also taken from one of the comedy duo’s films, was founded in 1968 by television personality Hal Stanton who at one time hosted “The Wonderful World of Laurel and Hardy” for NBC affiliate WWLP in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The organization still gathers four times a year to enjoy a meal and screen classic Laurel and Hardy films on a genuine 16mm film projector.

Tonight the group will gather at 6:30 p.m. at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Society Banquet Hall on 93 Park Avenue in Enfield.

For more information on the Night Owls head to the grou's website.

<![CDATA[Criss Angel Pulls Off Houdini Death Escape at Foxwoods]]> Tue, 11 Nov 2014 22:37:47 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Criss+Angel+1200.jpg

Criss Angel was suspended upside down with a 50-pound weight hanging from a noose around his neck today as throngs of fans stood watching outside Foxwoods Casino.

The death-defying stunt, appropriately named the Houdini Death Escape, is considered one of the most dangerous stunts a magician can perform. The illusionist succeeded in carrying it out this afternoon.

"We are ecstatic that the biggest name in magic, Criss Angel, will attempt one of the most elaborate and mind-blowing stunts in history right here at Foxwoods," said Felix Rappaport, Senior Vice President & COO of Foxwoods Resort Casino, in a statement released before Angel's stunt. "To coincide with Veteran's Day, Criss has decided to dedicate this stunt to all veterans, past and present, and we are truly honored to take part in supporting our troops."

Foxwoods happens to be where Angel’s production 'MINDFREAK LIVE!' runs from Nov. 13 to Nov. 15.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Deals and Free Stuff on Veterans Day ]]> Mon, 10 Nov 2014 11:04:19 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Veterans_Day_generic_Image+1200.jpg

On Tuesday, we honor veterans and several businesses are offering freebies or discounts to those who serve in the military. In some cases, deals extend to family members as well.

Free Admission to Mystic Aquarium

U.S. veterans and active-duty U.S. military personnel can go to Mystic Aquarium for free through Tuesday, Nov. 11 in honor of Veterans Day. A military ID is required.

The aquarium is also offering a $5 discount off the already reduced military family rate to family members. Tickets are $15.95 for adults, $12.95 for youth between 13 and 17 and $10.95 for children between 3 and 12. The discount is on the general admission only.

Free Dental Cleanings

Columbia Dental will provide free dental checkups and cleaning from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday at their main office In Manchester at 483 West Middle Turnpike, Suite 300 in Manchester for U.S military veterans and men and women currently serving in the military. Patients will be seen on a first come, first serve basis and will be asked to show their military ID.


Applebees is offering veterans and active-duty military a free meal on Tuesday. Get the details on the restaurant’s Web site.

California Pizza Kitchen

California Pizza Kitchen is offering complimentary pizzas and pasta dishes on Tuesday for members of the U.S. military. Get the details here.

Chuck E. Cheese's

All U.S. Armed Forces veterans and active-duty military will receive 20 free tokens through Saturday, Nov. 15. You will need a military ID or proof of service, but no coupon is needed.


All military can get a free entrée at Hooter’s on Tuesday.


IHOP is offering free Red, White and Blue pancakes to veterans and active-duty military from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

Red Lobster

Service members will receive a free appetizer from Nov. 11 to Nov. 14.

Red Robin

Red Robin is offering all veterans and active-duty service members a free Red’s Tavern Double burger with Bottomless Steak Fries on Tuesday, Nov. 11, at participating restaurants across the country.

Red Robin will also make a donation of $10,000 to Wounded Warrior Project.

Red Robin Royalty is a year-round program that offers deals to veterans, retired, active duty and military spouses.


On Tuesday, Starbucks is offering veterans, active duty service members and spouses a free tall hot brewed coffee at participating stores. There is a limit of one per customer.

<![CDATA["Frozen" Ice Palace Opens at Westfarms Mall]]> Tue, 11 Nov 2014 07:27:59 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/frozen+westfarms+ice+palace.jpg

It’s still fall, but it’s not too early to be “Frozen.”

Westfarms Mall in West Hartford, Connecticut, has opened a “Frozen” themed Ice Palace that features characters and artwork from the extremely popular Disney movie.

The 30-foot ice palace has falling snow, a light show and other family activities in celebration of the Nov. 18 release of the Disney “Frozen” Sing-Along Edition on DVD and Digital HD.

Adults and children can leave their hand print in ice at The Icy Hand Print experience, seeing how they compare in size to characters Sven and Olaf.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to visit Santa Claus, have their photo taken with Olaf at the Ice Throne and use a “Look-and-Find” book.

