<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Dining, shopping and nightlife]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Sun, 02 Aug 2015 02:21:59 -0400 Sun, 02 Aug 2015 02:21:59 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Gathering of the Vibes Returns to Bridgeport]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 22:24:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/HeatAtTheVibes073015.jpg

The Vibes are back in Bridgeport!

Tens of thousands people are descending on Seaside Park for the annual Gathering of the Vibes musical festival.

"It feels like a really fun place for everybody who is involved," said James Dieli, a vendor from Peace Love Taco of Boulder, Colorado.

"It’s super crazy, but it’s like the best experience because it’s a nonstop concert," said Morgan Rakow, another vendor from Rhinebeck, New York.

The four day outdoor festival draws music fans from across the country, ready to spend the next few days taking in in a wide variety of acts, crafts and food vendors. The big concert is now in its 20th year.

"What’s good about Gathering of the vibes is that community feeling," said Dieli.

Given how hot it can get at the festival, hydration of festivalgoers is always a big concern. Organizers have about 7,000 gallons of water or sale and 100,000 pounds of ice on hand.

"We have big huge tractor trailers filled with ice and water and we have distribution on golf carts," said Jennifer Jennings, the event’s hospitality director.

Organizers say if concertgoers can deal with the heat, the annual event is sure to be a hit for all who attend.

"It’s kind of a trip to come back here and see all these people having so much fun. It’s amazing. I love it," said Ryan Wood of Ansonia, a vendor from the Gouda Boys.

Gathering of the Vibes runs through Sunday.

<![CDATA[Brooklyn Pizzeria Is Named Best in America, TripAdvisor Says]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 09:11:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/juliana+pizzeria+handout.jpg

A Brooklyn pizzeria has been named the top joint for a slice in America, according to a TripAdvisor ranking based on the quality and quantity of reviews and opinions from millions of travelers.

Juliana's Pizza, on Old Fulton Street in DUMBO, won top honors from TripAdvisor. Opened in 2012 by legendary Brooklyn pizza maker Patsy Grimaldi, this eatery tantalizes taste buds with its thin crust pizza that is charred to perfection under a coal-fired hearth.

One TripAdvisor reviewer raved, "The main reason why Patsy Grimaldi is an institution is because he does make outstanding pizza! After all these years, the perfect crust, great tomatoes, delicious mozzarella and toppings galore; try them all, you can't go wrong."

Keste, on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, known for its authentic Neapolitan pizza, came in at No. 4 on the top 10 list. John's Pizzeria, also on Bleecker street, came in at No. 10.

Overall, New York City was named the second best city in the country for pizza, behind Chicago.

Here is a list of the top 10 pizza restaurants in country, according to TripAdvisor:

1. Juliana's Pizza -- Brooklyn, New York
2. Pizza Time of St. Augustine -- Saint Augustine, Florida
3. Moose's Tooth Pub and Pizzeria -- Anchorage, Alaska
4. Keste -- New York, New York
5. Tony's Pizza Napoletana -- San Francisco, California
6. Pizzeria Regina -- Boston, Massachusetts
7. Antico Pizza Napoletana -- Atlanta, Georgia
8. Bill's Pizza -- Palm Springs, California
9. Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana -- New Haven, Connecticut
10. John's Pizzeria – New York, New York

The TripAdvisor ranking of top U.S. pizza restaurants is based on the quantity and quality of reviews for pizza restaurants, giving more weight to reviews written in the past year. Pizza restaurants were identified as those having a majority of reviews mentioning pizza, a minimum of 500 reviews, and at least 10 percent of reviews mentioning "best pizza."

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Grumpy Dog Earl Challenges Grumpy Cat's Reign]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 00:23:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/My+Name+is+Earl.jpg

The world’s grouchiest feline has some new competition. Meet “Grumpy Dog.”

Earl, a second-generation puggle with a permanent scowl and sulky expression, is challenging Grumpy Cat’s reign over sour-faced pets of the Internet. 

The 5-month-old beagle-pug quickly rose to fame on Reddit, amassing millions of fans across multiple social media platforms and becoming the subject of some hilarious Internet memes.

Earl’s owner Derek Bloomfield tells Yahoo! News that despite the pooches peeved appearance, he is very friendly and the “most relaxed, content puppy.” 

“The vet said he’s as healthy as any other puppy,” Bloomfield said. “He just looks grumpy because of his underbite, wrinkles, and dark complexion.”

Photo Credit: Derek Bloomfield/Christie Bailey
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<![CDATA[Selfie Sticks Banned at Six Flags Parks Nationwide]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 07:06:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Six+Flags+sign+generic.jpg

Six Flags has joined the growing list of amusement parks across the nation that have banned selfie sticks.

The company implemented the ban Monday at all of its parks across America, according to Katy Enrique, communications manager for Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois.

“We strive to provide the safest possible environment in our parks and these devices pose a safety risk to guests and employees,” Enrique told NBC Chicago in statement.

Enrique did not specify if any incidents involving selfie sticks had taken place, but said the goal is “to prevent such an occurrence.”

“The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority,” she said.

The move comes after news that Disney planned to ban selfie sticks at all four of its theme parks in Orlando along with its water parks and Disney Quest. The company also planned to ban them at Disneyland Resort in California and Disney’s parks in Paris and Hong Kong.

Officials warned that the sticks have become a “growing safety concern.”

The device has already been put on a list of “prohibited items” on Six Flags’ website, alongside monopods and similar devices.

The sticks have been banned at a number of museums, music festivals and sports venues, including Lollapalooza, Comic-Con and the Art Institute of Chicago.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Celebrate National Hot Dog Day ]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 10:36:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Crif+Dogs+Stock+-+Getty+Images.jpg

There is something about a perfectly grilled hot dog on a summer day and today just happens to be National Hot Dog Day.

Whether you like yours with ketchup, mustard, relish, Coney Island sauce or something else, there are plenty of places to celebrate today.

Head to a hot dog cart near your, or you could really go for it and take the hot dog tour.

(Yes – hot dog tour.) A documentary of the same name came out, featuring Connecticut as a hot dog hotspot.

The hot dog documentary features:

  • Blackie’s Hot Dog Stand, 2200 Waterbury Road in Cheshire, home of the famous homemade secret spicy relish recipe.
  • Weiners On Water in East Haddam, which happens to be a hotdog boat.
  • Rawley’s Drive-In, 1886 Post Road, in Fairfield
  • Super Duper Weenie, 306 Black Rock Turnpike, in Fairfield
  • Glenwood Drive-In, 2538 Whitney Ave, in Hamden, where the award-winning hot dogs are just part of the menu.
  • Capitol Lunch, 510 Main St, in New Britain and its famous meat sauce.
  • The Dawg House, 1360 East St., New Britain
  • Bobby’s Place in Niantic
  • Top Dog Hot Dog in Portland
  • Frankies – multiple locations: In 2011, Forbes picked Frankie’s in Waterbury as having one of the 10 best hot dogs in America.
  • Frankies of Watertown Ave, 700 Watertown Ave., Waterbury
  • Frankies of Reidville Drive, 464 Reidville Drive, Waterbury
  • Frankies of Chase Ave., 348 Chase Ave, Waterbury
  • Frankies of Straits Turnpike, 535 Straits Turnpike, Watertown
  • Frankies of Bristol, 1195 Farmington Ave., Bristol
  • Frankies of West Haven, 1151 Orange Ave., West Haven

Man vs. Food has made the trip here and indulged at Woody’s in Hartford for its Deputy Dog, which is covered in pulled pork and cheese, and at Doogies in Newington for the 2-foot-long Doogie dog.

Viewers also recommend Tomlinson's in Bridgeport. It's located at 140 Noble Avenue, in case you want to try for yourself, or Sonic.

If you live in Old Saybrook, head over to the Rabbit Hole Tavern and try a Jack Rabbit Dog. The Symba Dog comes with chipotle ketchup and grilled mac and cheese. They also sell a Ruben Dog, with Swiss cheese, Russian dressing and sauerkraut.

We can also boast that New Haven is home to Hummel Brothers and its many varieties of franks.

If you want to grill your own, try Chef Chris Prosperi's recipe for onions in tomato sauce.

Where is your favorite place to grab a hot dog in Connecticut and what do you top it with?

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's All-Day Breakfast May Go National: Report ]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 12:03:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/4707047541.jpg

McDonald’s could soon dish out all-day breakfast nationwide.

The Wall Street Journal, citing an internal memo sent to U.S. franchisees and employees Tuesday, reports that the fast food giant could begin offering breakfast all day later this year.

The Oak Brook, Illinois-based company began testing all-day breakfast in March in its San Diego market. The test was expected to expand to Nashville this summer.

The memo, sent by LeAnn Richards, a franchisee from Arizona who heads a task force studying all-day breakfast, told franchisees to be ready for the potential launch of all-day breakfast as soon as October, WSJ reports.

McDonald’s, however, would only confirm that the company is testing the possibility of all-day breakfast.

“Serving all-day breakfast is likely the number one request we hear from McDonald’s customers,” the company told NBC Chicago in a statement. “We’re testing it out in a few markets to learn more about this possibility. We know your mouth is watering, but there’s no news on this yet.”

McDonald’s breakfast currently ends at 10:30 a.m. in most markets.

McDonald's has long been the fast-food leader in the mornings, with its popular Sausage Biscuits, Hotcakes and other items pulling in roughly 20 percent of the company's U.S. sales. But the chain has faced stiffer competition in recent years, with competitors such as Starbucks and Subway rolling out breakfast sandwiches as well.

