Cool Events This Weekend, Here & Beyond

A potpourri of things to do. Eagle watches continue along the Connecticut River and the Branford Land Trust is planning animal tracking classes. Music lovers have plenty to choose from – folk, jazz, love songs. Tickets are now on sale for Branford High’s presentation of “Shrek, the Musical.” Our local libraries – the Blackstone and Willoughby Wallace – are great places to hole up on a winter’s day. We’ve included a few of their activities, but be sure to check their websites for more. And, yes, there’s yet another opportunity for Johnnie-come-latelys to get their flu shots. Got a cool event? Email sebahner@snet.net by Wednesday noon.

Saturday, Feb. 10

Flu Shots Still Available

The East Shore District Health Department will be coordinating another flu clinic, this time on Saturday, Feb. 10, between 3 and 5 p.m. at the North Branford Fire Department EMS Headquarters, 1315 Middletown Ave, Northford. ESDHD serves the towns of Branford, North Branford and East Haven. The clinic will be staffed by the health department’s nurses and staff.• Vaccinations will be provided by Connecticut State licensed nurses.  • Vaccinations are free for children up to 18. • Vaccinations are $20 without insurance for anyone 18 and older. • Residents with insurance are asked to bring their insurance cards or make a copy for when they come to the clinic.The following insurances are accepted: Anthem, Aetna, Aetna Medicare, Cigna, Connecticare, Connecticare Medicare, Husky, Medicare. Children younger than 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent.For more information, call 203-481-4233.
Saturday, Feb. 10

Annual Eagle Watches on the Connecticut River

Audubon Shop owner Jerry Connolly will again lead the popular land-based excursions to view Bald Eagles along the Connecticut River, on Saturdays, Feb. 10, 17, and 24 from 7:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Bald Eagles make their way down the Connecticut River from Canada every winter in search of ice-free fishing. Participants will observe these majestic birds from a variety of locations along the river. Ticket prices are $25, which includes a soup & sandwich luncheon at Otter Cove Restaurant in Old Saybrook following the field trip.

Reservations must be made in advance by calling 203-245-9056. Carpool from the shop at 907 Boston Post Road in Madison at 7:45 a.m. or meet at first stop (Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam) at 8:30 a.m.

Antidote for Wintertime Blues

The Branford Folk Music Society is offering an antidote to the wintertime blues when it hosts Toby Walker, winner of the prestigious International Blues Challenge Award. Walker has been hailed as a finger style guitar virtuoso, on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 8 p.m. in the auditorium of the First Congregational Church of Branford on the Town Green.

Admission is $20 for non-members, $17 for members and $5 for children age 12 and under. For more information, call 203-488-7715 or access the society’s Web page at www.branfordfolk.org/

Walker, who made his Branford Folk debut in 2013, combines the styles of blues, ragtime, country, bluegrass, rock and old time jazz into his own unique styling. He was recognized in 2014 as a “Master Blues Artist” by the New York Blues Hall of Fame and four years previous won the New York Music Award for “Best Instrumental CD,” sharing honors on stage with Mariah Carey, Rufus Wainwright, and Judy Collins among other award winners.

His crowning achievement, however, was winning a prestigious first place award in the International Blues Challenge Award given by the Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee.

Walker recently released several instructional guitar DVDs for Homespun Tapes and he just released a new album of traditional blues entitled “From The Ground Up” that is already receiving rave reviews from critics and fans alike. Carnegie Hall recently acknowledged his talent and hired him to augment and teach in their “American Roots” program aimed at honor level middle school students.

Sunday, Feb. 11

Neal Fitzpatrick and Deborah Wang in Concert

A Valentine’s Day Celebration of classic love songs with Neil Fitzpatrick on guitar and jazz vocals by Deborah Wang, titled “Love Songs from the American Songbook,” takes place at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, at Willoughby Wallace Library, 146 Thimble Island Road.

Guitarist, performer, and composer Neal Fitzpatrick is a Branford resident who maintains a teaching studio in Branford where he teaches all styles of guitar, bass guitar, banjo, mandolin and ukulele. Deborah Wang has been singing with jazz groups and big bands in Connecticut for more than two decades. Her CD, Deborah Wang Sings Romance, is a collection of classics including My Funny Valentine, Somewhere Over the Rainbow and more.

For more information, call 203-488-8702.

Sunday, Feb. 18

Sunday with Amy Bloom

Local author Amy Bloom will be at Willoughby Wallace Library for a signing of her new book, “White Houses,” at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 18.

Registration is required. Admission is a donation to the Branford Food Pantry (food or cash. For more information, call 203-488-8702.

Saturday, Feb. 24

Animal Tracking Classes

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The Branford Land Trust will sponsor Animal Tracing Classes from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24.

Learn to recognize animal footprints and other signs of their passage through the woods during these free classes led by Tom Cleveland and Chris Woerner at the Lake Saltonstall preserve.