The experience will be open through Dec. 24.

Visitors will also be able to buy “Frozen” merchandise.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[George Takei Coming to UConn]]> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 17:07:17 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP192376853935.jpg

George Takei is heading to UConn and will appear at the Joegensen Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday.

Takei, who best known for his role as Mr. Sulu in Star Trek, developed and is the star of the upcoming Broadway musical Allegiance, which follows the story of the Kimura family after the attack on Pearl Harbor as they are relocated from their farm in Salinas, California to the Heart Mountain internment camp in the rural plains of Wyoming.

It is set during the Japanese American internment of World War II and was inspired by a time in American history that affected his own family.

Takei, born in Los Angeles, California, and his family were placed in United States internment camps along with 120,000 other Japanese Americans and he spent most of his childhood at Camp Rohwer in the swamps of Arkansas and at Camp Tule Lake in northern California. At the end of the war, Takei’s family returned to their native Los Angeles.

This event is sponsored by AsACC, Asian & Asian American Studies Institute, Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, Student Affairs, CLAS, Neag School of Education, Global Affairs, UConn Alumni Association, Community Outreach, Leadership Office, Residential Life, Rainbow Center, Puerto Rican Latin American Cultural Center, Women's Center and the African American Cultural Center.

Now a community activist, Takei serves as chair of the council of governors of East West Players. He is also a member of the Human Rights Campaign.

Takei is also the host of YouTube series Takei’s Take and the subject of To Be Takei, a documentary on his life and career.

General admission tickets are $25. They are available by phone, in person at the box office or online. You can order tickets here. https://itkt.choicecrm.net/templates/UCJC/
UConn students must pick up tickets in person at the box office for one free general admission ticket. There are no phone or online sales for UConn students, but you must show and ID.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Must Haves for Fall Fashion]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:22:13 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Must_Haves_for_Fall_Fashion_1200x675_349976131934.jpg The season is changing and here are some tips for what's hot this season. ]]> <![CDATA[Dunkin' Donuts Joins "Cronut" Craze]]> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 10:26:22 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/cronut-dunkin-donuts.jpg

Dunkin’ Donuts is joining the Cronut madness, adding a croissant-doughnut hybrid to its own menus.

The company introduced what it's calling a Croissant Donut beginning Nov. 3.

The Cronut craze began last year when Dominique Ansel unveiled the flaky treat at a SoHo bakery in New York City. High demand, which has continued with lines stretching down the street, has inspired multiple knockoffs. 

Dunkin’ Donuts' new treat, like the Cronut, will fuse two favorite bakery items, the croissant and the doughnut. It will have 24 layers of buttery dough, will be crisp on the outside and soft and flaky on the inside, and will be covered in sweet glaze similar to the one used on glazed donuts and Munchkins.

Dunkin's version of the flaky pastry fusion, which the chain doesn't want people to call a "cronut," will cost $2.49 each. That's half the price of Dominique Ansel’s Cronut, but a bit more than the doughnuts the company already sells.

The Croissant Donut will come in its own white Dunkin’ Donuts-labeled box with a clear window, similar to the Cronut, which comes in a yellow gift box.

More than 7,900 Dunkin’ Donuts locations across the country will make limited quantities of Croissant Donuts each day for a limited time.

Dunkin's take on the Cronut is that latest of numerous imitations by bakers around the world, including other big chains that also want to cash in on the trend. Jack in the Box came out with a Croissant Donut this summer, and Crumbs Bake Shop also introduced their version called the "Crumbnut" last year.

Photo Credit: Dunkin' Donuts]]>
<![CDATA[Join Us for A Halloween Party in Hartford on Thursday]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 14:03:32 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/halloween_generic.jpg

Come celebrate Halloween with us at NIXS at 40 Front Street in Hartford on Thursday, October 30.

Admission is FREE, and you can enjoy food specials, raffle prizes, costume contests and more.

You'll even have the chance to win two FREE tickets to Jimmy Fallon or Seth Meyers.

Doors open at 7 p.m., so join us if you dare!

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Check Out "Nature's Best Photography"]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 11:23:20 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/1GrandPrize_TinManLee%281%29+copy.jpg Washington, D.C.'s National Museum of Natural History's annual "Nature's Best Photography" exhibition showcases 60 large-format prints of this year's most breathtaking nature photography. More than 20,000 entries from 50 countries compete for the prestigious recognition. See all winners here.

