Cool Events This Weekend, Here & Beyond

We’re still waiting for spring. The teaser at the end of this week will morph back into the chilliness that we’ve come to expect. But there are signs: Earth Day is coming up and there are events that call attention to the need to protect our resources. Speaking of protecting, LWV and Connecticut Shoreline Indivisible will hold a forum Saturday on protecting our right to vote. (Are you registered?) Read on – there’s more! Got a cool event? Email sebahner@snet.net by Wednesday noon.

Saturday, April 14

African Violet Show, Sale

The annual Thimble Islands African Violet show and sale takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at the Willoughby Wallace Memorial Library, 146 Thimble Island Road.

For more information, call Madeline at 203-481-9455.

“Your Vote” Information Session

The League of Women Voters of the East Shore and Connecticut Shoreline Indivisible will host a public information session about steps being taken to protect our vote in light of the rising concern of outside influence in the electoral process. The event will take place at Branford Fire Headquarters, 45 N. Main St., on Saturday, April 14, from 10 a.m. to noon. Other issues related to state regulations on voting will also be presented. 

Invited speakers include Connecticut Secretary of State Denise W. Merrill (pictured above) and Elona Vaisnys, League of Women Voters Connecticut board member.

Merrill will address issues related to voter protection, including the safety of your vote and personal information, how they are protected, and who is responsible for implementation; early voting and absentee voting; and pending legislative actions.

Vaisnys will discuss the Connecticut Citizens Election Program and how can candidates receive public financing for their political races. CEP is a voluntary program that provides full public financing to qualified candidates for statewide offices and the General Assembly. To participate, candidates must agree to abide by certain guidelines, including contribution and expenditure limits and disclosure requirements. This voluntary public campaign financing program was designed to encourage citizen participation and limit the role of private money in the State of Connecticut’s political process. For more information, call 203-457-9888.

Uncover Branford Planning Meeting

An Uncover Branford planning meeting takes place from 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 14, at Blackstone Library. Friends and neighbor get together to share their favorite Branford places and stories, then plan a group outing to a special spot. As you go out into the community to explore and uncover new places, you’ll make new friends, have lots of fun, and discover the hidden gems of Branford.

The group will talk about talk about their favorite places in town, and plan their next venture. For more information, go to http://www.blackstone.lioninc.org/events.

Balladeer at Branford Folk

Canadian folk balladeer Matthew Byrne (pictured), one of Canada’s leading young folk balladeers, will make his Branford Folk Music Society debut at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, in the auditorium of the First Congregational Church of Branford on the Town Green.

Born into a family of Newfoundland music makers and storytellers, Byrne’s repertoire is influenced by that unique musical lineage – the weaving of a great story with a beautiful melody. Last summer he released his third album “Horizon Lines” a collection of mostly traditional songs exploring music from both sides of the Atlantic and also continuing his journey through his own unique musical lineage with songs that sound as if they are hundreds of years old.

The society will sponsor a second concert this month on April 28 highlighting the music and dance of Sicily and Southern Italy with Michela Musolino and Rosa Tatuata. The ensemble was scheduled to appear in December but a snowstorm postponed their appearance.

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 visit www.branfordfolk.org/.

Saturday, April 21

Earth Day Clean Up

Branford Land Trust, the town of Branford, and Branford residents will take part in the annual “Rid Litter” Day from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 21. Participants gather on the green to pick up a trash bag and gloves, then are given a location to clean up. Trash will be collected in the big Dumpster on the green.

Wear comfortable shoes and boots, and Branford colors, red and black. For more information, call 203-315-0622.

Rise Up Singing!

Rise Up Singing – An Evening Of Folk, Jazz, Pop & Rock takes place at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 21 at the Guilford Community Center, 32 Church St. The concert benefits Unidad Latina en Accion (ULA), grassroots New Haven-based organization of immigrants defending labor, civil and human rights.

This benefit is sponsored by Connecticut Shoreline Indivisible. Performers will be Fernandito Ferrer – Nueva Trova, Cyd Slotoroff – singer/songwriter, Isabella Mendes and Jeff Fuller - Brazilian jazz duo, Alison Farrell – singer/songwriter, Julie & Lars Selberg – pop, rock duo, Cahoots – Patty Chamberlain, Nancy Wilson, George Bassett and David Chamberlain – jazz, folk, pop a cappella quartet.

Tickets on Eventbrite (benefitconcertforula.eventbrite.com) or at the door. $20. Children 12 and under free.

Beginning April 21

Thomas the Tank at Essex Steam Train

Thomas & Friends will be at the Essex Steam Train, Railroad Avenue in Essex, on April 21, 28, 29, as well as May 5 and 6, with departure times every 45 minutes from 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Passengers select a departure time when purchasing a ticket (ride is approximately 25 minutes), but family activities take place all day.

After meeting Thomas, guests will also have the opportunity to meet Sir Topham Hatt, the Controller of the Railway on the Island of Sodor, and Percy the Small Green Engine. Included in the ticket price is access to unlimited rides on five carnival rides, face painting featuring Day Out With Thomas characters, Isle of Sodor storytelling, a special Thomas the Tank Engine video theater and magic show, and Thomas the Tank Engine play areas. Caboose the Clown will create colorful balloon characters, while Sunny Train presents her music show.

For more information, go to essexsteamtrain.com or call 860-767-0103.

Sunday, April 22

Earth Day Down on the Farm

The Shoreline Outdoor Education Center and The Dudley Farm Museum will celebrate Earth Day from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 22, at the Dudley Farm, 2351 Durham Road.

