holiday

January 2017 Events in Hartford

This monthly event listing includes arts and entertainment, civic engagement, academic, cultural, wellness, and other types of activities happening in Hartford during January. There is no intent to include all events — it’s curated, with preference given to what the widest range of Hartford residents can afford (free or low cost) and what sounds most interesting to us. If we think an event sounds convoluted, disorganized, or offensive, we are not going to list it.

January 1

  • The Half Door (270 Sisson Ave.) is serving brunch from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. today.
  • Free ice skating and skate rentals in Bushnell Park, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

January 2

  • BiCi Co. Winter Gear Share: Drop off donations to BiCi Co. (95 Park Street) from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. They say: “We have some riders (and community members) [who] may not have all the winter gear they need. Bring clean, lightly used or new gear, and we’ll find a home with another winter rider or Center for Latino Progress program participant. Gloves, hats, jackets, scarves, baselayers, cold weather jerseys, and outerwear.”
  • Free ice skating and skate rentals in Bushnell Park, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Hartford Jazz Orchestra performs at Arch Street Tavern at 8 p.m. Free.

January 3

  • BiCi Co. Winter Gear Share: Drop off donations to BiCi Co. (95 Park Street) from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. They say: “We have some riders (and community members) [who] may not have all the winter gear they need. Bring clean, lightly used or new gear, and we’ll find a home with another winter rider or Center for Latino Progress program participant. Gloves, hats, jackets, scarves, baselayers, cold weather jerseys, and outerwear.”
  • Free ice skating and skate rentals in Bushnell Park, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Natural Hair Networking Meetup: This event is at M Lounge (942 Main St.) from 6-8 p.m. They say: “Come mix, mingle and learn with the Brown Skin Women (BSW) Network full of beautiful natural living women and professional service & product providers, while having a wonderful time! At this event we feature our signature express networking that allows you to connect with ALL guest before the night is up. If you own a business or offer a product or service, don’t forget to bring your business cards. If you are attending solely to enjoy the amazing energy and natural hair & beauty inspiration this event offers, you too are in for a treat. We will offer raffles from our sponsors and partners with our partners. Warning: Our events are known to build lasting friendships, unity and love.” This is free for BSW members and $5 for non-members.
  • Game Night: Real Art Ways (56 Arbor St.) is hosting a free community game night, 6-10 p.m. Snacks and drinks will be available for purchase.

January 4

  • BiCi Co. Winter Gear Share: Drop off donations to BiCi Co. (95 Park Street) from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. They say: “We have some riders (and community members) [who] may not have all the winter gear they need. Bring clean, lightly used or new gear, and we’ll find a home with another winter rider or Center for Latino Progress program participant. Gloves, hats, jackets, scarves, baselayers, cold weather jerseys, and outerwear.”
  • Free ice skating and skate rentals in Bushnell Park, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Get HYPEd: free and casual networking event for young entrepreneurs and professionals. Bring your business cards. This month’s event is at Ted’s Montana Grill (35 Front Street), 5:30-8:30 p.m.
  • MakeHartford Open House with Show & Tell: check out MakeHartford (30 Arbor St. #B7), speak to makers, show what you’re doing, 6:30-9 p.m. Free.
  • Loving: Cinestudio screens this film at 7:30 p.m. They say: “Like many landmark choices that opened a door to freedom, the Supreme Court decision to legalize interracial marriages in every state began with ordinary people who wanted the protection of the Constitution to apply to them, too. In 1967, those people were Richard and Mildred Loving, a Virginia couple who were arrested for the crime of ‘miscegenation.’ Without much education, connections or money, they started a case that would change their lives, and so many more. A subtle film that allows for complexity while holding out hope for humanity.” General admission: $10.

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Free Holiday Meals

Families in need of a holiday meal can pick up the ingredients at the Pope Park rec center (Arroyo Center) on December 13 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

500 holiday meal packages will be available on a first come, first serve basis. Each package contains potatoes, stuffing, corn, green beans, cranberry sauce, coffee, turkey gravy, and a frozen turkey. There is a limit of one package per family.

The meals are courtesy of ShopRite and former UConn basketball coach Jim Calhoun, the latter of whom will be present to distribute packages Tuesday evening.