Photo Credit: Tin Man Lee]]>
<![CDATA[Why You May Spot Teal Pumpkins This Halloween]]> Sat, 25 Oct 2014 14:36:55 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/NC-teal-pumpkins.jpg

Halloween can be a challenge for parents of trick-or-treaters with food allergies.

Screening candy can be difficult and some children may feel singled out because they receive less than their friends.

However, the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) group has started a new campaign called the “Teal Pumpkin Project” that recommends giving out non-food treats and letting other families know by painting a pumpkin teal and placing it on porches.

Possible non-food treats include: glow bracelets, pencils, vampire teeth, mini notepads, and playing cards. You can see more on FARE’s website.

“Food allergies are potentially life-threatening. When we are looking at a Halloween celebration, it is really nice to provide something that is safe,” FARE spokeswoman Veronica LaFemina told Today. She noted that one in 13 children in the United States has a food allergy.

In a post on FARE’s blog, the campaign said that it has reached nearly 5 million people on Facebook. The hashtag #TealPumpkinProject is also filled with photos from many Twitter users embracing the campaign.

Here is some of what people have shared:

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Renee Zellweger's Connecticut Estate's on the Market]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:48:43 -0500 back in the news and so is her Pomfret, Connecticut estate. The property had been listed with Coldwell Banker, but now it's listed for $1.6 million LandVest, according to E!. Click through the photo gallery to take a tour of Zellweger's renovated pad, which is the next property to leave her real estate portfolio. View the listing.]]> back in the news and so is her Pomfret, Connecticut estate. The property had been listed with Coldwell Banker, but now it's listed for $1.6 million LandVest, according to E!. Click through the photo gallery to take a tour of Zellweger's renovated pad, which is the next property to leave her real estate portfolio. View the listing.]]> http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP308970728575.jpg Renee Zellweger is back in the news and her Pomfret, Connecticut, state is on the market again. The property had been listed with Coldwell Banker, but now it's listed for $1.6 million LandVest, according to E!. Click through the photo gallery to take a tour of Zellweger's renovated pad, which is the next property to leave her real estate portfolio. View the listing.

Photo Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Psychic Medium Matt Fraser Holds Local Events]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:00:19 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Psychic_Medium_Matt_Fraser_Holds_Local_Events_1200x675_346353219875.jpg Matt Fraser, a psychic medium, is on tour and has some live events at Manchester Community College, in Derby and at Foxwoods. ]]> <![CDATA[Quiz: How Pumpkin Savvy Are You?]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 09:47:41 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/pumpkin-177531910.jpg

With fall upon us and Halloween fast approaching, it's high season for all things pumpkin. You may sip pumpkin spice lattes with the best of them or carve a mean jack-o'-lantern, but how well do you really know the seasonal staple? Test your knowledge in this interactive quiz.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[New Haven to Host Wine Tasting, Shopping Event]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:20:17 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/wine-glass-generic.jpg

The city of New Haven will host “Flights of Fancy” on Thursday, a special wine tasting and shopping event at The Shops at Yale.

For $20, attendees will receive an exclusive event wine glass and will help support local businesses offering free in-store wine tastings courtesy of The Wine Thief, live music and special discounts and giveaways.

Free validated parking will be available at The York Street Garage at 150 York Street.

At the end of the event, guests will head to The Study at Yale Hotel for complimentary dessert provided by Insomnia Cookies and Willoughby’s coffee.

Multiple retailers, including Barnes & Noble – The Yale Bookstore, Shen, Campus Customs, Wave Gallery, Raggs and Oaxaca Kitchen will participate.

Those interested can register online until 11 p.m. Oct 22, or in person from 4-7 p.m. the day of the event at The Study at Yale Hotel on Chapel Street. The event is limited to the first 700 participants.

More information is available online.

<![CDATA[Johnny Damon Coming to Hartford]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:04:27 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Phillies-Should-Consider-Johnny-Damon.jpg

Johnny Damon is part of a small group to win World Series with both the Red Sox and Yankees, and he is coming to Hartford this week for a YMCA fundraising event.

Damon, who established a charitable foundation and serves as a spokesman for the Wounded Warrior Project, will be the honored guest and speaker at the YMCA celebrates champions event on Thursday night at the Connecticut Convention Center.

This is the signature fundraising event for the YMCA of Greater Hartford, which supports the annual campaign and “Read to Success.”

Tickets are $200 a piece or $2,000 for a table of 10.

The VIP reception is at 6:30 p.m., while the general reception gets underway at 6:45 p.m. and the program starts at 7 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Halloween Events ]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:28:11 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/halloween_generic.jpg

There are several Halloween events across the state. 

