Archive for the ‘Chester CT Events’ Category

Chester “Walking Song” Video Wins Gold!

In Chester CT Events, Walking on April 17, 2016 at 3:08 pm

For years, the town of Chester knew the state was requiring that the Main Street Bridge be rebuilt, and this caused a lot of angst among merchants, selectmen, and residents. How would we cope with keeping the town center viable and reachable? Would the shops, restaurants and galleries continue to attract customers? Where would people park?

The selectmen required that the state do the reconstruction from the beginning of January 2016 until Memorial Day, to get it over with before summertime shopping and the Chester Sunday Market began. The town’s Economic Development Commission created a “Survival Guide” and held several planning meetings in an effort to minimize the impact on the business district.

Janet Cummings and Peter Good created the "Walking Town" decal and pewter ornament.

Janet Cummings and Peter Good created the “Walking Town” decal and pewter ornament.

Then, last fall the Chester merchants decided to meet the challenge head on. With a small group of creative merchants, Leslie Strauss wrote and recorded “The Chester Walking Song,” saying, “We are all so busy getting in shape on treadmills that we forget how much more enjoyable it is to get out there and ‘walk about.’ Chester Village shops, galleries and restaurants are, and will continue to be, more easily accessed than the average mall store. With parking lots within 70 steps, you can ‘walk right in and come hang out.’”

Annalisa Russell-Smith, of Chester-based Local Plant Productions, then volunteered to create a video of Chester Center with the song in the background.

Annalisa Russell-Smith filming in Chester Center. Photo by Al Malpa

Annalisa Russell-Smith filming in Chester Center. Photo by Al Malpa

As Leslie says, “Annalisa’s enchanting minute-long video reinforces the vibrancy of the village, and how accessible everything is to anyone willing to ‘walk right in, come hang out.’ The shops, galleries, restaurants and street scenes entice visitors of all ages to be sure to make Chester one of their New England favorites.”

This month, Annalisa’s video was selected for a Gold Award by the Hermes Creative Awards, an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing and design of traditional materials and programs, and emerging technologies. Hermes Creative Awards is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

For more information about Annalisa Russell-Smith, go to
Watch (and listen to) the Chester video here: More information about the Hermes Creative Awards here:

Chester Sunday Market – Season Opens in June

In Chester CT Events, Market on April 10, 2016 at 9:16 am

chester market 4It’s not too early to talk about the popular Chester Sunday Market.

The market organizers have already announced the dates for 2016 – June 12 to Oct. 9 – and have already provided a list of this year’s vendors (with more to come). If you want to be a vendor this year, be sure to look at the website (address below) for the forms you need to fill out.


In the words of the organizers: The philosophy of the Chester Sunday Market is to bring the community together with local products and to have a good time doing it. It is a weekly town-wide farmers’ market that brings our community together. We invite local vendors to sell produce, meats, cheeses, breads and so much more.  Our goal is to stay local so we can help the smaller farmers in the area. Having all these amazing vendors join us in our lovely little town is a great way to promote our community and see each other. Main Street is closed off for the market giving the patrons the freedom to walk about town. Music is provided along with a bistro area so you can sit and have a cup of coffee or a slice of pizza.    

Information about this year’s vendors is here.

Market hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

More information about the Chester Sunday Market at: and

sunday market

Take the Sticks Challenge to Create with 50-year-old Manicure Sticks

In Chester CT Events on March 22, 2016 at 11:41 am

sticks with factory photo webThe Chester Historical Society is inviting anyone who likes a challenge to participate in its sixth Creative Challenge linking Chester history and art.

This spring, those accepting the 2016 Sticks Challenge will be given a bagful of short wooden manicure sticks, made from Florida citrus trees and shaped at the Bishop and Watrous Novelty Works on Maple Street around 1950.

As with last year’s Hooked Again! Challenge based on hooks from Chester’s Simeon Brooks factory, this spring’s Sticks Challenge is for area artists, sculptors, photographers, engineers, jewelry designers, and all others with a creative mind.