43rd Annual Festival of Trees and Traditions

Creatively decorated trees and wreaths are on display as part of the 43rd Annual Festival of Trees and Traditions, currently at the Wadsworth Atheneum through December 11, 2016. The trees and wreaths are available for purchase to either take home or donate to a charity at the end of the event. (more…)

November 2016 Events

November 1

  • Clean Safe Water in Connecticut: Challenges and Realities in a Complex World –this free event at Connecticut Historical Society (1 Elizabeth St.) from 12:30-2 p.m. They say: “Daniel C. Esty, Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy will share his insight into the challenges and opportunities Connecticut faces in maintaining access to clean, safe water for all of its citizens.” Reserve your seat: rsvp@chs.org or (860) 236-5621 x238.
  • This is one of those rare times that we include something from the suburbs, but it’s a good cause. The Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence is forming a Men’s Advisory Council for a statewide sexual violence prevention campaign. They say: “Our goal is to continue to engage men as allies in our work to prevent sexual violence and to cultivate prevention leaders in our state.” This will be facilitated by Andrew Stewart. This meeting takes place from 5:30-7 p.m. at The Alliance (96 Pitkin Street, East Hartford). RSVP requested.
  • God, Faith, and Politics: Election Year Community Forums — the conversation begins at 7 p.m. at Wood-n-Tap (Capitol and Sisson Ave.)  but show up early to order dinner. Tonight’s conversation focuses on freedom of religion. They say: “Revs. Don Hamer from Trinity Episcopal Church, Rick Kremer of Grace Lutheran Church, Matt Laney of Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Kari Nicewander of Immanuel Congregational Church, Imam Sami Aziz of the Bloomfield Islamic Center and Rabbi Michael Pincus of Congregation Beth Israel  will lead a discussion of religious issues as they have been raised in this year’s election.” Free to attend.

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October 2016 Events

October 1

Night Fall: this year, October 8th.

  • Clean Up: volunteer to clean up Columbus Park (between Franklin Avenue, Wethersfield Avenue, Bolton Street, and Victoria Road) for a couple hours starting at 10 a.m. Bring your own cleaning supplies (gloves, bags, etc.) if possible.    The Place 2 Be will provide breakfast for volunteers at 9, but meet at the restaurant (615 Franklin Ave) for that.
  • Civil War POW Walk: Meet at Cedar Hill Cemetery for a tour beginning at 10 a.m. They say: “Evelyn Bollert will lead visitors on a tour of the final resting places of prisoners of the Civil War and tell their stories of bravery, resilience and heartbreak.” General admission is $5. Cedar Hill Cemetery Foundation and Let’s Go Arts members get in free.
  • Tree Tour: learn about trees in Elizabeth Park. This free tour begins at 10 a.m. Meet at the Cottage.
  • Tainted Inc Cleanout Sale: clothes, birdcages, trunks, and more for sale at 56 Arbor Street. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Community Health & Wellness Fair: free health screenings, along with information about financial planning, homeownership, and injury prevention. This is from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Simpson-Waverly School (55 Waverly Street).
  • Hartford Preservation Alliance Kitchen Tour: view the kitchens of five historic homes in the West End. $25. This is a self-guided tour from 10 a.m. — 3 p.m.
  • hARTsem DAYS: Today is the second in a two-day celebration of arts and spirituality at the Hartford Seminary. The day begins at 10 a.m. and lineup of events includes spoken word, violin performance workshops and lectures, food trucks, labyrinth tours, art displays, and more. Most of this is free, but the Hassan El Jai performance has a fee. Events occur in various locations in the Sherman and Lorraine Street area.
  • Yoga in the Park: Yoga taught in English and Spanish in Pope Park near the pond, 11 a.m. Bring your own mat/towel. Free.
  • Active Hope: a workshop at Toivo (399 Franklin Avenue) from 12-5 p.m. They say: “Do you feel overwhelmed by what is happening in the world? Are you troubled by the presidential race, the climate crisis, racial injustice, the opioid epidemic, discrimination against people who are in recovery, and other problems we are facing today? Do you feel sad, angry, afraid, and even hopeless at times? Instead of giving up or numbing out, you have another choice: Active Hope. Active Hope is a practice that supports us as active participants in the healing of our world. It does not require optimism, so we can apply it even in areas where we feel hopeless.” Space is limited, so reserve your spot by contacting Laura: lle@advocacyunlimited.org or calling her at (860) 296-2338 ext. 104. Suggested donation: $5.
  • Family Yoga Workshop: This free family yoga and meditation class can help you learn how to de-stress and get healthy as a family. The workshop begins at 2 pm in the Youth Program Room on the third floor of the Hartford Public Library. Please call 860-695-6330 to register.