Fairfield County

Bridgeport: Beardsley Zoo is holding its “Howl-O-Ween” event on Oct. 17, 18, 24 and 25, from 6:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. Activities will include hayrides, a haunted farmyard, magic show, face painting, and more. Harvest hay rides will be held at the Zoo every weekend in October and November as well. Tickets to Howl-O-Ween are $10 in advance and for members, and $12 for the public.

The Harvest Howl-O-Ween Spooktacular is being held at Black Cat Antiques in Bridgeport on October 25. This event will include psychic readings, authors, gaming and food trucks and an evening wine trail for adults. Admission for the wine trail is $40.

Fairfield: The Fairfield Museum and History Center is holding several lectures and exhibitions this month on topics including the Fairfield Witchcraft Trials of the 17th-century, the Hartford Witch hunt of the 1660s and an evening walking tour that explores haunting legends and folklore. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for the public. Pre-registration is required. For more information, visit them online.

Norwalk: Lantern lit ghost tours will be held at Mill Hill Historic Park in Norwalk on Friday, Oct. 24 and Saturday, Oct. 25 at 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 9 p.m. Order tickets online. 

Stepping Stones Museum
is hosting Monster Mash, a costume party and parade for families on Saturday, Oct. 25, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Register online

Shelton: Fairview Tree Farm in Shelton opened a one-mile haunted trail, brand new for 2014, for Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights in October. Their annual haunted hay rides have begun as well, for Friday and Saturday nights in October. Admission is $16 or $26 for a haunted hayride and haunted trail combo ticket. No reservations are necessary.

Stamford: Haunted Illusions by David Caserta is coming to The Palace in downtown Stamford. The show is full of magic and comedy and is fun for the whole family. Order tickets online at

Kids can trick-or-treat at Heckscher Farm
in Stamford on Oct. 26, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Clues will be given out to lead families around to the different trick-or-treat stations. Live reptiles and bugs, a slime table and Halloween crafts will be at the Farm as well. Tickets are $10, $8 for seniors, $6 for students, and $5 for children.

Stratford: A zombie Halloween party is being held at the Stratford Public Library on Oct. 23, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. for children ages 7 through 12. Activities will include zombie games and trick-or-treating around the library.

Trumbull: Trumbull’s second annual Halloween Blaze
is taking place on Saturday, Oct. 25, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event will have a town-wide Jack O’ Lantern contest, haunted history storytellers, face painting, and refreshments. Costumes are encouraged. Admission is $5 or free to anyone who donates a carved pumpkin for display.

Ridgefield: Families can trick-or-treat and pose in their costumes for pictures at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield on Oct. 31, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event is free to the public.

Hartford County

Bristol: Lake Compounce is holding its annual Haunted Graveyard on Fridays and Saturdays in October from dusk to midnight, and on Sundays from dusk to 10 p.m. Attractions include haunted houses, trails, a haunted graveyard and 17 operating adult rides. Admission is $30.99 for the park and graveyard, or $23.99 for the graveyard or park only.

East Windsor: The Connecticut Trolley Museum is running its Rails to the Darkside, where families can board a trolley cartand take a ride into the night. The event will run Fridays and Saturdays in October from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $16.


Old Wethersfield: Lantern light tours will be held October 17 and 18 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., starting at the Keeney Memorial Cultural Center on Main Street. Each tour will last about an hour and will take guests through the Main Street neighborhood, stopping at houses and gravesites to encounter spirits from the past. Tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for children.

West Simsbury: Visit Flamig Farm for their Halloween Hayrides on the weekend of October 17-18 and 24-25. To order tickets, visit them online.

West Hartford: The tenth annual West Hartford Hauntings will be held at North Cemetery on North Main Street in West Hartford. These lantern-lit tours will include encounters with deceased tour guides. The tours will be held from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. on the weekends of October 17 & 18 and 24 & 25. Admission is $13 for adults and $9 for those under 17.

Westmoor Park’s Country Pumpkin Festival will be on Saturday, October 18 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will have tractor and horse-drawn hayrides, face painting, farm animals, hot apple cider, and more. The Festival is free to the public.