In 2015, using one of the hardware items in his envelopes from the Brooks factory samples, Jack Baker made this piece of art. It was a huge hit with all the attendees at the Silent Auction Reception.

In 2015, using one of the hardware items in his envelopes from the Brooks factory samples, Jack Baker made this piece of art. It was a huge hit with all the attendees at the Silent Auction Reception.

The sticks are available at Chester Gallery in Chester Center (860-526-9822). The artists’ entrance fee of $30 includes a bagful of the sticks and two tickets to the Sticks Challenge Silent Auction & Reception on Saturday, April 9 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House.

All proceeds from the silent auction help the Chester Historical Society preserve Chester history and maintain the Chester Museum at The Mill.

For more info on the Historical Society and this year’s Creative Challenge, visit or

Marching to Chester Letterbox

In Chester CT Events on March 6, 2016 at 7:56 am

letterboxIf you have visited the town of Chester recently, you may have noticed that Main Street is closed to through traffic due to bridge reconstruction. It should be completed later this spring, but in the meantime, Chester’s motto is: “We’re a Walking Town!”  When I saw the stickers that proclaimed this, I knew I had to carve a stamp to celebrate it.  And when I saw that the Chester Merchants had monthly themes to encourage business during the construction, I knew that the March theme, Marching to Chester, was telling me when to plant!

To find the letterbox, make your way to a store named for a bird. It has a window box in one of its front windows.  Carefully check behind the window box…

If you are seeing this on AQ, you know what to do!

If you have obtained these clues elsewhere:

1) Carefully retrieve the box—try to be discreet!

2) If you have your own stamp, stamp into the logbook in the box. If not, feel free to sign your name/nickname/trail name and leave us a message J

3) Stamp the letterbox stamp image into your own logbook, if you have one, or on loose paper to save J

4) Replace everything as you found it! The only possible exception is if you find a “hitchhiker” inside the letterbox—this can be taken and placed in another letterbox.

If letterboxing sounds like fun, please visit the following websites for more info:

If you’re not from Chester—please be sure to check out our little town! Most of the shops, restaurants, and galleries are open during the construction, though not all are open every day.  Expect Sundays to be quite busy, and Mondays to be very quiet!

Happy Trails!



Chester Human Library Forum, March 6

In Chester CT Events on February 25, 2016 at 11:53 am

human library poster VNNThe town of Chester will be the home of a “first” in Connecticut – the first Human Library Forum – on Sunday, March 6.

Born in Denmark and brought to the Chester Public Library in 2014 by Sue Zirlen, the Human Library provides a place where the “books” are living people who volunteer to share their stories, passion and/or life experiences with members of the community.

On March 6, the Human Library Forum invites attendees to experience the world of “human books” first-hand by providing an opportunity for one-on-one conversations with a “book” that piques their interest.

The forum is being held at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester, in conjunction with the synagogue’s Books & Bagels monthly programs, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Following a brief introduction to the Human Library concept, attendees will have an opportunity for several 20-minute conversations with the “books.” The “book” titles are:

The Buzz in Chester – Backyard Beekeeping

Surviving and Thriving as an Adult College Student

The Ukelele

Patchwork and Quilting

Tap Your Trees!

Why Isn’t Our Economy Growing Faster?

Fantasy Sports

Nonviolent Communication

Eating Wheat and Gluten Free

Girl – Woman – Widow

The Human Library and Me

Sustainable Buddhist

Refugee – Filmmaker – Photographer

The Human Library Forum is free and open to all. Refreshments will be served during the morning. The forum will conclude around 11:30 a.m. Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) is at 55 East King’s Highway, off Rte. 154, in Chester.

For more information, call Chester Library at 860-526-0018 or CBSRZ at 860-526-8920 or visit

Chester Kids Share Their Love of Knitting, Feb. 28

In Chester CT Events on February 17, 2016 at 11:33 am

When Anne Winslow was age seven, her grandmother taught her how to knit. Now this Chester grandmother teaches children how to knit at the Chester Public Library on Saturday afternoons. kids knit with anne

The group has been growing and the 100-year-old library can get crowded. So the Kids Knitting group decided to share the art and fun of knitting with their friends.  They will hold a knitting event on Sunday, Feb. 28, from 12 to 2 p.m. at the Chester Museum at The Mill, during Chester’s “Always on Sunday” knit resize

The event is free and open to all. All children must have parental supervision.  Assistance will be provided for new knitters. Beginner supplies will be available, or please bring your own.

knitted squaresThis event also gives the Kids Knitting group a chance to spread the word about their Knitted Squares Blanket project. They are collecting their knitted squares to be sewn into a blanket, which they will donate to a charity.

