Archive for the ‘Chester CT Events’ Category

Celebrate Winter at 26th Annual Carnivale

In Chester CT Events on January 8, 2017 at 12:01 pm

 The townspeople of Chester are eagerly looking forward to their 26th annual winter celebration, Chester Winter Carnivale, on Sunday, February 19.

Chester CT winter carnivale tractor parade John Stack 95

That’s when the picturesque small town of Chester is filled with people cheering on ice carvers as they create beautiful sculptures from blocks of ice, while laughing at the antics of street performers and applauding a long parade of new and antique tractors being driven down Main Street by their proud owners. All that, and food, music, art, and shopping too!

The day begins at 10:30 a.m. when the carvers get started on their ice sculptures. Both professional and student ice carvers will be hard at work, demonstrating their techniques to onlookers while they try to be finished by 1 p.m. for judging.

Meanwhile, the Chester Hose Company, Inc. is holding its 16th annual “Chilly Chili Cook Off” fundraiser. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., go to the Chester Hose Company Fire House at 6 High Street and pay your $5 admission so you can taste all the different chilis cooked and dished out by restaurants, caterers and fire departments. You can vote for your favorite fire department chili, favorite restaurant chili, most original chili, and best dressed chili serving table. Beverages will be sold. All proceeds go to the Chester Hose Company.

Still hungry? There’s pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, soups, and lots more available inside and outside the restaurants in town. Also, popcorn and kettle corn!

Just be sure to be back out on Main Street by 2 p.m. for the 15th Annual Chester Tractor Parade. Colorful and rusty, big and small, antique and new, decorated and plain – tractors are driven through the town center in an incredibly long parade. You never knew there were so many tractors in the Connecticut River Valley!

There is no shortage of free activities to keep the whole family entertained for the day. Colorful beads and balloons will be handed out throughout town all day and face painting is available. The Chester Museum at The Mill will be open at no charge, offering a place to explore Chester history.

Galleries and shops will be open, many with special events. The Spring Street String Band, Arrowhead, will be playing from noon to 2 p.m. at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery. Winter sales will be going on at a number of stores.

Chester Winter Carnivale is held rain or snow or shine. Main Street will be closed to traffic. Free parking is available in the commuter lot on Rte. 148 at the foot of Route 9 and in the Roto-Frank parking lot on Inspiration Lane (exit 6) and at Greenwald Industries on Rte. 154 (212 Middlesex Avenue). (Follow the signs.) All lots will be served by courtesy shuttle buses to the town center.

For more information, go to

Celebrate Community & Hospitality at Dec. 2 Holiday Festival

In Chester CT Events on November 17, 2016 at 7:32 pm

The annual Starry Night Holiday Festival in Chester Center on Friday, Dec. 2, is a time for celebration, caroling, shopping, eating, and meeting up with friends and neighbors.

The picturesque historic village will be beautifully decorated for the holidays and the streets will be lined with luminaries made by the Boy Scouts. Saint Lucia Girls will walk around offering cookie treats. Carolers will stroll through the village on their way to the town’s Christmas tree, which will be lighted at 6 p.m. while the community gathers for a sing-along. This year’s tree is being cut down on Camp Hazen property and decorated with “gratitude” hearts created by Chester’s schoolchildren.


Two of the ornaments created by Chester’s children for the town tree, expressing something they’re grateful for.

All evening, the shops and galleries will offer light refreshments and beverages while you shop and browse. The annual Postcard Show, where all art is 4×6 inches or smaller, will open at the Chester Gallery. Stop in for champagne while perusing the postcard-sized creations by local artists. The Maple and Main Gallery will be serving wine and cookies during the evening while visitors view the new Holiday Exhibit of over 200 paintings and sculptures by 53 Connecticut artists as well as a solo show in the Stone Gallery of Janine Robertson’s oil paintings.

The Arrowhead String Band will be playing at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Gallery, providing holiday entertainment as you enjoy Leif’s recent paintings.

The Matt Austin Studio welcomes Hilary Robertson, author of many internationally acclaimed style books such as “The Stuff of Life.” Bring her one interior design question to solve during her visit at the studio, between 6:30 and 9 p.m.

The chefs at the Guest House Retreat and Conference Center will be making their signature cranberry oatmeal cookies for Holiday Festival visitors.

The chefs at the Guest House Retreat and Conference Center will be making their signature cranberry oatmeal cookies for Holiday Festival visitors.