Canton: The annual Hobgoblin Fair will be held at the Roaring Brook Nature Center on Saturday, October 25 from 10 a.m. to noon, and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The event is suitable for children, ages 3 to 8, and will include their “track-or-treat” walk, crafts, cupcake decorating, face painting, food, and more. Pre-registration with payment is required. Registration forms can be found online at

Collinsville: The 21st annual Collinsville Halloween Parade will be held on Saturday, October 25 on Main Street. All those who wish to join should gather at the Canton Historical Museum at 6:30 p.m. for pre-parade events. The parade will follow at 7 p.m., with judges searching for the scariest, most original and funniest costumes of the night. The parade is free to the public.

Windsor: Nightmare on Broad Street will take place on Friday, October 31, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. near the Town Green. Visitors can go on a hayride, trick-or-treat at local businesses, and watch performances including “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown”. The event is free to the public.

New Britain: The New Britain Museum of American Art is holding its 8th annual Museum After Dark costume party on October 31 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. This 21+ event will be a night of art, music, dancing, and drinks. Tickets are $20 for Museum members and $25 for non-members. Admission includes beer, wine, and entrance into the galleries.

Litchfield County

Danbury: The 22nd annual Halloween on the Green will be held on Saturday, November 1. Visit them online for more details

Kent: The 38th annual Kent Pumpkin Run will be held on October 26. The 5-mile run/walk starts at noon, starting and finishing at Kent Green in front of the Town Hall. A post-race party will include music, refreshments, face painting and more. Register online.

Litchfield: A retelling of Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” will take place at the Tapping Reeve House on Sunday, October 5 at 1 p.m. Admission is $5 for members, $10 for individual non-members, and $15 for families.

Thomaston: Families can take a ride on the Naugatuck Railroad from the Thomaston station out to the Pumpkin Patch where children can pick a pumpkin to bring back. Rides will take place on October 11 and 12, 18 & 19 and 25 & 26. Train rides last 80 minutes and depart the station at noon and 2 p.m. Tickets are $17 and $15 for seniors and children.

Torrington: Torrington Library is hosting several Halloween events during the month of October. These events include Spooky BINGO, Ghost Story Night, a Halloween party and more. Visit their website for more details.

Woodbury: The Woodbury Lions Club is hosting its 24th annual haunted hayride and haunted barn. The event is taking place on the weekends of October 17 & 18 and 24 & 25 at 7 p.m. at Mitchell School in Woodbury. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children under 10. A children’s hayride will take place on October 18 at 1 p.m. Tickets for the children’s hayride are $3 for kids and $4 for adults and all children will receive a free pumpkin.

Washington: The 7th annual Washington Green Cemetery Tour will take place on Friday, October 24, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tours will take visitors on a quarter mile trip through the cemetery to visit its deceased members and hear their stories. Tours leave from the Museum in groups of 15 people every 10 minutes and each tour lasts about 45 minutes. Guests are asked to dress warmly and bring a flashlight. The event is free to the public.

Middlesex County

East Haddam: The Trick or ‘Tini event will be held at Goodspeed Opera House on Oct. 31 at 7:30 p.m. For $47, guests can enjoy a ticket to the evening show and a specialty martini.

Middletown: Halloween-Themed Zip Line Tours will take place on Oct. 17 and Nov. 2 at 6:30 p.m., with Friday and Saturday tours also at 7:30 p.m. at the Empower Leadership Sports & Adventure Center. Soar through the trees under the stars on zip rides, then roast marshmallows over a campfire and drink complimentary hot chocolate with your guides. For $72, participants will enjoy gliding on five zip lines ranging from 200 to over 650 feet. Space is limited so make sure to reserve your spot!

The Wadsworth Mansion will be holding a Halloween Costume Bash on Oct. 31 from 7 p.m. to midnight. Attendees will enjoy signature drinks, dancing, a photo booth, fortune telling and more. Tickets are available only in advance for $40 and open to ages 21 and up.

Old Saybrook: Bring the whole family to the Saybrook Point Inn & Spa’s first annual “Pumpkins on the Point” event. This pumpkin festival features more than 350 locally grown, hand-carved pumpkins lighting up the terrace and marina along the shores of the Connecticut River. Enjoy trick or treat trails, hayrides, haunted cemetery tours, farmer’s market, music, food, and more. Festivities start Oct. 31 at 4 p.m. and admission is free.

New Haven County:

Ansonia: Molto Bene will be hosting an adult costumer party to benefit The Boys & Girls Club of Lower Naugatuck Valley on Nov. 1. A $40 cash bar will be open from 7 p.m. to midnight.

Beacon Falls: Matthies Park will be hosting a Haunted Hayride on Saturday, Oct. 25, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, October 26, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Refreshments will be provided and a costume contest will take place on Saturday at 5 p.m. before the Hayride. Adults $5, Kids $3.

