State Rep. discussion

State Representative Cristin McCarthy Vahey (D-Fairfield) is hosting an evening of discussion with constituents called, “Pints & Policy.”

“I encourage you to invite all those who would be interested in sharing their ideas and hearing updates from Hartford,” Rep. McCarthy Vahey said. “If you have any questions or to RSVP, please contact my office at 860-240-8569. I look forward to seeing you there.”

The event will be held Tuesday April 9, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Castle on Post, 222 Post Road.

April Break Fun

Come to the Fairfield Museum, 370 Beach Road, during the April vacation week for two free days and three exciting family workshops. On Monday, April 15 and Thursday, April 18, the Museum will offer craft days and free admission courtesy of People’s United Bank. On Tuesday, April 16 visitors can make a graphic T-shirt during a print-making workshop with Artist Liz Squillace. Wednesday, April 17 is a spray painting workshop for ages 8 and up with street artist John Paul O’Grodnick and Thursday, April 18 features a henna workshop with Priyanka Jain. Details and registration forms are online at Fairfieldhistory.org.

Murphy to host forum

Having just returned from a congressional trip to London, Belfast and Dublin, Senator Chris Murphy is hosting an event called “Keeping the Peace: A Conversation About Ireland and Northern Ireland In The Age of Brexit” to discuss his trip and what the United States can do to preserve the peace attained by the Good Friday Accords. Joining him will be former Connecticut Congressman Bruce Morrison, who was intimately involved in the peace process.

The event is Monday, April 15 at 7 p.m. at the Fairfield Gaelic American Club (74 Beach Rd, Fairfield. Space is limited so people are encouraged to RSVP to rsvp_connecticut@murphy.senate.gov.

Successful Retirement

“How to Enjoy a Successful Retirement” with Michael Amoroso can help you to optimize this tremendous life change. There are positive changes as well as challenges. Learn tips and strategies to use as you create your new lifestyle. There will be a discussion period at the end for sharing and questions. Retirement is a change that promises great rewards. Learn what to expect and how to make the most of this exciting time on Monday, April 15 at 7:00 pm at the Main Library, 1080 Old Post Road. Registration is requested.

Presenter Michael Amoroso, BBA, MBA, has been a retiree for 20 years, previously running his own firm in Manhattan. He lectures on life after retirement at libraries throughout Fairfield and Westchester counties and is the director of the Greenwich, CT based non-profit Utilize Senior Energy or USE, which helps jobseekers over 50.

All programs at the Fairfield Public Library are free. To register, or for more information about this and other programs, visit us online at: fairfieldpubliclibrary.org, or call 203-256-3160.

Haitian Educational Initiatives

Haitian Educational Initiatives will hold a cocktail party and auction on Saturday, April 6, 6-8 p.m. at the Fairfield Museum, 370 Beach Road, Fairfield. The organization will honor Jane Dean of Southport as Ambassador of the Year and feature a performance by dancers from the Angels of God Youth Group of Saint Charles Church, Bridgeport. Tickets are $35 and may be purchased at www.haitied.org or at the door. For more information, please contact Melody Wagstaff, Executive Director, at melody@haitied.org.

What does it take for a non-profit to survive and thrive in a turbulent environment like Haiti? Founded in response to the earthquake in 2010, Fairfield-based Haitian Educational Initiatives(HEI) partners with Haitian-led community organization in Jacmel to address the lack of access to education. Over the last nine years, non-profits large and small have come and gone in Haiti but HEI continues to serve 215 severely impoverished children and families despite two government collapses, hurricanes, flooding, drought, landslides and demonstrations. What’s the secret?

Founder Dr. Susan Whitcomb, President James Whitcomb, and Executive Director Melody Wagstaff maintain that resilience depends on starting at the grassroots. HEI doesn’t deliver packaged programs or in-kind donations. Instead, the organization sought established and reliable Haitian community leaders and encouraged them to design solutions to the problem of no access to schooling for 50% of Jacmel’s children. “Sustainable solutions must have community buy-in from the start: if solutions don’t fit the families, the schools and the children themselves, they will quickly be discarded,” says Dr. Whitcomb.