McDonald's, which has more than 14,000 U.S. locations, has also said it plans to step up its marketing of breakfast as it faces intensifying competition.

As for extending its breakfast hours, the world's largest hamburger chain is known for treading extremely carefully when discussing any tests or potential changes. Such matters are considered sensitive in large part because they would require the support of the company's network of franchisees.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Massive Slip and Slide Coming to Hartford ]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 14:05:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/slide-the-city-water-slide.jpg

Summer is heating up and a massive slip and slide is coming to the streets of Hartford!

Yes, you heard it right: a 1,000 foot waterslide will be set up at Bushnell Park between Jewell Street and Capital Avenue on Saturday Aug. 22.

There will be music, food, drinks and, of course, the chance to slide from noon to 5 p.m. Not only is this event a great way to get everyone outside and enjoy the community, is it charitable as well. A portion of the proceeds will go to Hartford Business improvement District.

The Hartford Business Improvement District’s mission is to bring about positive and lasting change by enhancing the economic vitality and quality of life within downtown Hartford. This organization hopes to create a safer, cleaner and overall better environment for Hartford.

So break out your bathing suit and sign up to make memories of the summer! For more information and registration: visit http://www.slidethecity.com/events/hartford/

The slide will also be in Stamford on July 26.


<![CDATA[McDonald's' 'Secret Menu' Not So Secret Anymore]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 14:02:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/167*120/51122973.jpg

The mythical “secret menu” at McDonald’s may not be a myth at all.

According to a McDonald’s manager who conducted a recent Reddit AMA, customers can in fact order secret menu items, but the items really aren’t that secret.

Reddit user OrchidHibiscus, who claims to be a manager at a McDonald’s in Glasgow, Scotland, said McDonald’s didn’t specifically develop a secret menu, but menu items can be customized into “grill orders.”

Customers can add or take out ingredients from current menu items to make them into what they want—including something off a so-called “secret menu.”

"Order one and the workers might not know it by name ... but if you explain what it is, and are willing to pay for all the ingredients, it's just another 'grill order' that we can make up," OrchidHibiscus wrote.

The user referred to rumored secret menu items like the Land, Sea and Air Burger, which is a combination of a Big Mac, Filet-O-Fish and McChicken.

A website called #HackTheMenu claims to have a list of “secret menu items” from McDonald's, including an “All American,” a “Big McChicken,” “Biscuits and Gravy,” and a “Chicken McGriddle.”

McDonald’s addresses the possibility of a secret menu on its website saying, “We have no secret menu – or do we?”

“Actually, our customers are pretty clever when it comes to customizing their orders with our menu items, so you may have seen some of their creations online,” the company wrote. “But we have no official secret menu of our own.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[It's Taste of Hartford Restaurant Week]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 14:09:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/vitos_640_480.jpg

Attention, foodies. If you're looking for a place to dine out the next couple weeks, you may want to check out the capital city.

Taste of Hartford Restaurant Weeks have returned for the summer and run from this week through Aug. 2.

Restaurants that are participating will offer fixed price, multi-course special menus, according to information posted on the Connecticut Restaurant Week website.

The Greater Hartford Arts Council is partnering with CTNow to put on Taste of Hartford Restaurant Week.

To guarantee yourself a seat and avoid the wait, you're advised to make reservations with the participating restaurants in advance.

Here's a list of participated restaurants:

  • Agave Grill, 100 Allyn St., Hartford : (860) 882-1557
  • Bear's Smokehouse, 89 Arch St., Hartford: (860) 724-3100
  • bin228, 228 Pearl St., Hartford: (860) 244-9463
  • Black-Eyed Sally's, 350 Asylum St., Hartford : (860) 278-7427
  • The Capital Grille, 44 Front St., Hartford: (860) 244-0075
  • Carbone's, 588 Franklin Ave., Hartford: (860) 296-9646
  • Casona, 681 Wethersfield Ave., Hartford: (860) 519-5590
  • City Steam Brewery, 942 Main St., Hartford : (860) 525-1600
  • Costa Del Sol, 901 Wethersfield Ave., Hartford : (860) 296-1714
  • Coyote Flaco, 635 New Britain Ave., Hartford: (860) 953-1299
  • Dish, 900 Main St., Hartford: (860) 249-3474
  • Ficara's Restaurant, 577 Franklin Ave., Hartford : (860) 296-3238
  • Firebox, 539 Broad St., Hartford: (860) 246-1222
  • First & Last Tavern, 939 Maple Ave., Hartford: (860) 956-6000
  • Francesco's Ristorante & Lounge, 318 Franklin Ave., Hartford: (860) 296-3024
  • Hot Tomato's, 1 Union Pl., Hartford: (860) 249.5100
  • Infinity Bistro, 32 Front St., Hartford: (860) 560-7757
  • J Restaurant & Bar, 297 Washington St., Hartford: (860) 527-7764
  • La Fonda, 269 Franklin Ave. #1, Hartford: (860) 296-8256
  • Laetus, 253 Asylum St., Hartford: (860) 216-1964
  • Majorca, 2074 Park St. #2, Hartford: (860) 231-1003
  • m&m Bistro, 315 Trumbull St., Hartford: (860) 240-7222
  • Max Downtown, Cityplace II, 185 Asylum St., Hartford: (860) 522-2530
  • NIXS Hartford, 40 Front St., Hartford: (860) 373-9400
  • Nutshell Cafe, 229 White St., Hartford: (860) 956-2836
  • On20, 1 State St., Hartford: (860) 722-5161
  • Peppercorns, 257 Main St., Hartford: (860) 547-1714
  • Salute, 100 Trumbull St., Hartford: (860) 899-1350
  • Sorella, 901 Main St., Hartford: (860) 244-9084
  • Ted's Montana Grill, 35 Front St., Hartford : (860) 692-1167
  • Trumbull Kitchen, 150 Trumbull St., Hartford: (860) 493-7412
  • U.S.S. Chowder Pot IV, 165 Brainard Rd., Hartford: (860) 244-3311
  • Vito's by the Park, 26 Trumbull St.: (860) 244-2200
  • VIVO, 200 Columbus Blvd.:  (860) 760.2333
  • Wood-N-Tap, 99 Sisson Ave., Hartford: (860) 232-8277

Visit  connecticutrestaurantweek.com/restaurant-weeks-ct/taste-of-hartford/ for more information.

Photo Credit: Vito's by the Park]]>
<![CDATA[National Junk Food Day]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 08:10:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Pez+Candy+Getty+images.jpg

There is a day to celebrate everything and July 21 is National Junk Food Day.

Whether you have a sweet tooth or prefer something salty, some snacking favorites are made right here in Connecticut.

Deep River is the home of Deep River Snacks, which makes yummy chips in several flavors to satisfy your salt cravings, including Ninja Ginger, mesquite BBQ chips, sweet Maui onion and more. The company also makes popcorn and tortilla chips.

If sweet snacks are more your thing, the U.S. headquarters for PEZ is in Orange. Check out the Minions collection.

The candy maker still offers the assorted fruit flavors you grew up loving, but it also offers chocolate, cola and sour flavors, including sour green apple, sour blue raspberry, sour pineapple and sour watermelon. 

Thanks for a Greenwich billionaire and his sons, Twinkies continue to be a staple in lunchboxes after a hiatus. 

Some might consider chocolate junk food, while others might consider it a crucial food group. Whichever side you are on, you can find good chocolate right here, including at Bridgewater Chocolate, Tschudin Chocolates in Middletown, Knipschildt Chocolatier in NorwalkMunson's in Bolton and many more.

The state tourism Web site even includes a chocolate trail to follow for a chocolate fix.

Connecticut is also home to several soda companies.

Avery’s Beverages are made in New Britain, Foxon Park Beverages are made in East Haven, Castle Beverages are made in Ansonia and you can find Hosmer Mountain beverages in Willimantic and Manchester.

If you want to indulge, but stay as healthy as possible, you can check out the list of USDA-approved smart snacks on the Connecticut State Department of Education Web site.

What’s your favorite snack food?

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Connecticut Athletes Head to CrossFit Games In California]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 15:54:57 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Team_Competes_in_Crossfit_World_Championship_1200x675_487559235765.jpg

The quest of the CrossFit Games is to find the “Fittest On Earth” and athletes from around the world will compete in Carson, California starting on Tuesday.

The elite field of contenders was narrowed down from more than a quarter million athletes to just dozens.

To make it to the competition in Carson, individual athletes had to first qualify and rank among the top of the worldwide Open competition, then finish among the top five in their respective regional competition.

This year, the East Regional competition – including athletes from the Northeast U.S. and Eastern Canada – was moved from the Reebok world headquarters outside Boston to the XL Center in Hartford and CrossFit Milford was the only Connecticut team to make the cut to the games in the team division.

Coach and owner Jason Leydon said the home field advantage helped boost morale among his athletes.

“To turn around and see that energy and to see them all go nuts, it just pushed everybody even more,” Leydon said.

Milford is also sending four athletes in the masters division for athletes who are over 40 years old.

One of them is Elizabeth Warren, a New Haven teacher and mother of three who discovered CrossFit after a knee injury sidelined her from marathon training. It gave her a new arena to compete, and, she said, a healthy example to set for her kids.

“I walked in the gas station the other day and some guy said, ‘Oh, you’re in pretty good shape’ and my daughter said, ‘That’s my mom! That’s my mom,’” Warren said. “She’s proud of being strong. I teach her all the time the importance of being a strong girl and a strong woman.”

And rather than dreading getting older, Warren says CrossFit gave her a reason to embrace it.