Meet at the Regional Water Authority parking lot on the north side of Hosley Avenue, 0.3 miles from Brushy Plain Road. Expect moderate terrain, some sloping trails and inclines, rocky underfooting. Parents should be prepared to carry younger children if they get tired. Wear appropriate dress and comfortable, supportive walking shoes. Bring water. Walking sticks welcome. Watch BLT’s Facebook page for possible schedule changes. For details, call Tom Cleveland, 203-981-9040.

BCC Winter Food, Supply Drive

The Branford Compassion Club Feline Rescue & Adoption Center, 2037 Foxon Road, will celebrate its seventh shelter anniversary with a winter food and supply drive to benefit shelter and feral cats on Saturday, Feb. 24, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Unopened canned and dry cat and kitten food, paper towels, kitchen trash bags, Tidy Cat clumping litter, laundry (HE) and dish detergent are especially needed. Join the volunteers for cake and refreshments.

For more information on the kitties’ wish list, visit the website at www.branfordcompassionclub.org.

Fireside Book Chat and Afternoon Tea

Looking for book recommendations? Blackstone Library will hold a fireside book chat and afternoon tea from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24, to discuss favorite books of 2017 and share anticipated books for 2018. Bring a list of titles. Tea will be provided.

Space is limited. Registration required. To register, call 203-488-1441.

Thursday, March 1

Jazz at the Brewery

The Branford Jazz Concert Series and the Stony Creek Brewery present an evening of music featuring Jeremy Galloway Quartet Hartt School of Music from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 1, at the Stony Creek Brewery, 5 Indian Neck Ave.

Tickets are $25 per person and include an exclusive pint glass and a free beer. Food truck on site. Proceeds benefit the Branford Jazz Music Scholarship Fund. For more information or tickets, call 203-488-8304.

Tuesday, March 6

Healthy Families in the Digital Age

Branford Families is presenting a series of programs for parents and kids, titled “Growing Healthy Families in the Digital Age.” The free programs take place at 6:30 p.m. at Walsh Intermediate School (unless otherwise noted). For reservations, email info@branfordfamilies.org.

Tuesday: March 6: “…And - What IF Things do Go Wrong?” Risks & Digital Lives features a presentation and discussion on the risks and dangers when the rules are broken. From the perspective of a Youth Officer, the program covers the legal issues related to social media, new laws in effect, parent responsibilities, school issues, and other risks in the digital lives of children.

Tuesday, April 3: “The Lay of the Land: Screen-time, Devices, and Schools” is a panel presentation by school staff, consisting of the WIS school counselor, social worker, the school district’s director of technology, and Dr. Mary Alice Curran, Professor of Social Media Citizenship.
What are the rules, how does it work with 1:1 device ratio. What if scenarios during school hours.

May: Growing up KIND in the Digital World. Digital can be real: Review of “good digital spaces” for independent time for all age groups. “Don’t Be Mean Behind the Screen” movement. Special surprise presentation.

June 16: Family Fun – Summer Sites and Awesome Apps. Branford Families will have a booth during the Branford Festival with a few good apps running and options for family togetherness in a digital world.

Sunday, March 18

Branford Forum schedule

Due to renovations at the Blackstone, the Branford Forum’s spring talks will be at the Willoughby-Wallace Library, 146 Thimble Island Road in Branford, Sundays at 2 p.m.

On March 18, local artists Nancy Eisenfield and Jennifer Davies, will speak on “Creating and Understanding Visual Art.”

The April 22 presentation is being finalized.

On May 20, Yale Law School Professor Stephen Carter will discuss “Lucky Luciano and New York’s First Black Woman Prosecutor.”

The talks are free. For further information, email rabinkux@sbcglobal.net. 

Wednesday, March 21 to Sunday, March 25

Shrek, the Musical at BHS

Tickets are on sale for Branford High School Performing Arts presentation of “Shrek, the Musical,” which takes place Wednesday, March 21, to Sunday, March 25, at the Cathyann Roding Auditorium. (See top photo)

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday; 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday. Shrek will be played by Logan Distasio, and Fiona by Maddie Oberempt.

Tickets are $18; $15 for students and seniors. For reservations and information, call 203-315-7972.

Through March 31

Cityseed Winter Market

If you’ve been missing the hustle and bustle of summer’s farmers’ markets head into New Haven for Cityseed’s Winter Farmers Market, which recently opened at the Metropolitan Business Academy School, 115 Water St, open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (the except is Sunday, Feb. 12).

Offerings include winter root veggies such as potatoes, onions, and carrots; jams, jellies, and pickles; fresh herbs, micro mixes, goat cheeses, meats, seafood, dairy products, bacon, eggs, artisan baked goods, and more. Special guests on hand throughout the season, as well as the Caseus Food Trick.

For more information, go to facebook.com/cityseed. Park in the Community and Ikea lots.

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