West End

Meet Your City: Square Pegs

This week, we are going to take a look at some of the off-kilter things that help give Hartford character. If anything has been overlooked, let us know about it in the comment section (read comment policy before posting).

Little Free Libraries

A brand new library on Oxford Street

Hartford has a number of brick-and-mortar libraries, between Hartford Public Library’s main building and branches, and those inside of the universities and colleges. We also have a bunch of Little Free Library boxes, with a new one opening on Oxford Street within the last week. In areas where there are no library branches, these honor system libraries can fill a gap. We’ve seen three in person — Oxford Street, Charter Oak Cultural Center, and TrinfoCafe — and have heard rumor of at least four others within city limits. On Laurel Street, there is a Little Free Pantry. (more…)

June 2017 Events in Hartford

June 1

  • Everyone knows it stinks when events are canceled because of funding problems. Instead of complaining, why not get creative and look at another way to fund events? Attend an information session for the new Hartford Community Access Grants program. They say: “These grants, which are designed to improve access to the arts for all citizens of Hartford, fund small, public events including concerts, celebrations and performances by local organizations with operating budgets of $100,000 or less.” Today’s session is 10-11 am at the Greater Hartford Arts Council (100 Pearl Street, 2nd floor). Register for the free event.
  • Toivo (399 Franklin Avenue) offers affordable yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10-11 am. They say: “Heartfelt and explorative classes. Students will experience fluid vinyasas combined with longer holdings to build strength, flexibility and improve balance. These Hatha style classes also incorporate meditation, centering and breath work. Every student is encouraged to find their own expression of each pose.” There’s a suggested $5 donation, but nobody is turned away for lack of funds.
  • Take a free tour of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch in Bushnell Park, 12-1:30 pm. The tours are flexible, so drop by any time. This involves climbing 96 steps. Bad weather cancels.
  • Eat, Drink & Donate: Fundraiser at The Flying Monkey Grill & Bar (20 Lindbergh Dr.) to benefit Friends of Keney Park. Food and cash bar. Live music provided by Live Music will be provided by Alvin Carter and Friends. 5-8 pm. Requested minimum donation is $10 per person. Contact Ms. Lyons at 860-729-2444 or friends_of_keney_park@yahoo.com for more info and/or to confirm your attendance.
  • Art After Dark: Mood Room. This Wadsworth Atheneum (600 Main Street) event celebrates the opening of Mika Tajima’s MATRIX 177 installation “After Life.” Music, activities, free snacks. Cash bar. Free admission for Hartford residents enrolled in the Wadsworth Welcome program. Not signed up yet? You can do that on-site. For everyone else, admission is $10 general or $5 for members. 5-8 pm. This also gets you admission to the film Mood Indigo which screens at 8 pm.
  • Greek Festival: live music, homemade Greek food, imports, authentic Greek dancing and guided church tours. 5-10 pm at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral (433 Fairfield Avenue). Free admission.
  • Why Preserve? Digitizing Stories: CT Latinos in WWI — This free event is from 6-7:30 pm in the Hartford History Center, located inside of Hartford Public Library. They say: “Dr. Harry Franqui-Rivera of Bloomfield College, New Jersey, will discuss opportunities for CT-based Latino WWI veterans and/or their families to bring memorabilia, photographs, and their oral stories to be collected, digitized, and interviews recorded at the Hartford History Center for incorporation into the Connecticut State Library’s digital collection. He will discuss why it is important to preserve this information and offer suggestions of what to bring to the digitization day that will take place at the Hartford History Center of Saturday, June 10. This program will be bilingual (English & Spanish).
  • Nails and Wagging Tails: $5 nail trim for dogs at Naturally Dogs and Cats (10 Trumbull Street), 6-8 pm.