“We’re not trying to address all of Haiti’s problems. We can’t overhaul the government , the economic system or other areas of concern. But what we can do,” Melody Wagstaff concludes, “is to provide one child at a time with the education and vocational training necessary to become a skilled member of the workforce.” HEI offers pre-K-13 tuition scholarships, meals, after school tutoring and job training to 215 children aged 3-20. In addition to cooking, dressmaking and crafts, students are able to learn advanced computing, electricity, plumbing, tiling, English, and solar panel installation. Ms. Wagstaff says, “After nine years of education and training, these students will soon graduate better equipped to support themselves than their parents before them. They have the best chance we can give them to make a better future for themselves and their country.”

Disco Dance Party

Fairfield Theatre Company, the not-for-profit center for the arts and culture in downtown Fairfield, holds its 3nd Annual Disco Dance Party FUN-raiser, Friday, May 3, 8-11 p.m.. All event proceeds benefit FTC’s programs, which include concerts, art exhibits, comedy, film, cultural events, and children’s education.

“FTC Celebrates: Disco” is a branded annual event, designed to bring the Fairfield County community together. Since its 2016 inception, community support of “FTC Celebrates: Disco” has been so extraordinary, admission tickets have sold-out weeks prior to each event. It is expected that the May 3 event will also sell-out, as people have expressed their desire for disco music/dance and community unity.

“FTC is deeply committed to our community, which is wonderfully diverse culturally and artistically curious. We continue to be an artistic hub and economic engine for the area, and always do our best to present a wide variety of programs that serve all age groups and interests,” said John Reid, FTC’s Producing Artistic Director.

“FTC Celebrates Disco” event co-chair Allison Ziering Walmark adds, “The last two events were a remarkable success. I’m very proud of the money we raised to benefit the community. The evening strikes a chord with so many, because in today’s chaotic world, people want to escape. It’s virtually impossible to wear platform shoes and polyester (costumes are not mandatory, but encouraged), dance to iconic disco music spun by an actual Studio 54 DJ, wearing free disco swag, and not have fun!”

This year’s event at The Warehouse (70 Sanford Street, Fairfield) will be the boogie, oogie, ooggiest! To ensure your spot on the dancefloor, purchase tickets now.

Adults only, 21 years and over.

Ticket prices: $100 (open bar) and $50

Sponsorships are $1,000

For further information or tickets: https://fairfieldtheatre.org/celebrates

Burr Homestead film screening

The Burr Homestead Gardens Advisory Committee is proud to present the award-winning documentary on the life of legendary landscape designer and architect Beatrix Farrand on April 24 at the historic Burr Homestead in Fairfield. The filmmaker Karyl Evans, a six-time Emmy Award winning filmmaker will introduce the film. The proceeds of this event will help in restoration and enhancement of the four-acre public property located behind the Burr Homestead.

In an age when a middle or upper-class woman's sole aim in life was expected to be marriage and children, Beatrix Farrand instead went to Harvard and Columbia, and opened her own landscape design business, at the age of 23, in 1895. She did marry, at 41, after she had designed gardens for some of the most prestigious homes in Connecticut and across the U.S, including the White House.

An avid gardener herself, with a degree in horticulture, Evans has combined her two greatest professional loves - landscape architecture and filmmaking - to produce the first documentary on Beatrix Farrand, the most successful female landscape architect in early 20th-century America, and one of the founders of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the only woman in the group.

The film chronicles the life of Beatrix Farrand (1872-1959), the niece of Edith Wharton, who grew up in the privileged world of the East Coast elite and fought through the challenges of working in a male-dominated profession to design over 200 landscape commissions during her remarkable 50-year career. Beatrix Farrand married Max Farrand, chair of the History Department at Yale University in 1913. They lived in New Haven until 1925.

The documentary takes viewers on a journey across the country to explore Beatrix Farrand's personal story and many of her most spectacular gardens, including Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.; the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden; Garland Farm in Bar Harbor, Maine; the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Bar Harbor, Maine; and her California gardens. In Connecticut, Beatrix Farrand's surviving best-known works include gardens at Hill-Stead Museum, Harkness Memorial State Park, and the residential courtyards at Yale University.

Tickets available online only at fairfieldct.org/BGAC