With all the shops open for the evening, this is an ideal time to shop for gifts for everyone on your list, from your pets at Strut Your Mutt to your aspiring chefs at The Perfect Pear. Dina Varano is showcasing her sterling silver necklaces that evening and Mandy Carroll-Leiva will introduce Leiva Jewelry’s Holiday Collection at the Lori Warner Studio & Gallery.

Jan Cummings and Peter Good introduce their 2017 Calendar at C&G while giving away their holiday wrapping paper and “Change Chance” notecards. At The French Hen, enjoy the holiday-themed refreshments and 10% off gift certificates, and as usual complimentary gift wrapping on all gifts.

This one evening of the year, Nourish Organics Skincare at 6 Main Street (in the beautifully redecorated Chester Bank building) is open with a prize drawing and give-away samples of its products, plus sales of gift sets of skincare products.

And then, of course, there’s apparel, and accessories, and more jewelry, and stocking stuffers of all types, and so much more available throughout the enticing shops and galleries of Chester.  And on top of all this, the Holiday Shopping Extravaganza is happening at the Chester Meeting House during the evening!

Free parking is available in the Water Street and the Maple Street parking lots, both a short walk to the center. Continually updated information about all the Starry Night happenings can be found at

Holiday Market Begins Nov. 27

In Chester CT Events on November 8, 2016 at 5:42 pm

holiday-market-card-genericGet ready for four Sundays of Chester Holiday Market!

The Sunday Market we all love returns at this time of year with the Holiday Market, bringing sidewalk shopping for fresh seafood, pork, beef, vegetables, jams, jellies, cheese, bread, and much more.  Shopping hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. All the details are here:


Some of what you’ll find during Holiday Market:

Nov. 27 is Ringing in the Season, and here's one of the bellringers!

Nov. 27 is Ringing in the Season, and here’s one of the bellringers!


Cookie ornament decorating at Simon's!

Cookie ornament decorating at Simon’s!

The Hay House brings winter produce, jams, jellies, and more.

The Hay House brings winter produce, jams, jellies, and more.

Local Catch comes with just-caught seafood.

Local Catch comes with just-caught seafood.

Glen Dona makes pizza!

Glen Dona makes pizza!


Chester’s Own “Antiques Roadshow” on Nov.12

In Chester CT Events on November 7, 2016 at 5:41 pm

You’ve been saving those treasures for a long time, thinking you’ll leave them to your kids (or maybe you’re waiting for the right time to sell them). Aren’t you curious to know what they are worth?

Tom Perry has decades of experience as an antiques dealer, collector and appraiser

Tom Perry has decades of experience as an antiques dealer, collector and appraiser

It’s easy to find out! The Chester Historical Society presents its 13th Antiques & Jewelry Appraisal on Saturday, Nov. 12, from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Ten professionals will be on hand to give verbal appraisals  – whether it’s your grandfather’s violin, the painting you picked up for a song at an estate sale, a cherry side table, the quilt made by your great-great-grandmother, the family Bible, silver spoons, a gold bracelet or your uncle’s pocket watch…

Four of the appraisers are generalists, meaning they deal with the full range of antiques. With decades of experience as professional appraisers, they’ve seen it all. They are: Norman and Linda Legassie of Stepping Stones Antiques and Collectibles in Old Saybrook; Peggy Maraschiello of Riverwind Antiques in Deep River; and Tom Perry of One of a Kind Antiques (

Norman Legassie, generalist

Norman Legassie, generalist

Three are jewelry experts. They are: Garry Craig of The Timekeeper in Wallingford (watches as well as clocks); Paul Indorf of Connecticut Jewelry Appraisers (fine jewelry, gemstones); and Gay Sherman Weintz (vintage and antique costume jewelry).

Paul Indorf, CT Jewelry Appraisers

Paul Indorf, CT Jewelry Appraisers

Kevin Timme, of Madison, will appraise silver; Orville Haberman of CT River Books in Deep River will appraise books and ephemera; and John Newman of Deep River (American-made glass and oil and electric lamps).

John Newman specializes in American glass.

John Newman specializes in American glass

Each attendee may bring up to three separate items to be appraised. (A collection, such as a set of silver flatware, is considered one item.) If the item is too large to carry, bring photographs (if it’s a table or dresser, bring in a drawer too). Verbal appraisals will cost $10 for the first item; $20 for 2 items; or $25 for 3 items. All proceeds will benefit the nonprofit Chester Historical Society and its work on the Chester Museum at The Mill.