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August 2016 Events in Hartford

August 1

  • Free yoga in Bushnell Park at 5:30 p.m. Bring your own mat and water; wear comfortable clothing. Meet on the lawn between the pond and Pump House. When that’s over. . .
  • Monday Night Jazz continues on Bushnell Park for three Mondays in August, starting with the Joshua Bruneau Quintet at 6 p.m. The Yosvany Terry Quartet headlines at 7:30. This is free. You can bring picnics, blankets, chairs, and well-behaved, leashed dogs into the park. Listen to WWUH 91.3 FM for the live broadcast or to learn if rain has moved the event indoors.
  • Masterpiece Monday: The Art of Becoming the Woman I Am Meant To Be: Today’s facilitated event at Toivo (399 Franklin Ave.) is being called an “In-Door ‘Drive-in Movie.” Showing: Fried Green Tomatoes. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own comfy chairs and healthy snacks. This is from 6:30-8 p.m. and admission is a suggested donation of $5. Email Linda llentini@advocacyunlimited.org to register.

August 2

  • Throughout August, stop by the youth-run pop up neighborhood market at 5 Corners (Garden, Westland, etc.), 3-6 p.m. on Tuesdays.
  • The West End Farmers’ Market offers produce, prepared foods, and other locally-produced goods every Tuesday, 4-7 p.m. on Clemens Green. This is near the Twain House on Farmington Avenue.
  • Free yoga in Elizabeth Park at 5:30. Bring your own yoga mat and water; wear comfortable clothing. Meet on the lawn near the rose garden.
  • World of Sounds: Caribbean Vibe Steel Drum Band. Free performance at the Hartford Public Library’s Albany Branch (1250 Albany Ave.) from 6-7 p.m.
  • Real Art Ways hosts its “Real Board Games” night in the lounge starting at 6. This is free and they supply the games, but you can also bring your own.

August 3

  • Stowe Salons at Lunch meets at noon. Discuss the social justice issues currently in the news. This is free. Bring your own lunch. The Stowe Center loves reservations: 860.522.9258, ext. 317.
  • The Mercado food truck is going to be at Little River Restoratives (405 Capitol Avenue) starting at 3 p.m.
  • Free yoga in Bushnell Park at 5:30 p.m. Bring your own mat and water; wear comfortable clothing. Meet on the lawn between the pond and Pump House.
  • GET HYPEd, a casual networking event for young professionals and entrepreneurs, will be at the Rocking Horse Saloon (181 Ann Street), 5:30-8:30. Check out a bar you might not normally visit, meet new people, and have some snacks. Free to attend, but bring cash/card for beverages. Don’t forget your business cards.
  • Experience the final Carillon concert of the season at Trinity College, today at 7 p.m. Andy Zhang of Oregon will be supplying the music. You supply a lawn chair or blanket, and your picnic. If you arrive early, you can take a tour of the Trinity College Chapel at 6 p.m. The event is free. Seating is on the lawn by the Chapel. . . look for all the other people.
  • Beatles Forever concert on the Rose Garden Lawn of Elizabeth Park, 6:30-8 p.m. Bring a blanket, lawn chair, and picnic. Get there early! The easiest way to access the park during the Summer Concert Series is via bicycle or foot. If it rains, this will be rescheduled to August 4.
  • MakeHartford Open House with Show & Tell: see what’s new at the makerspace in Parkville. You won’t get a hard sell to become a member if you really are just someone who is curious about the space. Wander in from 6:30-9 p.m. at 30 Arbor. The space(s) are on the basement level. Free to attend.

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Pay to Play

It used to be highly controversial to ask families to pay for their children to participate in public school sports, but the visceral anger has more or less dwindled as practicality has won out. In the same way, some of the “freebies” in Hartford that have become traditions — parades, summer movie nights, ice skating — have been revealed as costing more than is fair to pass along to the taxpayer in a time when important services have been slashed.

The reactions have varied. Some did little more than create a hashtag. Others have taken more vocal and fruitful actions.

In April, Real Hartford suggested that events like Envisionfest and Winterfest charge a modest admission fee for out-of-town users. No word on if anyone will take up that suggestion, but it stands. Meanwhile, those hoping to hang on to Winterfest activities, like ice skating in Bushnell Park, have started a crowdfunding campaign. As of publication, it has collected $200 toward its $200,000 goal.