“Oh yeah I was waiting, I couldn’t wait to turn 40 ‘cause I knew this is what I wanted to do,” she said. “This was my plan. ‘When I turn 40, I’m going to try out for the Masters. When I make it, I want to go to the Games.’”

Warren and the other CrossFit Milford athletes have been training year-round for an event that’s largely a mystery – the CrossFit Games workouts typically aren’t revealed until right beforehand, meaning athletes need to be prepared for anything.

“That’s the essence of CrossFit -- being ready for everything and anything,” Leydon said.

Events could include Olympic lifting, running, gymnastics, swimming, calisthenics or more.

It’s up to CrossFit Games director Dave Castro to decide and to eventually reveal in the dramatic workout announcements. But as NBC Connecticut’s Heidi Voight learned at the East Regional, he doesn’t give away his secrets easily. She asked Castro for a hint at what was in store for the Games. His answer?

Simply… “CrossFit.”

The CrossFit Games are broadcast on ESPN beginning Tuesday, July 21 through Sunday, July 26. Follow the leaderboard at http://games.crossfit.com/leaderboard.

<![CDATA[PHOTOS: Adorable Pets From Around the U.S. ]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 12:51:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/MurphyBoxerWVIT.jpg Pet owners coast to coast have one thing in common: they love sharing pictures of their furry friends. Here's a look at some cute pets photos shared by NBC Owned TV Station viewers across the country. Help us "Clear the Shelters" on Aug. 15 by adopting a pet of your own to love (and photograph)! ]]> <![CDATA[$125 Caviar Twinkie Sold at SoCal Fair]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 17:10:48 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/203*120/friedcaviartwinkieoc.jpg

Picture this: An ice cream cone and a swirl of cotton candy and some roasted corn and a turkey leg and a funnel cake, all huddled around some conference table in some office building, madly discussing how their games can be upped in the face of the most buzzed-about edible headed for the 2015 OC Fair.

Hints: The foodstuff involves caviar, and it involves a Twinkie, and... there you have it. It's the Caviar Twinkie, and it shall be available at that famous purveyor of offbeat fair treats, Chicken Charlie's, throughout the Costa Mesa extravaganza.

The month-long OC Fair opens on Friday, July 17. 

Naming the Caviar Twinkie's price isn't much of a guessing game, though, if you know what anniversary the fair is celebrating. The midway-bright, animal-sweet spectacular is turning 125, and the Caviar Twinkie created in its happy honor is... wait for it... ding ding ding, you're right: $125.

All proceeds will be donated to the Children's Hospital of Orange County.

"The finest caviar" shall top the golden-sponge Hostess Brands icon, and judging by early photos, there should be a solid amount of the luxury item. The Twinkie, of course, shall come complete with its creamy middle, so perhaps diners will discover a new taste-combo sensation.

Will sponge-cream-salty be the next flavor trio to storm the gourmet world? Will everyone need to scoop the fish egg delicacy with a just-out-of-the-box snack cake?

You never know how trends start.

If the $125 Caviar Twinkie isn't your bite-worthy bag, Chicken Charlie's is also serving a Totally Fried Peanut Butter Pickle and Deep-Fried Slim Fast.

Deep. Fried. Slim. Fast. 

Part of the fun of the fair is not simply daring your friends to try something and then devouring and then returning for more. Surely there's a branch of high-brow philosophy devoted to the study of enjoying something before, during, and well after?

Philosophers, start with the deep-fried treats of the OC Fair, which get fans theorizing well in advance of the fair and long after the treat's been eaten. (During, maybe not so much, since mouths tend to be full.)

And for the Caviar Twinkie overshadowing classics like ice cream and cotton candy? We don't think the fair's tried-and-true favorites need worry; there's always room for a little more when it comes to memorable fair food.

Photo Credit: Chicken Charlie's]]>
<![CDATA[Thousands of Red Dress Runners Celebrate Women's Fitness]]> Sat, 11 Jul 2015 10:53:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Red+Dress+Run+for+Women+1200.jpg

For the 18th year, the Hartford Marathon Foundation hosted one of its most popular races. The Red Dress Run/Walk for Women attracted more than 1,000 participants to the Elizabeth Park Rose Garden on Saturday in Hartford.

"Today, for me, the most fantastic part is going to be my daughter's first race,” said Sarah Bourdeau, one of the pace runners who said she’d dreamed about bringing her daughter along. “I've been waiting for this day a long time. Just her watching and telling me she wants to be like mommy is special,” said Bourdeau.

Her daughter, Madeline, like many of the children who came to the park, participated in a Kid-K fit run with her mom, before the big race. Her favorite part?

"Running with my mom and she helping me when I run," Madeline said.

The Red Dress Run for Women not only gave mothers and daughters a chance to bond, but also raised money and awareness for charity.

"This race was really important to me because my mom passed away in February from a stroke very unexpectedly. So, we're out here supporting heart research,” said Jessie Gagnon of Manchester.

Her two-year-old daughter Hadley proudly showed off her medal after crossing the finish line of the kids run.

“I just hope this is the start of lifelong fitness and health for her,” added her mother.

Keri Jonas has made the race a tradition with daughter Addison, who's now following in mom's running shoes.

"She's my 12-year-old running partner and she's the best one ever,” said the elder Jonas.

Her daughter was pretty happy that the race was closed to boys.

"Boys do make me more competitive. I love girls because they're kind of underestimated most of the time. But, most of the girls can do anything boys can,” said Addison.

The focus on women is one of the reasons event organizers think the race is so popular, another is the location.

"Our slogan is great races and great places and this speaks volumes to why we use this as our tag line,” said Hartford Marathon Foundation Executive Director Beth Shluger.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Connecticut Vietnam Veterans to Be Honored This Weekend]]> Sat, 11 Jul 2015 09:58:10 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/0526115+american+flag+generic+usa.jpg

Members of the public are invited to honor New England Vietnam veterans and remember the fallen at a two-day event in East Granby starting today.

Connecticut's Vietnam 50th Celebration Weekend is scheduled for Saturday, July 11 and Sunday, July 12 at the Connecticut Air National Guard Base in East Granby from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“This event is designed to educate a new generation about the Vietnam War and the part it played in the lives of our friends, relatives and neighbors whose stories are the building blocks of American History,” Eileen Hurst, chair of the Vietnam 50th, said in a statement. “It is open to everyone – Vietnam veterans, veterans’ friends or families, and anyone who wants to come recognize the sacrifices made by our veterans.”

Veterans can mingle and reconnect with each other at a special Veterans' Gathering tend.

There will also be static air displays of a B-52, C-130 and other aircrafts like the CH-47 Chinook, UH-60 Blackhawk and F-15 Fighter Jet in Windsor Locks at the New England Air Museum at 36 Perimeter Road, according to a news release about the event.

The public will also be able to view vehicle and aircraft displays, see hands-on demonstrations, look at war memorabilia, take rides on the UH-1D American Huey 369 helicopter, hear nationally renowned speakers and authors address the crowds and enjoy the music of the United States Coast Guard band. The 55-piece ensemble based at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New is the "premier band representing the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security" is on Saturday, July 11 at 1 p.m.

Anyone who signs up to become a member of American Huey 369 for $100 can get a complimentary ride on the helicopter. Huey helicopter rides will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days of the event. Otherwise, rides can be scheduled and paid for on-site at the cost of $100.

People can also view "Voices From Vietnam" and Gold Star Families exhibits, look at photos of veterans killed in action or listed as missing in action and attend programs honoring soldiers who gave "the last full measure of devotion," according to the news release.

Events and activities at the Connecticut Air National Guard base are free with the exception of the helicopter rides. The New England Air Museum offers free admission to veterans and costs $12 for everyone else. $2 from every ticket sold will benefit the Vietnam 50th event.

Shuttles will be available to transport people from UTAS (Hamilton Sundstrand) at 1 Hamilton Rd. South in Windsor Locks because there is no parking available at the Connecticut Air National Guard Base nor the New England Air Business. The public will go through a security checkpoint at the base. More information on parking and security are available on the event website.

Central Connecticut State University Veterans History Project's Vietnam War Commemoration Committee sponsors the event in collaboration with the Connecticut National Guard, Connecticut Department of Veterans' Affairs and the New England Air Museum.

You can contact Eileen Hurst at hursteim@ccsu.edu or call 860-832-2976 for more information, as well as visit the Facebook page for the CCSU Veterans History Project.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Swearing 'Minion' Toys? McDonald's Says No]]> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 09:23:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/212*120/HappyMeal.png

A minion toy in a McDonald’s Happy Meal has some parents, well, a little unhappy.

The toy, based on the little yellow rascals that first appeared in “Despicable Me,” says three phrases - all of which are a bit hard to decipher. But some parents hear “what the f---" for one of them, and one angry parent posted a video of it to YouTube.

Footage of the allegedly potty-mouthed minion was posted to the video-sharing site Wednesday and some parents think the gibberish sounds a little too similar to a swear word.

“Originally we didn’t think anything of it until my wife was moving it out of the car seat and heard something didn’t quite sound right,” YouTube user Paul Butts said in the video.

“Seriously? Out of a McDonald’s toy?” he asks after tapping the toy and hearing the phrase. 

Butts isn’t the only one whose ears perked up.

Several parents told NBC affiliate WSFA that they could make out a “cuss word” when they heard the toy speak. 

Not every parent heard the word, though, with some saying they could only hear the word after they were told to listen for it. 

Several commenters on YouTube also said they couldn't hear the word. 