Orville Haberman, CT River Books

Orville Haberman, CT River Books

St. Joseph’s Parish Center is at 48 Middlesex Avenue (Rte. 154) in Chester. There is ample parking and handicapped access. Lots of seating and free coffee and tea are available while you wait. More information, including directions to the event, is on the website,, or email your questions to You may also call 860-558-4701 with specific questions.

Kick off November with First Friday in Chester, Nov. 4

In Chester CT Events on November 1, 2016 at 8:39 pm
first friday logo 3Chester celebrates First Friday on Friday, Nov. 4, beginning at 5  p.m.

Here’s a sampling of some of the evening’s events.

Homage Fine Art & Coffee is hosting a pop-up fashion show debuting Cait Shea Designs’ ready-to-wear collection of women’s sweaters. The show will be held outside in front of Homage, at 6 p.m., and will include a designer meet-and greet reception inside afterwards.

Keeping on the subject of warm clothes for women, Lark, at 4 Water St., will feature a demonstration of the many ways to wear its “magic” capes, beginning at 5 p.m.

Cummings & Good's new desk calendar/planner is now at C&G. Stop in on Friday night to see this year's edition.

Cummings & Good’s new desk calendar/planner is now at C&G. Stop in on Friday night to see this year’s edition.

Blackkat Leather, at 1 Main St., will be featuring Debbie Burt and her hand-blown glass art during the evening. Stop by and check out her amazing ornaments, vases, paperweights, cups, and more! In the same building, in the ELLE Design Studio, Theresa Zwart-Ludeman will exhibit her artwork: Watercolor to Digital, beginning at 5 p.m.

One of the photographs by members of Coastal Camera Club on exhibit at Maple & Main beginning Nov. 4.

One of the photographs by members of Connecticut Valley Camera Club on exhibit at Maple & Main in November.

A diverse selection of exceptional photographs will be shown during November in the Stone Gallery at Maple & Main Gallery. The work of members of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club will be on display from Nov. 2 through the 30 with a reception Friday, Nov. 4 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

At 1 Spring Street, the Leif Nilsson Gallery will exhibit Leif’s latest crop of paintings of the garden and the river. His band will be playing beginning at 5 p.m.

The Dina Varano shop will be highlighting its favorite finds from artisans around the world: from vintage woven rugs from South America to beautifully carved Nupe stools from Africa. Art has the ability to unite people from all continents!

The Dina Varano shop will be highlighting its favorite finds from artisans around the world: from vintage woven rugs from South America to beautifully carved Nupe stools from Africa. Art has the ability to unite people from all continents!

And there will be more! Come and enjoy all that Chester Center offers this First Friday of November. Watch for updates.




Romance in Maine Portrayed at Meeting House

In Chester CT Events on October 17, 2016 at 5:06 pm
meeting-house-players-tinyThe Meeting House Players will  present John Cariani’s witty, romantic comedy “Almost Maine” this fall.

The production opens on Friday, Oct. 28 and continues on Oct. 29 and on Nov. 4 & 5,  at the Chester Meeting House.  The curtain rises each evening at 8 pm and at 2 pm for a matinee performance on Saturday, Nov. 5.

“Almost Maine” is a succession of nine romantic vignettes, set on a cold, clear midwinter night in the mythical town of Almost, Maine.  As the northern lights drape across the night sky, the residents of Almost find themselves falling in and out of love in unanticipated and often hilarious ways. The ensemble cast features five talented performers: Sue Kessler, Betsy McHaley, Jacob Nadeau, Hunter Parker and Adam Pipkin.  The production is directed by Debbie Alldredge.

Tickets for “Almost Maine” are on sale now.  Tickets prices are $20 for Preferred Seating tickets and $15 for Open Seating tickets.  Reservation requests for both Preferred and Open seating are available by calling 860-526-3684 or by e-mail at  Unreserved tickets will be available at the door.

For additional information please contact Debbie Alldredge at  The Meeting House Players is a not-for-profit community theatre organization.

Chocolate Chip Cookies & Wine & Art & Music – “Come Home” Oct. 7

In Chester CT Events on September 22, 2016 at 10:29 am

Keith Stewart, chef at Camp Hazen YMCA, is making chocolate chip cookies – 100s of them – for Come Home to Chester night!

The town of Chester presents its annual “Come Home to Chester” celebration on Friday evening, Oct. 7. Come stroll through the shops and galleries of quaint Chester village while munching on chocolate chip cookies made by the chef of Camp Hazen YMCA and sampling wines or sipping apple cider. (All the comforts of home on a New England fall evening!)