For more information, call Chester Library at 860-526-0018 or visit

Always on Sunday in Chester – Valentine’s Day

In Chester CT Events on February 8, 2016 at 6:23 pm

Chester always loves a celebration, and what better day to celebrate than Sunday, Feb. 14, or before, so you can scoop up that perfect gift for your Valentine! Here are just a few possibilities. You can find more all week long on

dina varano 1

Dina Varano Gallery

Say Amore with Dina Varano’s Amore collection at her Main Street gallery as well as online . Dina says, “The Amore collection is a collection of pendants I create with a complimentary hand painted card. It’s always a favorite and a great gift for your Valentine.”

The Lori Warner Gallery has roses that last forever by Erika Barratt. “Each rose is thoughtfully made by hand and painted in watercolor on Kozo paper. Perfect for Valentine’s Day.” Don’t wait to purchase; contact the gallery at 860.322.4265 or

Lori Warner Studio/Gallery

Lori Warner Studio/Gallery

On Valentine’s Day itself, give yourself a gift. Come to Maple and Main Gallery of Art where mimosas and chocolates will be served, and you will be transported and inspired by the beautiful art in two new shows on the two floors of the gallery. Gift certificates are available as are many small paintings and unframed original art.

Mimosas and chocolates at Maple & Main Gallery

Mimosas and chocolates at Maple & Main Gallery


Two New Exhibits Open at Maple and Main Gallery; Reception on Jan. 30

In Art, Chester CT Events on January 22, 2016 at 3:01 pm

The Winter Exhibit and the first Annual Juried Show at Maple and Main Gallery open Wednesday, Jan. 27 with a gala reception Saturday, Jan. 30 from 6 to 8 p.m.

"LL Bean Slippers in Florida" by Claudia Van Nes

“LL Bean Slippers in Florida” by Claudia Van Nes

The Winter Exhibit, featuring newly created works from 40 Connecticut artists, fills the first floor of the gallery, while paintings by artists chosen for the juried show are displayed in the Joslow and Stone galleries on the lower level of Maple and Main.

The juror is noted artist Robert Noreika, who chose 85 works from hundreds of paintings artists from Connecticut and surrounding states submitted for the new show.

Visitors will be able to view a versatile selection of landscapes, seascapes, still lifes, abstracts and highly original work in both shows.

Alan James will provide live music during the opening party on Jan. 30, and wine, appetizers and desserts will be served. Many of the artists represented in the juried and winter shows will be at the event.

Maple and Main’s two shows run through March 13 and the gallery, at One Maple Street in Chester, is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Maple and Main artists are also showing 31 selected works at the Valentine H. Zahn Community Gallery at Middlesex Hospital’s Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook through March 18. That gallery is open during business hours every day.

Please visit the gallery on Facebook and on its website,

Behind the Scenes when “It Happened to Jane” – Jan. 31

In Chester CT Events on January 13, 2016 at 2:41 pm

“It Happened to Jane” never won an Academy Award or a Golden Globe, but as far as Chester folks are concerned, it’s definitely an award winner.

After all, the movie, which starred Doris Day and Jack Lemmon, was made right in the heart of Chester in the summer of ‘58 – in the Chester Meeting House and the Center and on Jennings Pond and by the railroad – and hundreds of Chester folks were movie extras. So whether you were there in 1958 or came to town later, the movie has every right to be a local treasure.

Ernie Kovacs and Jack Lemmon - right in Chester Center - in front of renamed-for-the-movie stores.

Ernie Kovacs and Jack Lemmon – right in Chester Center – in front of renamed-for-the-movie stores.