McDonald's said in a statement that the sound is a coincidence.

"We’re aware of a very small number of customers who have been in touch regarding this toy, and we regret any confusion or offense to those who may have misinterpreted its sounds. The allegation that this toy is saying anything offensive or profane is not true,” the Oak Brook-based company's spokesperson Lisa McComb told NBC Chicago.

"The Minion Caveman Happy Meal toy includes 3 sounds: ‘para la bukay,’ ‘hahaha,’ and ‘eh eh,'" McComb added. "Our goal at McDonald’s is to serve up food and fun for our valued customers, and we’re glad to have the Minions on board."

"Minions" stars Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm, and follows the evolution of the small, yellow creatures since the beginning of time and the numerous despicable masters they've served. The film hits theaters July 10.

The parent company of Universal Pictures also owns this site.

Photo Credit: YouTube/PaulB
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<![CDATA[Krispy Kreme Celebrates Birthday With 78-Cent Doughnuts]]> Fri, 10 Jul 2015 17:24:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/krispykremedonuts.jpg

Food lovers will be able to take advantage of discount prices this coming weekend. 

On Friday, Krispy Kreme doughnuts will be offering a dozen of its famed glazed doughnuts for $.78 cents when customers buy any other dozen doughnuts at the full price. The promotion is in celebration of the company's 78th birthday. The North Carolina chain was founded in 1937 and now has stores internationally. 

If that doesn't leave sweet tooths satisfied heading into the weekend, 7/11 convenience stores will be holding their annual "Free Slurpee Day" Saturday to mark July 11. 

Chick-fil-A is also joining in on the giveaways, but the chain's offer comes with a catch. Customers can get a free meal on Tuesday, July 14, but only if they dress up as a cow. The 11th annual event will celebrate the company's 20th anniversary of the "Eat Mor Chikin" cow campaign. 

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Iron Chef Zakarian Also Chops Trump]]> Fri, 10 Jul 2015 09:31:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/20150709+Geoffrey+Zakarian.jpg

Another celebrity chef has decided not to open a restaurant in Donald Trump's planned Trump International Hotel, which the real estate magnate is developing in Washington, D.C.'s Old Post Office Pavilion building. 

Geoffrey Zakarian, a restaurateur known for his Food Network appearances, announced late Thursday that he would not open a restaurant planned for the project following the Republican presidential candidate's anti-immigration comments.

"The recent statements surrounding Mexican immigrants by Donald Trump do not in any way align with my personal core values," Zakarian said in a statement. "In light of this, I am unable to move forward with a restaurant in the Trump International Hotel."

The move comes a day after chef José Andrés announced he would not open a restaurant planned for the forthcoming luxury hotel, citing Trump's remarks demeaning illegal Mexican immigrants.

The Iron Chef, who comes from a family of Armenian immigrants, echoed Andres' concerns, noting that his company, Zakarian Hospitality, "employs many immigrants from nations all over the world, and I look forward to continuing this business culture in my future restaurants."

"We are a nation built from immigrants, my family included," Zakarian said.

<![CDATA[George Takei Speaking at ConnectiCon on Sunday]]> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 13:56:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/takei_640x480.jpg

George Takei will be in Connecticut this weekend as one of the featured speakers at ConnectiCon.

Takei, who best known for his role as Mr. Sulu in Star Trek, should be a big draw for the already-popular convention, which features a wide array of pop culture -- board games, cosplay, sci-fi, comics and more, and brings in people from all over the country.

Takei will be here for a question-and-answer segment from 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. on Sunday.

ConnectiCon’s roots began to grow at the University of Hartford. In 2002, a group of friends involved in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Guild decided to start their own convention after taking several trips across the country to attend them.

Others guests include Sarah Lancaster, who played Ellie Bartowski in “Chuck,” Raven Moreau, in “Witches of the East End,” Rachel Meyers, in “Saved by the Bell: The New Class,” Madison Kellner in “Everwood.”

Several actor and actresses from the “Power Rangers” TV shows and films, including David Yost, Karan Ashley, Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy, will also be featured at the convention.

It event, held at the Connecticut Convention Center, as well as the Hartford Marriott Downtown Hartford Hilton, runs from July 9 through 12.

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<![CDATA[IHOP Sells 57-Cent Pancake Short Stacks for 57th Birthday]]> Tue, 07 Jul 2015 08:06:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/national+pancake+day1.jpg

In honor of its 57th birthday, IHOP will sell its buttermilk pancakes for 57 cents a short stack on Tuesday.

The restaurant's short stacks originally cost 60 cents when the chain was founded in 1958.

IHOP has locations in Bloomfield, Newington, Southington, Manchester, Hamden and Orange. Click here for the hours and addresses.

<![CDATA["American Idol" Winner Fradiani Performs for Fans at World Cup]]> Mon, 06 Jul 2015 11:13:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Nick+Fradiani+DD+6+1200.jpg

It was a beautiful life for the U.S. women's soccer team Sunday night as they defeated Japan 5-2 to claim their record third World Cup title at the close of Fourth of July weekend. But the players weren't the only American idols representing the United States in Vancouver.

American Idol winner and Guilford native Nick Fradiani is also living the beautiful life, known for his radio hit song by that name, most recently performing in the FIFA Fan Zone in Vancouver during the World Cup festivities on the Fourth of July, according to his Facebook page. His band, Beach Avenue, including percussionist Ryan Zipp, of Hamden, and guitarist/mandolin player/singer Nick Abraham, of Fairfield, backed him for the show. One of the songs they performed was "Beautiful Life," as seen in this YouTube video posted under the account, Elizabeth Rosalyn The.

Fradiani performed a free, three-song show for World Cup fans in the fan zone that was televised on FOX, the network that airs "American Idol." FOX Sports broadcasted the World Cup tournament.

His song, "Beautiful Life" was Fox Sports' official anthem for World Cup coverage, producing a music video featuring him singing and the U.S. women's soccer team as a promo for the World Cup.

Before Fradiani was crowned American Idol, he and his band gained national recognition for competing on "America's Got Talent," which airs on the NBC network. NBC Connecticut is an NBC-owned station.

Fradiani returned to Connecticut after his "American Idol" win to play some of his first concerts in Hartford at The Russian Lady for 96.5 TIC's Acoustic Cafe and Spotlight Theatres on Front Street, which hosted many watch parties during the run of the season.

Next, Fradiani will travel across the country to perform on the "American Idol" tour from July 7 to Aug. 28. The closest locations to Connecticut the tour stops at are in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire and Maine.

Photo Credit: Jessie Sawyer/NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[10 Things Deadheads Should Know Before Chicago Shows]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 22:39:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/0626-2015-GratefulDead.jpg

If you’re planning to say “fare thee well” to the Grateful Dead at Soldier Field this weekend, there are some things you should know.

The band’s 50th anniversary performance, set to be members' “last-ever performance together,” kicks off Friday as thousands of fans make their way to Chicago during the July 4 holiday weekend.

The “Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead” performance will see Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir reunite at Soldier Field, nearly 20 years to the day of the full band’s final performance, which took place at the venue roughly one month before Jerry Garcia’s death in August 1995. The band will also be joined by Phish's Trey Anastasio on guitar, Jeff Chimenti on keyboard and Bruce Hornsby on piano.

The event has made Chicago one of the top destinations for the holiday weekend, so fans will likely need to plan ahead.

Here are some things Deadheads should know before the highly-anticipated event:

1. Tailgating

Tailgating will be allowed in the parking lots of Soldier Field during the weekend, even for fans who don’t have tickets to the fest. The special event parking lots open at 3 p.m. and the North Parking Garage opens at 6 a.m. Tailgating will end once the shows begin at 7 p.m. and there will be no tailgating allowed after the shows.

2. Transportation

The CTA announced Wednesday that it would provide extra buses to routes that serve Soldier field throughout the weekend. The no. 130 and no. 146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express buses will have extra service running until one hour after the concerts end. Fans can also travel to Soldier Field via Red, Orange and Green line trains. The Roosevelt station is located at Roosevelt and State streets, a few blocks west of the stadium.

Metra will also offer extra service on several lines over the weekend.

CTA buses, cabs and Uber rides can pick up riders on Columbus between Roosevelt and Balbo. A drop-off location will be set at the 18th Street turnaround just west off the 18th Street exit from Lake Shore Drive.

For more on how to get around Chicago during the holiday weekend, click here.

3. Tickets

Most tickets are commemorative tickets but a select amount of Ticketmaster tickets are not. Fans are encouraged to be very suspect of counterfeit tickets.

Those getting tickets at Will Call can pick them up across from Gate 10 on the Southeast corner. You will need a valid proof of purchase to enter the enclosed festival grounds.

Tickets are still available on third-party sites like Stubhub. Last month, ticket prices were reportedly dropping.

A three-day pass on StubHub, once priced as high as $116,000, could be purchased for less than $500. Single day passes were as low as $195. The lowest priced tickets won't give fans a full view of the show, and all of the cheaper seats are located behind the stage, however.

Click here for more.  

4. Parking

Special Event Parking lots open at 3 p.m. and parking will be first-come, first-served. The North Parking Garage opens at 6 a.m.
Shuttles will also from the Millennium and Grant Park garages from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Parking rates are $49 for cars and $121 for RVs.

Lots close one hour after the show. No overnight parking will be allowed.

5. General Admission

Those with field-level general-admission tickets can begin lining up at 7 a.m. in the Stadium Green outside the southeast corner of the stadium.