Cheshire: A Spirits Alive Cemetery Lantern Tour will be held at Hillside Cemetery October 17 and 18. For $10, guests will be guided through the grounds illuminated by 500 tea lights to hear firsthand accounts of the lives of the departed buried in the cemetery, conveyed by actors. At the midpoint of the tour, Cheshire’s legendary Witch Kye is given a voice to tell her tale. This event is made possible by the Cheshire Historical Society.

Milford: Pumpkins on the Pier is a family festival held at Walnut Beach on October 4. Starting at 11 a.m., families can enjoy kid’s activities, contests, antique and classic car show, crafts, and hayrides. The festival features thousands of pumpkins and a decorated and lighted pier too! The festival is sponsored by the Boys & Girls Club of Milford.

The Milford Center for the Arts is putting on “The Wicked Witch of the West: Kansas or Bust!,” a musical that follows the story of Dorothy and all of the beloved characters from “The Wizard of Oz” from the Yellow Brick Road back to Kansas, with a funny twist. The show will play weekends from Oct. 24 to Nov. 7. On Fridays, shows are at 7 p.m., on Saturday at 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20.

New Haven: A one-hour walking tour to view historical persons will be held at Grove Street Cemetery. Tours take place on Oct.  18 and 25 and Nov. 1 at 11 a.m. They are sponsored by the Friends of Grove Street Cemetery.

Woolsey Hall will be putting on a Halloween Concert at midnight on Oct. 31. The YSO orchestra will play a soundtrack consisting of pop music, movie soundtracks, and classical pieces to a silent film written, produced, directed, and starring YSO members. Tickets are $10 and only sold in advance in the Woolsey rotunda the week of the show.

North Haven: The Only Scream in Town is an event filled with five incredible Halloween-themed attractions, full concessions, and Gore Karts and Thriller Mini Golf during the day. The event is held October 17-19, Oct. 23-26, and Oct. 30 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Valley Service Rd. Admission is $10 per person.

Oxford: Make some mischief at Colonial Tavern on Oct. 24 from 7 p.m. to midnight. Enjoy food, snacks and dessert while indulging in a cash bar stocked with an Autumn beer selection and Halloween drink specials. A show featuring Cabaret, Burlesque, and magic will start at 8pm. Come for the DJ and dancing, stay for the tarot card reader, costume contest, and horror movie trivia. Admission is $25, or $200 for a table of ten.

Seymour:  Children are welcome to trick or treat at local business in downtown Seymour on October 25 from 1 p.m. 3 p.m.


New London County

Baltic: The Dark Manor features two haunted attractions: The Manor, featuring two floors of special effects and terror around every corner; and the Graveyard and Haunted Village, an outdoor attraction. Attractions will run Oct. 16 to 19 and Oct. 23 to Nov. 1. Admission is $22.

Bozrah: The Odetah Camping Resort is hosting Halloween Weekend, Oct. 24 through 26, where kids can enjoy the movie “The Haunted Mansion” and make crafts, paint pumpkins, play games, and participate in other activities including site-to-site Trick or Treating, a mummy wrap, and piñata. Admission is determined by length of stay.

Griswold: Spooktopia takes place on October 25, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. in downtown Jewett City. It is the 2nd Annual Edgar Fontaine Memorial Trick or Trunk event that includes Halloween themed food, rides, entertainment, and more. Trick or treating is provided for children under 10, and admission is free.

New London: The Hempsted Houses historian Sally Ryan and conservator Lance Meyers will guide the “Ye Antientist Burial Ground Walking Tour,” where people will be taken to one of the oldest burial grounds in New England. Tour will be held October 19, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5, but free for CT Landmarks members. http://www.ctvisit.com/historic-site/hempsted-houses/summary/1525

A Hempsted Halloween begins October 25 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Hempsted Houses. The public is invited meet the ghosts of six New Londoners, see New London’s oldest house, and make s’mores over an open fire. Tickets are $5, and free for CT Landmarks members.

Old Lyme: “A Wee Faerie Village” is an event in which visitors will travel the Florence Griswold Museum’s 11 acres to experience a faerie version of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” in a steampunk setting. It is open through Nov. 2. Admission is $15; $14 for seniors; $13 for students; $5 for members; and free for children under 12

Niantic: The Halloween Parade in downtown Niantic will take place Oct. 26 at 1 p.m. The public is invited to participate in a family-friendly event that begins with Trick or Treating at the downtown shops, followed by a parade at 2pm at the Hole-in-the-Wall beach. Candy and costume prizes to be awarded for the kids. Free admission.