June 2

  • Greek Festival: live music, homemade Greek food, imports, authentic Greek dancing and guided church tours. 11 am – 11 pm at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral (433 Fairfield Avenue). Free admission.
  • Art on the Streets is back for a few weeks at lunchtime in downtown. From 11:30-1:30, check out interactive and artistic experiences. Go to State House Square on Tuesdays and Pratt Street on Thursdays. Free.
  • Welcome New American Citizens: at 1 pm the Polish National Home (60 Charter Oak Avenue) is hosting US Federal Citizenship & Immigration Services for a naturalization ceremony for 60 new Americans. A buffet ($26.95 per person) follows the ceremony. Make reservations Call: (860) 247-1784 or email: asha@hartfordpnh.com
  • The 30th Connecticut LGBT Film Festival starts today! Center of My World screens at 7:30; opening gala reception at Trinity College follows the film. This is at Cinestudio (300 Summit Street). Admission is $20, with discounts available. A festival pass is $75.
  • CT Cage Match Finals: two improv teams — KnucklePuck and Winnipeg — compete. The audience votes to decide the winner. 8-9:30 pm at Sea Tea Comedy Theater (15 Asylum Street). Tickets: $10.

June 3

  • Free admission to Connecticut Historical Society (1 Elizabeth Street), 9-5. Today’s family program is the Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s Instrument Petting Zoo. Try out different musical instruments! Those sessions are at 10:30, 11, and 11:45.
  • Tree Walk: John Kehoe leads this walk through Cedar Hill Cemetery to feature its notable trees. 10 am- 12 pm. Free. Meet by the bridge along the entrance driveway. This is a Connecticut Trails Day event.
  • On the other side of Hartford, join walks in Keney Park for Connecticut Trails Day, 10 am – 12 pm. They say: “We will travel along the Leadership Trail through the Hemlock Gorge on former sheep paths and carriage roads, which lead to remote scenic features. See landscapes preserved since 1898 within this urban forest. Sights will include remnants of the Sylvan Court and fernery in Ten Mile Woods, sand dunes, wildlife and bird habitat. Sponsoring group leaders will share historic and contemporary images and maps to encourage discussion on the past, present and future of this extraordinary 694-acre historic park. The Project is actively working with community volunteers to restore trails. Please be prepared to walk on and off trail. Our adventure will conclude with fresh garden vegetables snacks at the greenhouse constructed by Keney Park Sustainability Project.” It can’t be said enough — this is a very wooded area, so dress appropriately to avoid bringing home ticks, etc. Rain will postpone the event. Meet up at the Keney Park House (use “183 Windsor Ave. Windsor, CT” as address for location). This is free, but call or email to pre-register– 860-333-8711 or keneyparksustainability@gmail.com.
  • The National Park Service offers free Coltsville Walking Tours at 10 am and 2 pm. Meet up with the park ranger at the monument in Colt Park inside the Wethersfield Avenue entrance. Tours do not happen if the weather is bad. Call (717) 856-9629 to have your questions answered.
  • Hartford Deportation Defense Boot Camp: This is a free event, with donations accepted. 10 am – 3 pm at 77 Huyshope Avenue. They say: “Come join neighbors in the Greater Hartford area to learn about defending our communities against deportations. Join a network of immigrants and allies working to make our communities safe for all. Information about Know Your Rights, the Hartford Rapid Response Network, accompaniment, and ways that folks can get involved in work happening locally to fight deportations. All are welcome to attend the event, immigrants and non-immigrants. Interpretation into Spanish will be provided for the event. Light lunch will be served!”
  • CPR/AED and First Aid Training: Learn to potentially save lives! This one-day training course will grant or renew certifications through the American Red Cross. Register, as there is limited space. The $65 registration fee also covers lunch. 10 am – 4:30 pm at MakeHartford (30 Arbor Street).
  • Greek Festival: live music, homemade Greek food, imports, authentic Greek dancing and guided church tours. 11 am – midnight at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral (433 Fairfield Avenue). Free admission.
  • One World Market hosts “family day.” They say that OWM is “multi ethnic food court at the CTfastrak Parkville Station.” We say that this is a fun, authentic, and non-hipster event. Taste food from Brazil, Guatemala, India, Jamaica, Laos and Thailand. Today’s market features face-painting, Nepalese dancing, soccer & tennis coaching, and a bouncy-house. 12-4 pm. Free. This is at 24 Francis Avenue.
  • The Connecticut LGBT Film Festival continues today with A Million Happy Nows, A Date for Mad Mary, and Handsome Devil. Ticket prices vary. This is at Cinestudio (300 Summit St.).