6. Soldier Field Security

All concert-goers will undergo electronic wand screening and have all approved bags checked. Soldier Field will not allow backpacks bigger than 12x12x12, glow sticks, food, selfie sticks, strollers, camelbacks or companion pets. For a complete list of prohibited items click here.

7. The Stadium

The festival area opens at 10 a.m. at Soldier Field. Only ticketed fans will be allowed on the grounds surrounding Soldier Field.

Fans can enter the stadium in three spots -- one on the North side along McFetridge Drive, and two entry points on the South. Sidewalk areas from parking lots are the designated entry points to the festival grounds.

Gates open at 5 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m.

8. Refunds

Partial refunds are available for those who ordered tickets via the band’s mail-order system.

More than 500,000 tickets were requested via mail order. Due to the overwhelming number of these requests, the promoters changed the seating plans to accommodate more guests. As a result, some fans were moved to seats with a lower ticket value than what they paid.

Fans who wanted a full refund needed to submit the request by June 22. But those who still want to go to the concert can receive partial refunds to make up for the difference in ticket prices. Those fans need to mail in a request by July 20.

Click here for more details. 

9. Streaming

There are several options for streaming the performances at home. A YouTube stream and webcast are available for purchase each night and the shows will also be streamed live on Pay-Per-View and satellite radio. Click here for more detail on ways to stream.

10. Other GD Events, Places to Watch in Chicago

For a complete list of Grateful Dead celebrations in the city offering a live stream of the shows, click here

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Meghan Trainor Scraps 4th of July Performance at Mohegan Sun]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 21:44:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/455834846.jpg

Pop sensation Meghan Trainor has postponed her Fourth of July concert at Mohegan Sun, citing a vocal cord hemorrhage, according to the casino.

Mohegan Sun posted the announcement on its website Friday, along with a statement from Trainor herself.

"I don't want anyone worrying but I have had a haemorrage on my left vocal chord. The doctors wants me on complete vocal rest until they are healed so I have to postpone my first two shows in Atlantic City and Connecticut," the singer wrote. "I promise I will make it up to my Megatronz. I have never missed a tour date before so this is killing me. I love you all very much and want to get healed quickly so I can show you this amazing tour we've been working on. I'm so sorry to everyone who have bought tickets and made travel plans. I am truly sorry."

The performance will be rescheduled, although the casino has yet to announce a new date. Mohegan Sun will honor all tickets, but refunds are also available at the original place of purchase.

Trainor will still be featured on the "Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular" Saturday night on NBC since her performance was prerecorded, according to sources within the network.

You can watch the fireworks live on your phone or computer here.

Photo Credit: WireImage]]>
<![CDATA[Peas in Guacamole? Obama Weighs in on Twitter Debate ]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:15:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/guacamole-GettyImages-456804252.gif

President Barack Obama has a message for The New York Times: please don't pass the peas.

Into the guacamole, at least. 

The president joined the online masses piling on the newspaper on Wednesday afternoon following a much-retweeted story suggesting "adding fresh English peas" to the popular avocado dip.

The tweet sparked cries of culinary foul from users, gaining hundreds of retweets in the process. The Times' public editor even suggested that the backlash could rival the "Minnesota Grape Salad outcry" that hit after the paper listed the obscure recipe as a state favorite. 

When asked about the suggestion during an #ASKPotus Twitter chat Wednesday, the president suggested he'll stick to a more traditional recipe. 

First lady Michelle Obama, a vocal advocate of incorporating more green veggies into daily diets, has yet to weigh in. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Fireworks, Fourth of July Events in 2015]]> Mon, 06 Jul 2015 14:10:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/__TZ4A_vo_FIREWORKS_KNSD6PYV_1200x675_472963651872.jpg

Cities across Connecticut are gearing up for the 2015 Fourth of July Celebrations. Dates and times may change due to inclement weather.

Date: July 4
Time: After the baseball game
Location: Bluefish Stadium

Date: July 3
Time: After the Bristol Blues game
Location: Muzzy Field

Date: July 4
Location: Lake Compounce

Date: July 18
Time: Dusk
Location: Lawrence Field

Date: TBD

Date: July 3
Location: Darien High School

Date: July 2
Time: 9 p.m.
Location: Downtown Derby and Downtown Shelton

East Haven
Independence Day Fireworks-Beach Party
Dates: June 29
Time: 9 p.m.
Location: Cosey Beach Avenue

Independence Day celebrations
Dates: July 10, 11, 12 
Time: 9:45 p.m. on Sunday
Location: Town Green

Firework Display
Date: July 3 (Rain Date: July 4)
Time: 9:15 p.m.
Location: Penfield or Jennings Beaches

Date: July 3
Time: 9:10 p.m. 
Location:  Binney Park 

Date: July 3
Time: 9:35 p.m. 
Location: Greenwich Point Park

Fort Griswold Celebration on the Thames
Date: July 11
Time: 9:20 p.m.
Location: Fort Griswold State Park

Annual Fourth of July Parade
Date: July 4
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Poquonnock Plains to Groton Shopping Plaza

Community Picnic and Fireworks
Date: July 11
Time: Dusk
Location: Guilford Fairgrounds

Hartford/East Hartford
Firework Display
Date: July 11
Time: 9 p.m.
Location: Mortensen Riverfront Plaza in Hartford, Great River Park in East Hartford

East Haven
Beach Party/Fireworks
Date: June 29
Time: Vendors at 4 p.m., fireworks at 9 p.m.
Location: Cosey Beach

Date: Aug. 15
Location: Ashland Pond

Date: July 11
Time: 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Location: Guilford Fairgrounds

Date: July 3
Time: 9:15 p.m.
Location: Owen Bell Park in Dayville

Date: July 3
Time: 9:30 p.m.
Location: Madison Surf Club

Date: July 3
Time: 9:30 p.m.
Location: Manchester Community College

Date: July 2
Time: 9 p.m.
Location: Hubbard Park

Date: July 4
Time: 10 p.m.
Location: Quassy Amusement Park

Date: July 3 (Rain date: July 5)
Time: 9:30 p.m.
Location: Connecticut River/Harbor Drive Area

Fireworks Display and Celebration
Date: July 2
Time: 6 p.m. (celebration), 9:15 p.m. (fireworks)
Location: Old Firehouse Road

New Britain
Date: July 4
Time: 9:15 p.m.
Location: Stanley Quarter Park

New Britain
Date: July 5
Time: After the Rock Cats Game
Location: Rock Cats Stadium

New Canaan
Date: July 4
Location: Waveny Park 

New Haven
Date: July 4
Rain Date: July 5
Time: 9:15 p.m.
Location: Wilbur Cross High School Field

New London
Date: July 11
Location: 24 Eugene O’Neill Drive

New London
Ocean Beach Park 75th Birthday
Date: July 24
Time: Event starts at 7:30 o,n,
Location: Ocean Beach Park

New Milford
Fireworks Display
Date: July 3
Time: 9:30 p.m.
Location: Still Meadow on Fort Hill Road

Independence Day extravaganza
Date: Saturday, July 18
Time: Dusk
Location: Mill Pond Park

Fireworks Display
Date: July 3
Time: Dusk
Location: Calf Pasture Beach

Norwich Harbor Fireworks
Date: July 2
Time: Dusk
Location: Howard T. Brown Memorial Park

Norwich Harbor Fireworks
Date: July 2
Time: Dusk

Location: Howard T. Brown Memorial Park

Date: July 5
Time: 9:30 p.m.
Location: Orange Fairgrounds, 525 Orange Center Road

Date: July 11
Time: Sundown
Location: Rotary Park on Kennedy Drive

Date: July 4
Time: 9:15 p.m.
Location: Bayley Beach

Celebrate America
Date: July 3 (Rain date: July 4)
Time: After the 7:30 p.m. concert, around 9:30 p.m.
Location: Performing Arts Center at Simsbury Meadows

Stafford Springs
Fireworks display
Date: July 3
Time: End of show
Location: Stafford Motor Speedway
Fireworks display
Date: July 3
Time: 9 p.m.
Location: Cummings Park

Fireworks display, concert
Date: July 2 (Rain date: July 6)
Time: Concert at 7 p.m. Firework after sunset
Location: Short Beach Park

Tunxis Hose Carnival
Date: July 10
Time: 9:30 p.m.
Location: Unionville School

July in the Sky
Date: July 2 (Other rain date: July 3)
Time: 9:40 p.m.; gates open at 6 p.m.
Location: Henry Park

Date: July 11
Time: 9 p.m.
Location: Sheehan High School

Date: July 4
Time: After sunset
Location: Shepaug Valley School

Date: Postponed to Sunday, July 5
Time: 9:20 p.m.
Location: Holy Land USA

West Haven
Savin Rock Fireworks
Date: July 3
Time: 9 p.m.
Location: Bradley Point

Date: July 4
Time: 9:20 p.m.
Location: Weston Middle School

Firework display
Date: July 3 (Rain date: July 6)
Time: 9 p.m.
Location: Compo Beach

Fireworks display
Date: July 4
Time: 9:30 p.m. 
Location: Wilton High School Football Field/track

Windsor Locks
Fireworks display
Date: July 10
Time: 9:30 p.m.
Location: Veteran's Memorial Park

<![CDATA[ Travelers Championship Brings in the Green for Charity]]> Sat, 27 Jun 2015 12:57:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Travelers+sunrise+1200.jpg

As golfers were hitting the greens at the Travelers Championship on Saturday, others took a swing at helping the next generation.

Since 1952, the Travelers Championship has given $32-million dollars back to charity.

One of the organizations that benefits is the First Tee of Connecticut, an organization devoted to helping kids learn the game of golf, no matter their family’s financial status.