Lauren Brown, author of “Wildflowers and Winter Weeds,” will lead an early spring wildflower walk (no dogs, please), while a beekeeping demonstration and activities for children and adults will be held on the grounds. Plant corn in the Heritage Garden, tour organic Community Garden, grow your own “Bean Baby”, and learn why “Balloons Blow.”

Informational material on invasive species, attracting pollinators and “good bugs”, and ways to deter deer with an inexpensive homemade spray will be available. Free and open to the public. For more information call 203-457-0770 or email info@dudleyfarm.com.

Poetry Reading, Book Signing

On Earth Day, Sunday, April 22, Rock Garden, 17 S. Main St., will host author and naturalist Jen Payne for a spontaneous poetry reading and book signing featuring her book “Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind.”

From 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., the author will sign books and read poems upon request from this collection of poetry that Rita Kowats of “Spirituality Without Borders.”

The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For more information and to purchase copies of the book, visit www.3chairspublishing.com.

Tuesday, April 24

Branford Land Trust Annual Meeting

The Branford Land Trust’s 2018 Annual Meeting will feature guest speaker James O’Donnell, executive director of the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) at UConn. The meeting takes place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, at the Canoe Brook Senior Center’s Totoket Room, 11 Cherry Hill Road.

O’Donnell will speak about “Effects of Climate Change on Connecticut.” The meeting will include a brief presentation by BLT President Peter Raymond, followed by O’Donnell’s presentation, which will include sea level, flooding, river flow, and drinking water resilience, and also touch on some of the impacts including insurance rates, health, and adaptation strategies.

The evening is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

The not-to-be-missed event will be held in the Totoket Room at the Canoe Brook Senior Center, 11 Cherry Hill Road. Watch for details on these and other upcoming 50th Anniversary events on our website and Facebook page, www.branfordlandtrust.org.

Friday, May 4

Bernstein and Other Delights!

The Music4Music Performance Series at Trinity Church on the Green presents Bernstein and Other Delights, a 20th-century American-music extravaganza, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 4, at the church, 230 Temple St. (corner of Chapel) in downtown New Haven.

Branford native Ryan Bloomquist, a Trinity Boys Choir alumnus, is among the soloists. He is an actor and vocalist based in New York City. He recently played Matt in “The Fantasticks” at the Ivoryton Playhouse.

The event will feature music by legendary American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, born 100 years ago and a longtime resident of Fairfield. Program includes the composer’s “Chichester Psalms” as well as selections from Bernstein’s operetta “Candide,” performed by the Trinity Choirs of Men & Boys and Men & Girls under the direction of Trinity Music Director R. Walden Moore

The program also includes art-song arrangements of beloved American sacred songs performed by Trinity Boys Choir alumnus Edward Vogel, baritone, and Sarah Noone, soprano.

Tickets are $30 ($25 online; $20/$15 seniors, students). Call 203-776-2616 or visit trinitynewhaven.org/bernstein to learn more.

Rotary Dollars for Branford Scholars

The Rotary Club of Branford announces its annual scholarship appeal to Branford high school seniors who are pursuing advanced education in fall 2018. The award of $3,000 will be given to the applicant who provides outstanding evidence in academic achievement, community service, Rotary values, and financial need. 

The application has three components. First is a student-written essay focusing on Rotary principles. Then supportive documentation must be provided as specified in the application requirements such as high school transcript, teachers’ references. Finally, is an interview with a panel of Rotarians.

The applicant may be a pending graduate of any accredited Connecticut high school. This scholarship is for undergraduate study at a two or four-year college or technical school. Branford residency is required.

Applications are available at scholarship@branfordrotary.org and the Branford High School guidance office in addition to the James Blackstone Memorial Library and Willoughby Wallace Library. Completed application packets must be received by Friday, May 11. For more information, call project leader Tony Terry, at 203-481-6424.

Sunday, May 6

Let There Be Light

The New Haven Chorale welcomes the choruses of the Hartt School and Manchester Community College as well as the Hartt Symphony Orchestra for a performance featuring two major masterpieces on Sunday, May 6 at 3:30 p.m. at Woolsey Hall, 500 College St. Faure’s luminescent “Requiem,” a work of beauty and consolation, and Lauridsen’s transcendental masterpiece “Lux aeterna,” dedicated to his mother who inspired him to become a musician, will be performed and directed by Edward Bolkovac.

Tickets are $15-$20. Email business@newhavenchorale.org.

Thursday, May 10

Mama Meow Italian Buffet

In celebration of moms, including the four-legged variety, Branford Compassion Club will hold its Mama Meow Italian Buffet benefit, 6 p.m. Thursday, May 10 at Pompeo’s Restaurant, 485 W. Main St.

Doors open at 5:30 for the event, which includes a silent auction, Mother’s Day gifts for those last-minute shoppers, a 50/50 raffle, door prizes and cash bar.

BCC has a soft spot in its collective heart for moms and their offspring. The shelter population always includes moms, and many times their offspring, especially at this time of the year.

Tickets are $35, available by e-mail at bccspecialevents32@gmail.com , online at www.brownpapertickets.com or by calling 203-444-0653. Tickets are also available Saturdays from 11 a.m.to 3 p.m. at the organization’s Feline Rescue and Adoption Center, 2037 Foxon Road, North Branford. Volunteers are always needed. For more information, visit the website at www.branfordcompassionclub.org, or stop by in person.

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