The French Hen’s theme for the evening is fragrance. “Fragrance has the power to evoke a memory, change a mood or unlock a new experience,” says Laurie McGinley, the shop’s owner, who says the shop will be debuting a new line, Peacock Parfumerie, and will have a drawing for one of their beautiful scented candles. Chester Package Store will do a wine tasting on the front porch of The French Hen (14 Main St.).

LARK is featuring coziness – as in cozy, colorful home accessories, such as quilts, rugs, towels and pillows. Sign up to win a gift while exploring all the comforts of home featured in the newly expanded shop at 4 Water St.

“An Exploration of Texture,” a new jewelry collection by Dina Varano, opens at the Dina Varano Gallery on Main Street on October 7. Since day one, texture has been a defining feature of Dina’s unique jewelry. Like an alchemist she transforms metal into meaningful works of wearable art: one of a kind, one at a time.

Artists Beverly Floyd of East Haddam and Maggie Bice, now of Virginia but originally Old Lyme, are old friends who share a sensibility that is lyrical, lighthearted and often quirky. This will be evident in their two-women show, “Go Figure” in Maple and Main’s Stone Gallery, opening with a reception on Oct. 7.

ELLE Design, at 1 Main St., invites you to sample the raw chocolates made by Aruna Chocolate and learn how to pair them with wine. Look for Deborah Vilcheck, a Chester-based mortgage loan originator with Nations Reliable Lending, who will have 50 apple pies to hand out to visitors. “I love Chester and this is a great way to celebrate our town,” Deb says.

Even your dogs are welcome at Yappy Hour at Strut Your Mutt on Main Street, with treats for them and you.

Live music will be at the Pattaconk 1850 Bar & Grill on Main Street, and the Homage Fine Art & Coffee Lounge (16 Main St.) features Teen Open Mic Night from 7 to 9 p.m.

Everything is within walking distance from the Maple Street and Water Street free public parking lots.

Chester Artists Donate Works to Chester Library Raffles

In Chester CT Events on September 21, 2016 at 5:46 pm
"September Light" by Deborah Quinn-Munson

“September Light” by Deborah Quinn-Munson


Chester is a town of many creative people who are generous with their talents.

The annual Chester Artists for the Chester Library Raffle has been the grateful beneficiary of those creative talents for the past few years.

This year there are actually three 2016 Chester Artists for the Chester Library Raffles – one for a painting by Deborah Quinn-Munson, another for a butcherblock cutting board handcrafted by Stephen Bradley of Pondside Kitchens, and the third for a blanket, made by the Kid Knitters of the Chester Library. Raffle tickets are just $2.00 each.

Deborah Quinn Munson donated her pastel painting, “September Light,” to the raffle. The painting, 12” x 18”, framed and under museum glass, depicts the Connecticut River. Deborah says, “I am lucky to be on the river occasionally and never tire of creating paintings inspired by those beautiful colors, reflections and skies.”

She adds, “When I paint, I am interested in bold color, energetic line, and strong composition to convey a powerful image filled with atmosphere and light. I enjoy the contrast between the spirited execution of a painting and the serenity and peacefulness of the scene. Clear brush and pastel strokes have become an important aspect of my work and bring vitality and movement to the painting.” Deborah is an elected Signature Member of The Pastel Society of America, Connecticut Pastel Society and the Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod. Her work is in many private and corporate collections throughout the country.

Butcherblock Cutting Board by Pondside Kitchens

Butcherblock Cutting Board by Pondside Kitchens

Stephen Bradley is a kitchen designer and owner of Pondside Kitchens & Hearth on Water Street in Chester. He also loves to create cutting boards in his woodworking shop. He explains, “I like to focus on boards that are functional rather than just decorative. The board for the library is made from side-grain Maple, Cherry and Black Walnut. These are all food-safe native hardwoods. The finish is food-safe as it is polished with Carnauba Wax, a very hard and water-resistant finish. It is a wax made from the leaves of the palm Copernicia prunifera, a plant native to and grown only in the northeastern Brazilian states of Piauí, Ceará and Rio Grande do Norte.” His Butcherblock Cutting Board for the library is 10″ x 16″ x 1-1/2″.

Knitted Squares Blanket by Chester Library Kid Knitters

Knitted Squares Blanket by Chester Library Kid Knitters

The third raffle item is the Knitted Squares Blanket, created by the Kids Knitters who meet on Saturday mornings at the library under the guidance of experienced needle worker Anne Winslow. Reminiscent of the Gees Bend quilts, this charming lap warmer is a medley of stitches, yarns, and colors and measures 33” x 57”.