Norwich: Christ Church School of the Arts is putting on a Halloween Silent Movie Night Spooktacular! on Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m. The silent movie classic “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” will be played on a large screen while accompanied by an organist. Guests are encouraged to wear their costumes and enjoy concessions made available by the church. Admission is $5 as a suggested donation.

Tolland County:

Coventry: A candlelight room-by-room tour will take place at the Nathan Hale Homestead on Oct. 24 and Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The tour will feature ghost stories and the unpublished and unexplained stories of the Homestead guide staff. Refreshments include beer, wine, cider, and donuts made on the hearth. Admission is $25 or $20 for CT Landmarks members. 

Hebron: All Hallows weekend will take place Oct. 25 and Oct. 26 at the CT Renaissance Faire, Lions Fairgrounds. A children’s costume contest will take place on Saturday. When the faire closes at 6 p.m., Halloween Knights begins. Sunday’s events include an adult costume contest and more. Admission is $17.

Windham County

Killingly: Fright Night on Broad Street will take place in the Killingly Community Center on October 31 and November 1, from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. For $5, the public can take a guided tour to see what could be haunting the Community Center building. Proceeds benefit KHS Music Boosters and KPRD.

Putnam: Great Pumpkin Festival on October 25 starting at 10 a.m., downtown Putnam will feature live entertainment, food, arts and crafts and games. http://www.putnambusiness.org/

Trick or Treat Street takes place on October 31 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.  in downtown Putnam, from Jade Garden and River Front Commons all the way to Union Square. Children can dress up and get treats from participating merchants.

Willimantic: Head to Jillson Square in downtown Willimantic on Oct. 31 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for Trunk or Treat, a Halloween egg flashlight hunt, Halloween music and more with free admission.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trail of Terror]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 14:19:32 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Trail+of+Terror+Photo+Edited.jpg The Trail of Terror, an outdoor haunted attraction, in Wallingford is open Fridays and Saturdays from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. and Sundays from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. through Nov. 1.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Goldy's Serves Last Breakfasts ]]> Sun, 12 Oct 2014 07:25:01 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/goldyslastdays101014.jpg

A New London favorite is serving its last breakfasts Sunday morning.

The doors at Goldy's Restaurant opened for the last time at 7 a.m. and the crowds are coming in for a last meal and to say their goodbyes.

The restaurant was established in the 1980s and a mother and daughter took over the business a few years ago. They are closing their restaurant after receiving an offer to buy the property that they could not refuse.

Sunday is about the food and celebrating the restaurant that so many have come to love over the years.

<![CDATA[Chick-fil-a Opens First Connecticut Site]]> Sat, 11 Oct 2014 17:09:54 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/175*120/10814+Chick+fil+A+5.JPG ]]> <![CDATA[Thousands Expected at Hartford Marathon]]> Fri, 10 Oct 2014 17:17:38 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hartford+marathon+start.jpg

Thousands of runners will be heading to Hartford this weekend for the Hartford Marathon.

The NU Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon begin at 8 a.m. in Bushnell Park on Saturday. Wheelchair participants start at 7:55 a.m.

The course begins on Capitol Avenue in front of the State Capitol grounds and several roads will be closed in Hartford, West Hartford, East Hartford and in South Windsor. 

Some exits off Interstate 84, I-91 and Route 2 will also be affected

A 5K race will also be held. It kick off at 8:01 a.m. at Washington Street and Buckingham Street at the red balloon arch. A children’s race will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Elm Street by Pulaski Circle.

Event organizers expect 20,000 runners to participate in the road race, with an additional 40,000 to 50,000 spectators and volunteers also on hand.

Between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., exhibitors will participate in an outdoor expo at Bushnell Park.

Road closures will include: 

  • Capitol Avenue, between Oak Street And Hudson Street from 12:01 a.m. on Saturday.
  • Lafayette Street will be closed between Capitol Avenue and Russ Street as of 12:01 a.m. on Saturday.
  • Trinity Street will be closed between Ford and Elm streets, west Of Pulaski Circle as pm noon today.
  • Trinity Street will be closed between Elm Street And Capitol Avenue as of 11 p.m. on Friday.
  • Elm Street will be closed from Trinity Street To Pulaski Circle as of 9 a.m. on Thursday.

See the full list of road closures here.

A variety of local businesses in Hartford are offering special deals for Marathon runners and spectators.