“It’s just really fun to come out here and play on the course with all of my friends and just hang out and have fun,” said program participant James Mullarkey.

“Golf, to me, is a way to learn about life. So, he gets to learn about life in First Tee,” added his father Jay.

First Tee gets great exposure at the Travelers Championship. Its headquarters sit right next to the practice greens.

“It allows us to tell the world what we do, how we do it, and how important it is for us to get the support of the community to make these programs for our kids affordable and accessible,” said David Polk, the First Tee of Connecticut executive director.

First Tee received the $10,000 Pro-Am purse on Wednesday. Saturday, $30,000 in scholarships were handed out by the organization to kids who might not otherwise be able to afford the program.

From the beginning, the Travelers Championship has been about giving back, donating 100-percent of the net proceeds to 140 different charities each year.

“Last year was $1.5 million and we’re on pace to break that record this year,” said Tournament Director, Nathan Grube.

Travelers’ premier charity, Hole in the Wall Gang camp, which serves 25,000 seriously ill children in the region, was also picked by the PGA in 2014 to be its national charity of the year. The grant that comes along with title will send 12 kids to camp.

“Events like this and organizations that support us are super important. All of our services are provided free of charge to the children and families we service,” said Beth Starkin, a spokesperson for Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.

Grube says non-profit organizations use the tournament to thank their donors, fundraise for free, and gain new exposure for their cause.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Branford, Danbury Postpone Fireworks Again Due to Rain]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2015 12:30:56 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/230*120/fireworks-772x350.jpg

Danbury and Branford have once again canceled fireworks displays due to the weather.

Fireworks originally scheduled for Saturday in Branford and at Candlewood Town Park in Danbury were rescheduled for Sunday, but have been called off again because of the rain. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton tweeted that there is no word on when the Candlewood fireworks will be rescheduled to and the Branford Fire Department posted on its Facebook page that Branford fireworks will be held on a later date.

CoventryFest at Patriots Park was moved from Saturday to Sunday, June 28 at 3 p.m. There will be live performances, a castle bounce and a balloon animal artist for the kids and fireworks at the end of the event. There is limiting parking at the site of the event for $10 and off-site parking is $15. More information is available on the CoventryFest website.

The East Haven 15th Anniversary Independence Day Fireworks-Beach Party was postponed to Monday due to rain and poor sea conditions.

Cosey Beach Avenue will close from Coe to 2nd avenues on Monday at 2 p.m. to make room for the food court. Any other road closures in the area will start at 6 p.m. on Monday.

Entertainment will begin on the beach at 2 p.m. and food vendors will start selling food after 4 p.m. The Sandpiper and Beach Head Restaurants will be open regular hours.

The Bronx Wanderers will start playing at 7:30 p.m. The fireworks will be at 9 p.m. on Monday.

<![CDATA[Enjoy Connecticut Historic Garden Day on Sunday]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 13:02:26 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-flowers.jpg

Connecticut is home to many beautifbellamy-ferriul and unique gardens, both public and private, and 14 historic gardens across the state will be open on Sunday for Connecticut Historic Garden Day.

These delightful places offer visitors an opportunity to explore a variety of garden styles and time periods.

Member sites host special events and activities celebrating their historically significant garden. 

Following are the gardens you can visit during the event on Sunday.

For more information, visit Connecticut’s Historic Gardens.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Selfie Stick Ban Coming to Disney World, Disneyland]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 12:19:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/94889901.jpg

Don't bring your selfie stick to Disney World.

Officials announced Friday that a ban takes effect Tuesday at all four Disney theme parks in Orlando as well as at Disney's water parks and Disney Quest, a gaming attraction at Downtown Disney.

Spokeswoman Kim Prunty told the Orlando Sentinel selfie-sticks have become a "growing safety concern for both our guests and cast."

Selfie sticks will also be banned at Disneyland Resort in California on Tuesday and at Disney's parks in Paris and Hong Kong starting July 1.

Officials say guests will have the option of turning in their selfie sticks for pick-up later, or returning them to their cars or hotel rooms.

The sticks have been banned at a growing list of museums, music festivals and sports venues.

<![CDATA[McDonald's Tests New Pork Sandwich]]> Sat, 27 Jun 2015 20:51:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/happy+meal+new.jpg

McDonald’s has a new pork item on its menu.

The world’s largest hamburger chain has debuted a new pulled pork sandwich in at least one Midwest market.

The McDonald’s of Northern Indiana, which operates in Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan, tweeted about the news Wednesday.

The new sandwich joins the McRib as another pork option on the Oak Brook-based chain’s menu.

It’s not clear how many restaurants will offer the new sandwich or how long it will be on the menu. McDonald’s could not immediately be reached for comment.  

Wendy's and Burger King also sell pulled pork sandwiches, CNBC notes.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am Competitors Include Lauer, Lopez and Colon at ]]> Tue, 23 Jun 2015 16:16:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/George+Lopez+001.jpg

Sports, television and Hollywood celebrities will be at the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell Wednesday to compete in the Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am.

Actor and comedian George Lopez, most known for his talk show "Lopez Tonight," five-time Emmy Award-winning TODAY show host Matt Lauer, former Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield, professional skateboarder Ryan Sheckler, NFL Hall of Famer and former New England Patriots player Andre Tippett, former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie, who played for the Chicago Bears, the Patriots, the Buffalo Bills and the San Diego Chargers, ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman, known for "Sunday NFL Countdown, NBA All-Star Ray Allen, who won NBA titles on the Boston Celtics in 2008 and the Miami Heat in 2013, singer-songwriter/guitarist and winner NBC's "The Voice" Javier Colon, a University of Hartford graduate, New England Patriots placekicker Stephen Gostkowski and NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace are some of the celebrities who will be competing.

Major players in UConn's sports scene will be participating as well, including UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma, former UConn men's coach Jim Calhoun, men's ice hockey coach Mike Cavanaugh, Athletic Director Warde Manuel and UConn women's basketball associate coach Chris Dailey.

"We're thrilled to have such diverse talent in this group of celebrities, along with several prominent members of the UConn athletic department, all of whom are volunteering their time to help raise funds and awareness for the tournament charities by playing in the Pro-Am," said Andy Bessette, Travelers Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer. "This event is always a fan favorite, as they get to see celebrities and PGA TOUR pros team up for a great cause."

The Travelers Championship, the first event in the PGA Tour season for the Northeast, runs June 22 through 28. Tickets are available for purchase online on the Travelers Championship website. All the proceeds benefit various charities.

Click here to see the full list of teams for the Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am and the tee times.

<![CDATA[50 Cent Heads to Bridgeport for Vodka Bottle Signing ]]> Thu, 18 Jun 2015 12:07:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP756088846853.jpg

When 50 Cent makes an appearance at a bottle signing for his vodka label, the crowds follow.

Curtis Jackson, aka 50 Cent, made a name for himself as a singer and rapper, but he’s also an entrepreneur and the face of EFFEN Vodka, which will bring him to the Brookside Discount Wine in Bridgeport this afternoon.

So, expect scores of people at Brookside Discount Wine and Liquor between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Jackson invests in the company, according to Syracuse.com, and crowds have been buying in mass quantities when he travels to do bottle signings.

There are several varieties of EFFEN Vodka, including original, black cherry, cucumber, Dutch raspberry and salted caramel.

If you go, share your photos with us by including @NBCConnecticut in your Tweets  or emailing shareit@nbcconnecticut.com

Photo Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
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<![CDATA[Groton Naval Lieutenant Competes on "America Ninja Warrior"]]> Thu, 18 Jun 2015 07:54:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/American+Ninja+Warrior+Natalie+1200.jpg

A local woman is using every ounce of strength she has to compete for the title of American Ninja Warrior. She is a Groton US Navy officer and one of the only women in New England who made the first cut.

Push-ups, pulls ups,you name it and Lt. Natalie Schibell has tried it all to compete for $1 million prize and the coveted title of American Ninja Warrior.

“I was sitting on the couch with my good high school friend and we’re watching the show and he challenged me to be a contestant and I couldn’t turn a challenge down,” Schibell said.

The environmental health officer created an audition tape back in January and trained nonstop until she finally got the call in April that she was chosen to compete in an “All Service Member” cast in June.

“June 5th were the qualifiers. They take the top 30 finishers, the ones who finished the course. If they don’t have enough finishers they take the next up to 30 who had the fastest time,” she said.

Preparing herself was a challenge in itself because the contestants don’t know which obstacles they’d be faced with. The former track runner and competitive swimmer tried everything: pull ups, climbs, kettlebells and one handed push-ups all to work on her upper body strength.

“You have no hands on experience on the obstacles. You see a tester run through the course and then when it’s your time to step on the stage that’s your shot,” said Schibell.
So did she make it to the next round?

“That’s all under wraps until it airs,” she said.

A binding contract kept her quiet but she did hint that this won’t be her last audition. If you want to see how she did, watch the American Ninja Warriors San Pedro Regionals episode which airs on July 6 on NBC.

Photo Credit: Jett McGurk]]>
<![CDATA[Tony Award-Winning Actor, Arts Patron Honored at Fairfield County Arts Benefit]]> Wed, 17 Jun 2015 21:00:39 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/James+Naughton+1200.jpg

Fairfield County resident and two-time Tony Award-winning actor and James Naughton and arts patron Elisabeth Morten were honored for their support of the arts in the region at the FCBuzz Gypsy JazzNight benefit June 5 for the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County.