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April 2017 Events in Hartford, CT

April 6-9, 2017

April 6-9, 2017

April 1

  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance provides free tax help at Jumoke Academy’s middle school (339 Blue Hills Ave.), 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. for people who earned less than $54,000 in 2016. Book an appointment through 211.
  • Free First Saturday at Connecticut Historical Society (1 Elizabeth Street). Free admission to all museum galleries, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. There will be “traditional Finnish kid-friendly crafts” from 10-1.
  • Spring Greenhouse Sale: Purchase plants from the greenhouse at Elizabeth Park, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Cash or check only. Bring your own trays to carry out your purchases.
  • Qigong and Tea Ceremony: The qigong starts at 9:30 a.m.; tea and conversation at 10:30. They say: “Qigong is a 2,000-year-old practice from China which helps your body to heal itself naturally. Qigong can provide relief from anxiety, depression, and chronic fatigue. It can also improve balance and endurance. The practice involves gentle movement, breathing techniques, and focused intention. According to Chinese medicine, tea clears the mind and circulates the energy of the body. Scientists have found that tea strengthens the immune system.” Deron Drumm will be the instructor for this. They say that he, “has reshaped his life by incorporating intentional living practices. After years of struggling, he found peace and health when he stopped seeing himself as a victim and started to take ownership of his past and present actions. Qigong, yoga, meditation, healthy relationships, positive habits, and nutritious foods have allowed him to live his life free of the destructive behaviors he once engaged in.” This is at Toivo (399 Franklin Avenue). There is a suggested $5 donation. Nobody is turned away for lack of funds.
  • Next to Normal: If you are a student with a valid ID, get free admission today to the 2:30 p.m. performance at TheaterWorks (233 Pearl St.). They describe this play as: “The dad’s an architect; Mom rushes to pack lunches and pour cereal; their daughter and son are bright, wise-cracking teens. The Goodmans appear to be a typical American family, yet their lives are anything but normal. This brave and breathtaking contemporary musical takes an unflinching look at a family’s struggle with mental illness. Winner of three Tony Awards including Best Musical Score.” Call the box office to secure your seat!
  • Rally to Support Trans Youth: Gather at the Connecticut Supreme Court (231 Capitol Avenue) for this youth-led effort to protect and support transgender, gender-nonconforming, and queer youth. There are a number of organizations serving as host for this event: ACLU-CT, CT TransAdvocacy Coalition, GLSEN Connecticut, New Haven Pride Center, Norwich Free Academy GSA, OutCT, PFLAG Hartford, Triangle Community Center, and True Colors, Inc. This is from 2:30-4 p.m. If you have questions, contact connecticut@chapters.glsen.org 
  • Fools Fall in Love: A Musical Cabaret in Support of Nightfall 2017 — If you were wondering how to do a fundraiser, this is it. One performance after another, featuring: Greg & Julia Ludovici Pistell, Lindsey Fyfe, Keila Myles, Chion Wolf, John Gale, Tangsauce, Joey Batts, Daryl Sullivan, Kate Callahan, Mac Cherny, Gabrielle Witt & The Grace Girls, Greg Garcia, Robin Zaleski, and Matt Fleury. Tickets start at $40. This is at Christ Church Cathedral (45 Church Street), 7:30-10 p.m.
  • April Fools Day Massacre Show: Hanging Hills (150 Ledyard St.) will host The Island of Doubt and The Miths. $5 at the door. 8-11 p.m.

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Mardi Gras Parade Brings Joy to Rush Hour

Continuing the recent tradition of a Mardi Gras Parade, the Hartford Hot Several, along with Hartford’s Proud and  Somerville’s Boycott, brought loud and live music to the streets of Downtown Hartford during Tuesday’s evening rush hour. They were joined by TNMOT AZTRO dancers and Anne Cubberly’s giant puppets. (more…)

2017 Hartford Art Sled Derby

Started in 2013, Saturday’s event marked five years of people coming to Elizabeth Park to slide their creations down the hill, knowing often that their hard work would unravel mid-slope. Competitors of all ages strapped on helmets (sometimes) and tried their luck (more…)

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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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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