Find a full list on the Hartford Marathon Web site.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Storms Don't Stop Lines at New Chick-fil-A]]> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 06:19:21 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/10814+Chick+Fil+A+Edited.jpg

Storms on Wednesday morning didn't stop people from lining up outside the first Connecticut Chick-fil-A in Brookfield 24 hours in advance.

Nearly 30 people were already lined up as of 7:30 a.m. yesterday and pitched tents in the parking lot for a chance to win free Chick-fil-A for a year. By midnight, 100 people were in line.

Those first 100 people in line who can verify they are 18 or older will win free Chick-fil-A for a year.

The restaurant opened this morning at 6 a.m.

The restaurant chain is also providing bathroom access, Chick-fil-A food throughout the day and security, as well as holding a DJ dance party in the evening.

The restaurant brings 80 jobs to the state.

Chick-fil-A is located at 156 Federal Road in Brookfield. Three other Chick-fil-A restaurants are slated to open in Connecticut.

A new restaurant inside the Danbury Fair Mall and a stand-alone restaurant in Wallingford will open Nov. 6, both offering the chance to win Chick-fil-A for a year. The restaurant plans to open a site in Enfield as well.

<![CDATA[Get Your Apple Fritters! Southington Festival Reopens.]]> Sun, 05 Oct 2014 12:16:06 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/appleyapple.jpg

Rain may have canceled Southington's Apple Harvest Festival on Saturday, but the Zion Lutheran Church still opened its famous apple fritter booth and many people braved the lines and the rain to get their hands on the popular fall treats.

But the sun is shining Sunday as the annual event reopens for its two-weekend run. The event, located near the Southington Town Green, draws as many as 100,000 people every year.

There are plenty of family-friendly activities including live music, entertainment, several food booths, contests, an arts and crafts show, carnival rides, children's activities and much more. The festival parade will step off at 2 p.m.

The apple festival will open at noon and close at 7 p.m. The festival will also be open 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 11 and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 12. The fireworks were canceled Saturday but are rescheduled for Saturday, Oct. 11 at 9 p.m. Admission and parking is free.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chick-fil-A Opens in Brookfield Next Week]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 15:13:16 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/185*120/chick-149652889.jpg

Chick-fil-A will be opening its first stand-alone restaurant in Connecticut in Brookfield on Thursday, Oct. 9 at 6:30 a.m.

However, dedicated customers can arrive at 6 a.m. on Wednesday Oct. 8 for a chance to will win a free meal every week for a year.

The giveaway is Chick-fil-A’s “First 100” promotion and a spokesperson for the restaurant said the first 100 customers camp out overnight to get their hands on the chicken sandwich Consumer Reports readers dubbed “tastiest chicken sandwich” in 2014.

Those living in specific zip codes, roughly within a 25-mile radius of the 156 Federal Road location, are eligible for the “First 100” promotion.

The new restaurant will create 80 jobs and is the first of four to open in Connecticut within the next six months.

The Wallingford location will open on Nov. 6 at 1098 N. Colony Road. and will also offer the “First 100” promotion.

Locations are also planned for Danbury and Enfield.

The Brookfield Chick-fil-A will offer take-out, drive-thru, free Wi-Fi, an indoor play area and enough room inside to seat 109 people.

Devon Scalon, the owner of Brookfield location, said she thinks opening the restaurant will have a positive impact on her hometown.

“I couldn’t be more excited to bring Chick-fil-A’s freshly prepared food and signature customer service to Connecticut,” she said.

On Wednesday, Oct. 8, the new restaurant will also host a new book drive to benefit the Brookfield Public Schools District between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

You can stay up to date on construction progress and grand opening festivities on the Brookfield Chick-fil-A's Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dress Like a Zombie and Head to Putnam]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 15:09:16 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Flash-Mob-Walking-Dead-Escape-1.jpg

First Fridays, a weekly celebration series in Putnam, Connecticut, offers arts, cuisine and shopping to residents and visitors. But this week, people are being asked to “Stroll your decaying body across our putrid runway for prizes!”

It’s a Zombie Fashion Show on Main Street. The event is free and open to all ages. Registration will take place on Friday at the Putnam Business Association table.

Also featured this week is a community arts project: “Tell a Story with a Mask,” for which people can build, paint and decorate paper masks and share folklore stories.

A puppet show, shadow show and carnival games will be available in addition to The Extraordinary Rendition Band, a street band comprised of brass reeds and percussion.

First Fridays take place starting the first Friday of May through October from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
For more information, visit Discover Putnam on Facebook or The First Fridays Putnam Web site.


Photo Credit: Facebook]]>