The 2014 Daniel Barden Highland Mudfest was held last weekend, and more than 1,100 people paid to run, walk, and romp in the mud for a few hours in New York. A large percentage of that number were people from Newtown, including the immediate family of the event’s namesake. The Daniel Barden Mudfest was created last year to honor and celebrate the life of Daniel Barden, one of the children killed on 12/14. The event was launched by Dan Williams, a family friend of the Bardens who came up with the event while seeking a way to support the family. The 5K obstacle race also offers a half-mile Half Pint Kids’ Fun Run for ages 5-12, as well as an additional five-mile timed Mud Run for elite athletes. Mark Barden said the idea of helping others, especially strangers, through the course was part of the plan. “It’s pretty much impossible to do this alone,” said Mr Barden. “This idea of helping hands was designed right into the course. And that goes right into our little Daniel’s spirit of being a little helper, and looking out for the people around him."
For the fourth year in a row, Newtown High School Odyssey of the Mind team members are gearing up to offer the annual Bunny Watch, a fundraiser for the group to attend the World Finals of the problem-solving competition. Odyssey of the Mind is the largest intellectual competition in the world. Teams of up to seven students select and solve one of five long-term problems that they present at the annual state competitions. The top 30 teams in each competing state then head to World Finals, where teams from more than 30 countries come together in the spirit of international competition. This year’s Odyssey of the Mind World Finals will be held at the end of May in Ames, Iowa. A number of Newtown’s Odyssey of the Mind teams will be attending World Finals. This year’s Bunny Watch is set for 10 am to 4 pm, Friday, April 18, and Saturday, April 19. It is once again being held on the Fairfield Hills campus, behind Glander Field. Rides will cost $5 per person and each participant will be given a tally sheet to “count” each bunny seen along the path. Additional activities will also be offered during the two-day event, including an inflatable slide.
Fairfield County Chef’s Table, Extraordinary Recipes From Connecticut’s Gold Coast, released March 3 by Globe Pequot Press, is a book of recipes and photographs from more than 50 of Fairfield County’s restaurants, and the stories of the chefs behind the food. It is a collaboration by photographer Stephanie Webster, editor in chief and founder of CTbites.com, and Newtown native Amy Kundrat, who is the executive editor of that award winning website. The book builds on the brand recognition generated by CTbites, said Ms Kundrat. “About two years ago, I thought that a recipe book about the chefs and Fairfield County food scene would be great, so I pitched it to Pequot Press,” she said. It was an idea well received, and she set about determining who and what would be featured in the book. Fairfield County Chef's Table is one in a series of similar books published by Globe Pequot Press featuring cities and regions from across the country, with unique content by the authors.
WATERBURY — Whether a fan of the late, great guitar wizard Jimi Hendrix looking to see how some of the world’s best living axe wielders reimagined his work, or a perennial attendee to the Experience Hendrix Tour hoping to feel the magic Hendrix left behind when he passed away in 1970, ticket-holders easily got their money’s worth when the excursion pulled into Waterbury’s Palace Theater on March 29. Clocking in at nearly four hours, the crew for this stop included a somewhat subdued but nonetheless inspiring Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, the innovative Dweezil Zappa, left-handed blues rocker Eric Gales, as well as Texas guitar gods Doyle Bramhall II and Eric Johnson. Fourteen-year-old Stratocaster prodigy Noah Hunt and the long, blond and blistering work of Ana Popovic also flavored the diverse lineup.
The stories of a corporate executive who left his job to help break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy among inner city teens, an athlete who withstood racial hatred to break baseball’s color barrier, and the autobiographical story of a girl in first grade who tries to stay brave while her father is fighting in Vietnam are among 19 feature films, TV/Cable programs, and books for adults and young people being honored with Christopher Awards this year. Created in 1949, The Christopher Awards are presented to writers, producers, directors, and illustrators whose work affirms the highest values of the human spirit. Sandy Hook-based author Suzanne Collins and illustrator James Proimos, from Baltimore, Md., have been named winners of a 2014 Christopher Award for "Year of the Jungle: Memories from the Home Front," an autobiographical picture book written for children in kindergarten and up (Scholastic Press). The honorees were announced on April 2. The 65th annual presentation of the awards is scheduled to take place in New York on May 15.
Thirty-five participants did battle in two sections at the C.H. Booth Library on Saturday, March 29, for the title of 2014 Connecticut State Chess Champion. The tournament was organized by Glenn Budzinski of Newtown Chess Club and Derek Meredith of New Britain Chess Club. The championship section was won by National Master Gary Shure of Westport, with three wins and one draw in four games. Mr Shure was declared State Chess Champion, the third time he has won that title.
After Julie Allen Bridals marketing director and co-manager Lauren Morehouse spent a week, roughly eight hours in total, sorting through dresses, she had gathered 415 to be donated to the Believe in Me Empowerment Corporation’s Prom Dress/Formal Giveaway.The dresses were sorted, bagged, and gathered in a front section of Julie Allen Bridals on Friday, March 28, for Believe in Me Empowerment Corporation case manager Valerie DiNuzzo’s arrival. Ms DiNuzzo picked up and delivered the dresses for the Believe in Me Empowerment Corporation. “People have started donating personally because they saw what a great job Julie Allen Bridals did,” Ms DiNuzzo said. The Prom Dress/Formal Giveaway is set for Friday, April 4, in New Haven and will offer eighth grade girls attending formals and high school juniors and seniors attending proms who otherwise would not be able to afford dresses, the opportunity to select attire for their upcoming special events.