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More news has arrived from America Responds With Love, the charity organization that took on multiple pallets of stuffed animals donated to Newtown after 12/14, for distribution to others in need. You might remember that Richard McDonough of America Responds reported in July that 200 of the stuffed pillows and animals had been provided to Aurora, Colo., for healing purposes. Now Aurora is paying it forward, donating 100 of the stuffed animals to Cañon City, Colo., as that town recovers from devastating springtime fires. The stuffed animals and comfort pillows will be used by Cañon City to help people truly in need in that community.

There was some dodging from flying tents and paraphernalia during the sudden wind and rainstorm at the Newtown Arts Festival up at Fairfield Hills on Saturday, I hear, but all was calm on Sunday, when I was prowling the grounds. I saw lots of smiling faces and every booth seemed to have its share of visitors, as did the art demonstration and performance tents. I wrapped myself around Festival promoter Terry Sagedy’s ankles at one point, and overheard him telling a vendor that he was pretty darned pleased with the turnout. There was something shared between them, too, about a woman in a chicken cap and beak at the Friday evening Rooster Ball, too… Now that makes me sorry I missed it.

Crystal Cymbology, with Cynthia and Rick Quintanal, Jeanette Osborn, and other performers, raised $735 this past Saturday evening at a special benefit held at Sticks and Stones Farm. The benefit raised money to support the Dickinson Playground Memorial Garden, in honor of the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Pat Barkman called to tell me that she has published her e-book, Lieber, 240 pages of prose. The memoir is about love and grief, she says, and her life with her husband, Leon, who died last September 22, just 83 days before the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Pat says she is currently working on a hard copy edition to sell in bookstores, but in the meantime, Lieber is available online at www.amazon.com.

If the Community Building at Nunnawauk Meadows has been abuzz with activity lately, a visit to 3 Nunnawauk Road this weekend will unveil the reason behind it. The Residents Association of the housing complex will be presented its annual giant tag sale on Saturday and Sunday, September 28–29. The event will run from 9 to 3 pm, both days, and will include handmade birdhouses, handmade Halloween decorations, and fresh baked goods, in addition to jewelry, household items, games, linens, fine china, and even television sets.

If rumors of a cancelled Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot have had your shoes tied in knots, don’t worry. The Board of Trustees of the C.H. Booth Library is determined to see that the annual race goes on. Board member Jennifer Reilly volunteered at a recent special meeting to “lead the charge” on organizing the event, with a little help from her friends, while recognizing that they will miss the input of John Godin, who has served as race director in past years. John isn’t able to take on the task this year, but “The race is going to happen!” declared board members. The Turkey Trot is a big fundraiser for the library, and a popular community event. (Not to mention, the runners can then rationalize gobbling down a festive feast later in the day.)

Just be grateful it’s not a horse trotting after you. The State Supreme Court is poised to decide if horses are a naturally vicious species, as determined by a lower court last year. Lumping all horses as vicious could be a downturn for stables that offer riding lessons to children and make it difficult for horse owners to get insurance, say horse lovers. There’s no denying that some horses are happy to nip, but when I think vicious, I think wolf, coyote, bear, mountain lion, or some other creature with pointy gnashing teeth… not My Little Pony. Looks like it could be “Hi-Yo, Silver — away!” if the Supreme Court upholds that decision.

You don’t have to be a kid to get a kick out of meeting members of Newtown’s fire companies, ambulance corps, or underwater rescue squad. Representatives will be on hand at the 20th Annual Health Fair this coming Saturday, September 28. Lots of vendors and businesses will be there, and I’m betting there will be plenty of parents excited to see the demonstrations on how to safely secure a child seat into a vehicle. The fair runs from 9 am to 1 pm, at the Newtown Middle School on Queen Street.

I might mosey over to visit my friends Mary and Patrick at Queen Street Gifts & Treats, afterwards. Patrick tells me they are closing in on their first anniversary this fall, although I haven’t seen any fireworks yet.

It’s that time of year for apple picking and there are plenty of orchards in the area to choose from. It doesn’t take long to fill a basket, leaving plenty of time for sampling apple cider, and if you’re lucky, apple cider donuts. I might fill up the rest of an afternoon this weekend with a visit to Paproski’s Castle Hill Farm corn maze and pumpkin patch off of Route 302  — I hope you caught David Kugielsky’s awesome aerial photograph of this year’s maze on the September 20 front page of The Newtown Bee.

Of course, all that just primes me for the Light The Night event at NYA, Saturday, beginning at 5 pm, with the walk following the 6:15 remembrance ceremony. The walk is a benefit for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and is always a great way to bring supporters and survivors together for a good cause. I understand that Ginny Chion has dug up about 20 seedlings of a Kousa Dogwood tree, and will be selling them at the event. The tree is one that friends had planted in memory of her son, Greg, who died of leukemia 13 years ago. “A few years ago, I found out the green things I was weeding were actually seed pods,” Ginny says. Kousas have white flowers that bloom in late spring to early summer. All they need is sun and some well-drained acidic soil.

Dogs for Dogs is at Butcher’s Best on South Main Street, Sunday afternoon, from 1 to 5 pm. How can you resist hotdogs from the Super Duper Weenie Truck, to benefit Thank Dog Rescue? (If you haven’t filled up on the pig roast at the Firehouse Ride at The One-Eyed Pig earlier on Sunday, that is.)

So much to do, so much to see. So much to learn about, if you promise next week to… Read me again.

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