State Sen. Bob Duff presented Naughton, who won Tonys for his roles in "City of Angels" and "Chicago" and Morten, a former Cultural Alliance president, with a legislative citation acknowledging their arts advocacy in Fairfield County.

 Duff said it was his privilege "to honor two great people I've come to know who give so much back to our area and present them with these legislative citations."

"It is with deep respect and appreciation that I give thanks to Elisabeth Morten and Jim Naughton for all of their work to support arts and culture in Fairfield County through the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County," Duff said.

Morten was moved to receive the award and said that supporting the arts is important and is a way to "stimulate the economy, attract businesses as well as creative, educated and skilled employees."

"They also improve academic performance of young people and enhance our quality of life," she said.

Naughton cited writer George Bernard Shaw in his remarks with a quote that said, “Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.”

He said that the quote represents what keeps him interested in acting and supporting arts in Fairfield County.

Liz Fox hosted the event at her estate in Norwalk, which overlooks Long Island Sound, and cho-chaired the benefit with Ann Sheffer, of Westport. Corporate sponsors included Westport Resources, Cohen & Wolf, P.C., Berliner Law Offices, LLBH Private Wealth Management, The Tallman Building Company and Fairfeld County Bank.

Caravan of Thieves, a four-piece Gypsy-swing band that just toured nationally, performed for the guests.

The Cultural alliance supports more than 300 artists and cultural organizations that are members.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Where to Celebrate National Lobster Day in CT]]> Mon, 15 Jun 2015 13:45:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Lobster+Getty.jpg

It might not be the ideal day to head to the beach and enjoy a lobster roll, but today is National Lobster Day, so you have an excuse to enjoy the tasty crustacean.

Whether you like your lobster with nothing on it, served with a side of melted butter, cut up and served in a lobster roll or turned into a bisque, today’s the day to indulge.

Here are just some places to enjoy lobster in Connecticut:

Abbott’s Lobster, on the Mystic River in Noank, has been serving lobster since 1947 and the web site has a countdown to when they will serve the last lobster.

Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough is located at 117 Pearl Street in Noank: 860-536-7719.

If you’re in New London, head to Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock, at 80 Hamilton St., in New London: 860-439-1741

The Guilford Lobster Pound sells freshly caught lobster and boasts the freshest lobster rolls around. It is located at 5054 Whitfield Street in Guilford. (203) 245-7208

The Lazy Lobster, located at 6 Broadway in Milford, also caters off-premise lobster bakes and barbecues all year long. Call them at 203-283-1864

Lenny and Joe’s serves lobster in several forms: lobster rolls, lobster casserole, lobster and crab casserole, lobster and shrimp casserole and the super lobster mac & cheese.

Lenny & Joe’s is located in Westbrook, Madison and New Haven.

If you’re near Branford, head to the Lobster Shack for a lobster roll.  It’s located at 7 Indian Neck Ave. in Branford. (203) 483-8414

The Place in Guilford is a one-of-a-kind place to enjoy lobster. Their motto is “Put Your Rump on a Stump,” and you sit outside on seats made of tree stumps. Choose from the 1-1/8-pound, 1-¼-pound or 1-1/2-pound lobster. We recommend the roasted corn with it.

The Place is located at 901 Boston Post Road in Guilford. 203-453-9276

If you live near Rocky Hill, head to Shad Row at Ferry Landing and enjoy a hot or cold lobster roll. Shad Row is located at 277 Meadow Road in Rock Hill: 860-571-0535

If you don’t have a favorite place for lobster rolls, Sally Lerman, of Hartford, can help you.

Her “Lobster Gal” blog gives a thorough review of lobster rolls around New England. She is also the author of “Lobster Rolls of New England.”

Comment below and let us know your favorite place for lobster in Connecticut.

Photo Credit: Getty Images: Justin Sullivan / Staff]]>
<![CDATA[Toad's Place Named Best Small Music Venue]]> Tue, 16 Jun 2015 23:41:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/toads+place_722_406.jpg

A popular concert spot in New Haven has been named Best Small Music Venue by USA Today and 10best.com readers.

Toad's Place, celebrating its 40th anniversary, topped USA Today's 10 Best list, being featured as the top readers' choice in the country for a small venue to see concerts at, according to www.10best.com.

"We're honored and thrilled to be receiving this national award. It is especially important to us because it coincides with our 40 year Anniversary," Brian Phelps, owner of Toad's Place, said in a written statement. "The tons of folks that voted for us will always be cherished and a part of our Toad's Place family."

Toad's Place, located at 300 York Street in Downtown New Haven, advertises itself as the place "where the legends play."

"We try to stay well rounded by booking different genres of music and try to obtain the best acts that are available to us," Phelps said.

Toad's Place has drawn the likes of the Black Eyed Peas before they were as well known. In 1989, the Rolling Stones played there for a surprise concert before 700 people that lasted an hour, according to 10best.com. Then in 1990, Bob Dylan played his longest show in his career at Toad's place at the start of one of his tours, Phelps said. U2 also played there on its first world tour.

Other artists that have played there include Iggy Azalea, Third Eye Blind, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, David Cook, Hunter Hayes, Snoop Dogg, Ingrid Michaelson, Kanye West, Beck, Paramore, Hanson, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Matt & Kim, Tegan and Sara, Marky Ramone's Blitzkrieg with Andrew WK on vocals,  Atmosphere, Wiz Kahlifa, LMFAO, and Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

Many of the legends that have played there are listed on the backs of Toad's Place T-shirts.

Some upcoming shows include Connecticut's Hatebreed for a 20th anniversary show June 19, The Kooks June 20, Turquoise Jeep on June 23, Mighty Mighty Bosstones July 11, Jake Miller on July 14, Earl Sweatshirt Sept. 6, Reverend Horton Heat/The Addicts Sept. 18, SOJA on Oct. 8 and Julian Casablancas and The Voidz, who is known from playing with The Strokes, on Oct. 14. For a full list of concerts coming up at Toad's Place, visit www.toadsplace.com.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Police Step Up Enforcement for DMB Concert]]> Sat, 13 Jun 2015 00:15:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Dave+Matthews+Tailgating+1200.jpg

The concert before the Dave Matthews Band concert, the party before the party. But all that play means a lot of work for some, especially with the memories of a Dave Matthews visit just a couple years back.

"The area experienced about 70 medical transports per night, for a concert, to the area hospitals," Dr. Steven Wolf, of St. Francis Hospital, said.

Tailgaters began arriving in Hartford early morning Friday for the 8 p.m. Dave Matthews Band concert and traffic was heavy as tens of thousands of people were expected to head into the capital city for the weekend.

Between 20,000 and 23,000 people were expected on Friday night at Xfinity Theater alone -- which you might still call the Meadows if you’ve lived in Connecticut for awhile.

With cooperation from Xfinity Theater and various agencies, Hartford Police were taking no prisoners with those showing up drunk.

"If you are, they put you back out to the picnic tables out here, to either call home and get picked up, rather than make a mess of yourselves inside," Hartford Police Chief James Rovella said.

Or people risked being taken away by ambulance and missing the popular band.

"Pretty much, because they're not well enough to be inside," Rovella said.

The stepped-up strategies and enforcement were rather inconspicuous, even for this veteran of ten Dave Matthews shows in Hartford.

"It's been steady, they've been pretty good, actually," Sam Wynne, of North Salem, New York, said. "They just drove by earlier, and they were joking around with us and having a good time, so I think they've come to some reasonable standards."

Another concert-goer, Alex Santos, of Stamford, said "it stayed calm."

"I mean it's Dave Matthews. It's cool, calm, cool, collected. Everybody loves Dave," Santos said.

Police warned on Thursday that crowds could arrive as early as 4 p.m. to tailgate for the 8 p.m. concert, creating a mess of the Friday evening commute, but people were already tailgating as of 3:30 a.m.

In addition to the Dave Matthews Band concert, "Men Are From Mars - Women Are From Venus" is at the The Bushnell, "Kiss Me, Kate," is at Hartford Stage and "Mike Super" is at Xfinity Hall.

Expect heavy congestion and plan accordingly.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Chipotle Expands Benefits, Offers Tuition Reimbursement]]> Wed, 10 Jun 2015 07:18:26 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/chipotle6.jpg

Chipotle will soon join the growing list of restaurants that offer expanded benefits to all employees, including tuition reimbursement for students.

The new benefits package will include paid sick days and paid vacation days, as well as a tuition reimbursement to part-time employees, the company said in a press release. The changes will be implemented July 1. 

“We are always working to attract and retain the very best employees we can, and to helping develop our people so they can achieve their full potential,” Chris Arnold, Chipotle’s communication director, said.

Chipotle is joining a small and growing group of fast food restaurants offering more benefits. Earlier this year, Starbucks announced it will pay for a full four years of Arizona State University's online degree program for its employees. Roughly 2,000 Starbucks employees have chosen to take the offer thus far, according to the company's website. 

McDonald’s unveiled a similar college reimbursement program in April. The fast food giant also announced an increase in pay and paid sick days for its employees. 

Chipotle officials hope the new package will encourage their target employee demographic of high school and college students to pursue a career within the restaurant field. 

“We have a lot of people who, if they realize they could make a career with Chipotle, would stick with us while they are in college and take advantage of our tuition-reimbursement program,” JD Cummings, recruitment strategy manager at Chipotle, told Nation’s Restaurant News. “They could find the path to restaurateur is an amazing path that they might not have thought of.” 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dunkin' Donuts Tries Out Delivery]]> Tue, 09 Jun 2015 07:16:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-454515268.jpg

Dunkin' Donuts may soon be on your doorstep.

