The 32nd annual Branford Festival brought thousands of residents and out-of-town guests to the Branford Green this past weekend to hear the music, feast on delicious food and shop, shop, shop among the scores of vendors displaying their wares on Saturday. No question, the perfect weather also had a lot to do with the large crowds.
Dennis Nardella, who served as festival chairman for the third consecutive year, said, “When you’re planning a three-day weekend like this we hope for perfect weather and we couldn’t have been happier with the way it turned out.” Last year rain cancelled Friday’s schedule.
There is only ONE Cool Event this weekend and that is the Branford Festival, now in its 32nd year. This weekend is expected to be wall-to-wall sunshine.
Dennis Nardella, the 2016 Festival Chair, says this weekend celebrates the town’s service clubs, clubs that are the backbone of the Festival, the Rotary Club, the Exchange Club and the Lions Club, which celebrates 65 years of service to Branford this year. They came together, he said, pooling their resources instead of having separate fairs on the green. And that is how the Branford Festival “as we have come to know it was born.” Read about the Festival, its history and events here.
A couple of tough choices for nature lovers this weekend – explore the Stony Creek Quarry or Killam’s Point. The weather is supposed to be perfect so flip a coin and head outdoors. Later on, rub elbows with Branford authors, catch some fine music, and drop by Walsh Intermediate School to support American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
The Branford Alps Farmers Market recently closed up their tent after their first successful season of selling local produce, baked goods and various delicacies to townspeople. As the growing season progressed, leafy greens of late spring were replaced by potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, acorn squash and other hearty root veggies of the summer and early fall.
Market Manager Martha Maguire was enthusiastic about the market’s inaugural season. “We’re like a family,” she said. “It was a great experience for the community.”
All you need are your pots and pans, and a good knife.
When you stop by the new Branford Alps Farm Market, you can come away with the fixings for the perfect gourmet, organic meal. And then some.
Keep in mind that these are local farmers, who are not growing the year-round crops of the factory farms in California. As a result, the produce they’re offering is seasonal to Connecticut, and yes, the prices are higher. You’re just not going to find Connecticut-grown blueberries and zucchini in June.
This is the weekend to be out and about. There’s a great tour of the Stony Creek Quarry, a puppy fundraiser that is four paws to the wind, a half-marathon that ends at the new Stony Creek Brewery and on Monday, a terrific Tip-A-Cop fundraiser for the Special Olympics at Lenny’s restaurant.
A Branford family hopes to be brewing and serving its Stony Creek beer in a new facility along the Branford River by late fall.
The Crowley family received unanimous approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) to build a brewery and tasting facility along Indian Neck Avenue, near the upscale Anchor Reef condominiums, in the heart of Branford.
“Our family is all about beer,” Ed Crowley Sr. told a crowd of about three dozen people at Thursday’s P&Z meeting. Crowley, who has almost 40 years in the beer industry, introduced his son, Ed Crowley Jr., who has been in the business about 10 years. “We’ve done it with class, and we’ve done it with integrity,” he said.
Two burglars wearing tight white face masks with only their eyes visible tripped an alarm at Eli’s On the Hill restaurant at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday. Then they knocked out the outside security camera.
Next they used a crowbar to pop open a window in the basement of the building.
In a matter of minutes, the inside motion detector picked up their movement, and an alarm went off alerting police. The inside cameras, however, were working.
At that point they moved quickly and deftly through the restaurant, located at 624 West Main St. They knew exactly where to go. They went upstairs, passing the restaurant’s cash register and bar. Then they seized an ATM, unlocked the back door and threw the ATM over the restaurant’s deck.
Roy Ip, a Branford restaurateur, is one of the most critically lauded and acclaimed chefs in the United States. His cooking has earned him not only an ‘extraordinary’ rating from The New York Times, but has also landed his restaurant, Le Petit Café, a spot on Zagat’s Top 30 Restaurants in the country list.
But you’d never guess any of this upon meeting the man. Instead, Ip is a humble fellow, both grateful to and proud of Branford, the town he has called home for the last 17 years. He is an unassumingly eloquent chef, and when I sat down for an afternoon chat with him, I left a more enlightened man.
“Don’t take anything for granted,” he told me. “You have to go earn it”