Kim Stack, parent organizer of the knitters, says, “The nature of the randomness is what makes this a unique piece. The colors chosen for the squares were personal decisions for the kids who knitted them. The textures of the yarns represent the journey each knitter took when sampling how the yarn felt to the touch, how it felt while working with it on the knitting needles, and how it looked as a finished piece. Out of their exploration of yarns, and the satisfaction of beginning and ending a knitted piece quickly (hence ‘squares’), came this one-of-a-kind blanket made of various shapes, textures and colors. The Chester Kids Knitters, ranging from preschool to sixth grade, are immensely proud of their individual efforts coming together to form this collaborative piece.”

The Chester Library is proud of the knitters as well, for their Knitted Squares Blanket won a blue ribbon at the Chester Fair in August.

All three items can be seen at the library or at Tickets are just $2.00 each. If you’d like to buy a ticket and cannot get to Chester, please write: Friends of Chester Public Library, 21 West Main St, Chester, CT 06412, and enclose your check or cash for tickets, along with a stamped self-addressed envelope and your phone number. The winning tickets will be drawn at the library on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 11. Winners need not be present to win.

All proceeds from the raffles go directly to Chester Library needs not covered by tax dollars, such as movies, museum passes, programs, and special purchases such as comfortable reading chairs.

Lobster & Steak & Dancing – This Saturday Night!

In Chester CT Events on September 6, 2016 at 6:13 pm

rotary-lobster-promo-photo-2016The Rotary Club of Chester’s 46th Annual Lobster Festival  will be held at the Chester Fairgrounds on Saturday, September 10. Tickets are on sale now!

The event is highlighted by classic double entree dinners featuring Twin Lobster, Twin Steak, or Surf and Turf and single entrée Lobster or Steak dinners. Traditional sides include corn on the cob, baked potato, coleslaw and rolls.  The gates will open at 4:00 pm for table decorating and general admission.  Dinners will be served from 5 to 7 pm.   Soft drinks, bottled water, draft beer and wine are available for sale throughout the night.   Live music for your dancing and listening pleasure will be provided by Four Barrel Billy with the Bottom of the Barrel Singers until closing at 10 p.m.

Admission tickets for twin lobster or twin steak or surf and turf dinner tickets are $40 in advance, $45 for remaining tickets at the gate. Single lobster or steak dinner tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the gate.  Access to the Lobster Festival is restricted to dinner ticket holders. Seating is limited, so please purchase early.

Tickets are available at the following Chester locations; LARK, Chester Package Store, Chrisholm Marina and Chester Bottle Shop; from any Chester Rotarian; and on-line at and

Join friends and family for a memorable evening of great food, good fun and live music!

First Friday, Sept. 2, Brings Pop Up Fashion, Music & Art

In Chester CT Events on August 24, 2016 at 2:25 pm

Start off your Labor Day weekend with First Friday in Chester Center. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find between 5 and 8 p.m.

Lavarack - SAILING ON THE SOUND resize

“Sailing on the Sound”

Maple and Main Gallery will mark First Friday with a free drawing for “Sailing on the Sound,” a wonderful summer painting by former Connecticut artist Gary Lavarak. Stop by the gallery for a glass of wine and enter the drawing; the winner’s name will be drawn during the opening of the fall exhibit Saturday, Sept. 17.


Start gathering at 6:45 p.m. in front of ELLE Design at 1 Main Street for the Pop Up Fashion Show of RUBA RUBA Designs, a clothing line designed and handmade by Georgia Caroline Milton, an Essex, CT, native. The fashion show of the new fall line of RUBA RUBA (kimono jackets, cowl scarves, sheet scarves, ponchos & more) will run from 7 to about 7:15, and then you can enjoy the designer meet and greet as well as purchase items from the ready-to-wear line. Georgia graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2012 majoring in fibers and experimental fashion. She began RUBA RUBA after graduating and has been cultivating it ever since through her hard work and passion for quality, handmade style.

Crunchy Diva Designs

At the newly expanded Lark at 4 Water Street, Heather Wright of Crunchy Diva Designs will help you design a one-of-a-kind bracelet from her array of adornments. Come on over for the “bracelet bar party.” Make your own or find your favorite from those created by the Crunchy Diva.

Also on First Friday is Teen Open Mic Night at Homage Fine Art and Coffee Lounge. Sing, play music, read poetry, do stand-up comedy or perform an improve act! It all begins at 6 p.m. on Friday.

Follow us on to learn what else will happen that evening.