The doughnut giant is testing delivery service, taking a page from rivals like Starbucks, McDonald's and Chipotle, all of which plan to test on-demand food delivery.

"Delivery is clearly a big opportunity," Dunkin's CEO Nigel Travis told CNBC's "On the Money" in an interview.

"The trend in this country is convenience. So I think delivery plays very strongly," Travis said. "I think the next few years you're going to see us get more and more into delivery."

Travis said the majority of his company’s sales, “about 60 percent,” comes from drinks like coffee and smoothies. But "donuts are still a significant part of our menu and growing. In fact, they've grown 17 consecutive quarters."

The move comes after Dunkin's parent company posted lackluster sales last year, amid stiff competition in the breakfast market and a struggling consumer economy.

Photo Credit: Getty Images for Dunkin' Donuts]]>
<![CDATA[Celebrate Trails Weekend in Connecticut]]> Fri, 05 Jun 2015 13:40:42 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Montgoermy_Avenue_Walking_Generic.jpg

The 22nd annual Trails Weekend in Connecticut is this weekend and there will be more than 200 free events statewide.

The trails celebration is the largest in the nation and you’re sure to find something the whole family can explore.

“Our mission is to connect people to the land so it’s getting people outdoors to explore,” said Eric Hammerling, of the Connecticut Forest and Parks Association, which hosts the trails weekend.

Connecticut’s terrain is diverse and so are the forest and park events.

Whether you’re looking for an education walk, bird watching tour, or something for new or experienced hikers, the guided tours are free and led by experts of the area.

To find exactly what you’re looking for, click here to get to the Connecticut Forest and Park Association’s website and see the list of events, locations, and a key to describe the events and the level of difficulty.

<![CDATA[Where to Find Free Doughnuts on Friday]]> Fri, 05 Jun 2015 14:19:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-454515268.jpg

They say there's no such thing as a free lunch. But what about dessert — or, let's be honest, breakfast?

The first Friday of June has come to be celebrated as National Doughnut Day, and to commemorate it, fried dough purveyors nationwide will hand out free sugary rings of goodness.

Donut varieties are many, from powdered and frosted to embellished and plain, and then there are their extensions — cinnamon twists, crullers, honey buns and cinnamon rolls.

But one donut has been crowned America’s favorite, beating out the ever-popular glazed. One recent Ipsos poll, ahead of this year’s holiday, found the cream-filled doughnuts were cream of the crop.

To help you prepare for an epic Homer Simpson-esque escapade of “Mmm, doughnuts” this Friday, here's a guide to participating vendors and locations nationwide.

Dunkin' Donuts
Get a free donut with the purchase of a drink at participating stores nationwide.

Krispy Kreme
Pick up one free doughnut of your choice, with no purchase necessary, at participating stores in the U.S. and Canada. The freebie is not available in Connecticut or Puerto Rico. 

Shipley Do-Nuts
Get one free glazed donut, with no purchase necessary, at the southern chain's participating locations from 5 a.m. to noon.

Free fried dough classics, along with a complimentary cuppa joe, will be given to the first 40,000 people at New York City’s Madison Square Park starting at 7 a.m. ET.

Honey Dew Donuts
You can get one free Mocha Madness donut with the purchase of any medium drink at participating locations of the New England chain.

LaMar's Donuts
The midwestern chain is giving away one free doughnut "with a hole." No purchase is necessary. When: All day!

Fractured Prune Doughnuts
Deals vary per location. Visit Fracturedprune.com for your local deal.

Cumberland Farms
You can get one free doughnut with the purchase of a hot or iced coffee or Chill Zone beverage from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. ET at any newly remodeled store.

Photo Credit: Getty Images for Dunkin' Donuts]]>
<![CDATA[Officers to Carry Special Olympics Torch Across CT]]> Mon, 01 Jun 2015 17:14:41 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/184*120/torch+run.jpg

The Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run is the law enforcement community’s way to pay homage to our heroes.

More than 1,500 police officers from departments across the state will volunteer as torchbearers June 3 to 5, running the Special Olympics "Flame of Hope" through their towns to pass from department to department on different legs of the journey, ultimately ending in Hartford.

Special Olympics athletes will be running with them, as well. The run leads up to the start of the Special Olympic summer games.

The torch run starts Wednesday, passing through East Lyme, Groton, Ledyard, New London, North Stonington, Old Lyme, Stonington and Waterford for Leg 1 on Wednesday and Griswold, Killingly, Ledyard, Lisbon, Montville, Norwich, Plainfield, Preston and Putnam for Leg 2. It will end in Hartford on June 5 after passing through several other Connecticut towns.

The annual torch run is a way to raise awareness and money for Special Olympics and "inspire communities to accept and respect people of all abilities," according to a news release from Special Olympics Connecticut.

The Torch Run will take place from June 3-5. It will cover over 530 miles and pass through more than 100 cities and towns.

Click here to find when the flame of hope will be passing you!

<![CDATA["American Idol" Winner Nick Fradiani Performs in Hartford]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 19:22:05 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/179*120/473224476.jpg

After traveling to Hollywood and winning "American Idol," Guilford native Nick Fradiani gave his first performance since his crowning moment on Wednesday night, playing at The Russian Lady in Hartford with his band, Beach Avenue.

It's undoubtedly the first of many concerts to come from the rising star, including another one in Hartford Thursday that you need to win tickets in order to attend.

He and Beach Avenue played acoustic versions of his new single, "Beautiful Life," the original song they played on "America's Got Talent" last year and a couple covers in a private Acoustic Cafe concert in Hartford, hosted by 96.5 TIC and sponsored by Miller Lite. You had to win tickets from the radio station to go, but all the fans had the chance to meet Fradiani afterward for professional photos, selfies and autographs.

"These are the ones I won't forget.This is what I was doing before I came out here. Playing at a bar back in Connecticut," he said, adding that he used to play every other Friday night at City Steam.

And he won't, as Beach Avenue drummer Ryan Zipp took a lot of photos and videos at the event to continue documenting the journey of Fradiani and the band.

Fradiani tweeted that it's his first acoustic show in his home state since winning "American Idol." He said it was very special and that it feels good to be back in his home state.

So how does it feel to be the new American Idol?

"It's funny because I always get asked that and I'm kind of like, I don't know. I don't think it's really set in yet," Fradiani said. "It's only been a few weeks, but it's a hard thing to kind of put into words. It's just been so amazing. Sometime a couple months down the road I think I'm going to be able to sit down and take it all in, but it's been amazing. It's kind of like living your dream."

It's been a good year for Fradiani and his band, which had been together for about two and a half years before they ever went on TV for a talent competition. Before "Idol," Fradiani and his Beach Avenue buddies, guitarist Nick Abraham and percussionist Zipp competed on NBC's "America's Got Talent." 

While Abraham said that it was hard for the band for a little while with Fradiani away, but they threw their full support behind him when he first talked about auditioning for "American Idol" the last year he could before the age cut-off of 28. After "Idol," they weren't sure when they'd be able to work with him again and they are happy it's been so soon as they travel a lot with him for radio spots.

"It was amazing seeing him progress through 'Idol' and to see his success," said Abraham, who also served as Fradiani's music mentor to help prep him for the final and was rewarded with a free Ford car.

He said that Fradiani has been loyal to the band and is a good friend and a natural talent. The band members, who live with Fradiani in West Haven, were featured on "Idol" when he returned home to visit his hometown of Guilford, where about 10,000 people attended a parade in his honor. Ford also sponsored a trip for Abraham and Zipp to fly to California to see Fradiani in the final round live.

"It was kind of an amazing experience being there live," Abraham said. "We got all choked up seeing him win, so it was incredible."

"American Idol" has built upon the band's success after "America's Got Talent" and given them more national exposure and concert opportunities, growing their national fan base on top of their home-state support.

While the Hollywood experienced and being on TV was different for them, when they got on stage and played, nothing changed and they felt like they were at home, Abraham said. "Idol" really helped Fradiani become more comfortable being in front of cameras, Zipp said. The musical ride has been "wild," he said.

As Fradiani works on promoting his single, they'll perform with him at radio spots and some concerts.

On Memorial Day, Fradiani sang the national anthem at the National Memorial Day services in Washington D.C.

After his appearances on two TV shows, Fradiani said he's looking forward to devoting his time to making music in the real world and focusing on his upcoming album and working with some "great co-writers."

"That's what I was born to do," he said. "That's what I love to do."

Now they will have another private performance at Spotlight Theatres in Hartford as part of the Dunkin' Donuts Music Lounge. The concert is Thursday at noon and the only way you can get into the concert, hosted by iHeart Radio and affiliated local radio stations, is by winning passes on radio stations like KISS 95.7, Country 92.5, The River 105.9 and KC 101.3.

Spotlight Theatres is located at 39 Front Street in Hartford.

How has winning "American Idol" changed his life? Well, Fradiani said Wednesday was the first day in awhile he has gotten to relax and sleep in. He is doing a lot of interviews and has some performances lined up.

"I almost cried when I found out I could sleep. I was so pumped," he quipped. "It's just been a lot of craziness. It'll be a lot of going city to city and I'm ready for it. I've been waiting to do this. I'm ready to go."

While he is the man with the talent, he said his Connecticut fans and his "insane hometown support" gave him the advantage and edge he needed to win the title of American Idol.

"Just thank you. Without all my Connecticut fans, I wouldn't have won," he said. "It feels great to be home."

Fradiani will spend all summer on his "American Idol" tour from July 7 to Aug. 28.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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