On Sunday afternoon, January 31 (postponed from Jan. 24 because of snow), the Chester Historical Society is offering you two opportunities to immerse yourself in “Jane” memories. Participate in one or both!

At 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 24, Chester Historian Rob Miceli and Peg Lieberman will lead a walking tour of Chester Center’s sites of interest from the movie. (It’ll be a very short walk, as Chester Center isn’t very big!) You’ll hear how Carmine Grote’s Appliance Store (now Compass Rose and Red Pepper) became Aaron Caldwell’s Fine Foods & Notions store for the movie. Bill Breslin’s package store (in The Villager building) was turned into a marine supply store. A wooden locomotive was built and moved into the parking lot now used by Chester Package Store, and parking meters were added to town. Jack Lemmon’s law office was above the old Robbie’s store and the Cape Anne, Maine, Telephone Exchange was above today’s Century 21 real estate office.

Several Chester builders constructed this wooden locomotive to be part of the "Jane" movie in 1958.

Several Chester builders constructed this wooden locomotive to be part of the “Jane” movie in 1958.

At 4 p.m., at the Chester Meeting House (used as the Cape Anne Town Hall in the movie), the Chester Historical Society is presenting one of its popular “crackerbarrel discussions,” with folks sharing their “Jane” memories. We’ll also view some of the Chester scenes from the movie.

The walk and the crackerbarrel program are free and open to all. Walkers should meet at the Century 21 Heritage office before 2:30 p.m. Parking is available at the 20 Water Street public parking lot and the Norma Terris Theatre on North Main Street.

Refreshments will be served during the movie. For more information, call 860-526-2331 or 860-558-4701 or go to

Always on Sunday Kicks Off – Jan. 17

In Chester CT Events on January 7, 2016 at 9:25 pm

Does January already have you feeling down? Come to Chester Center where the businesses are celebrating “Always on Sunday in Chester!” all winter and spring.

On Sunday, Jan. 17, there will be a watercolor demonstration at Maple and Main Gallery, an exhibit of miniature handmade wooden castle sculptures at Gallery 31-47, the annual winter sale at C&G Unparalleled Apparel, a concert at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery, the 20-foot-long Bloody Mary Bar at the Pattaconk, and more fun throughout the Chester Center businesses. Stop in for hot drinks on this “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” January day – hot cider at Ceramica, hot tea at Maple & Main and Dina Varano, hot chocolate on a stick at Lark….

Bivenne-demo - Maple & Main web

At Maple and Main Gallery, at noon, artist Bivenne will give an informal demonstration in watercolor focusing on enhancing the element of light in a painting. Bivenne will also point out this effect in a few of the works in the gallery in a short stroll and chat preceding her demonstration at 11:30 a.m. A noted artist and popular local watercolor instructor, Bivenne has won multiple prestigious awards. Her work is widely collected and her demonstrations always informed and illuminating. Enjoy three kinds of tea and cookies at the gallery while enjoying the gallery talk and demonstration.

Bill Vollers, owner of Gallery 31-47 in Chester, will exhibit the work of his brother, Geoffrey Vollers, who owns a studio in Rockland, Maine. Geoffrey’s miniature castles have been displayed in the windows of Tiffany & Co in New York. His work, which also includes painting and stained glass windows, has been shown in numerous galleries and in private collections.

Geoffrey Vollers castles 1a

Also in Chester on Jan. 17 from 4 to 6 p.m., bluesman Ramblin’ Dan Stevens and Clayton Allen will play at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery. In a melding of diverse blues styles, Stevens and Allen have forged a unique sound, representing a wide variety of traditionally based fingerpicking with a tinge of primitive blues and early blues rock and roll. A $20 donation is requested at the door. BYOB. More info at

Parking isn’t an issue! If you drive into town on Rte. 148 (West Main Street/Water Street), free parking is available at First Niagara Bank and the town lot at 20 Water Street; and also at Norma Terris Theatre on North Main Street. If you drive into town from Rte. 154 and Main Street, park at the Maple Street or Laurel Hill Cemetery parking lots.

Stay informed about Always on Sunday happenings through;


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