From the Capitol: Summer Activities in Our Community

July 15, 2014

We’re very lucky to have so many great summer activities and events available to us – from the Valley to the Sound. I encourage everyone to get out this season, meet your neighbors and explore your community as much as you can. See what great opportunities await!

Local Music

We are never short on summer music concerts in our area.

Stratford is home to the Stratford Summer Concert Series with performances every Tuesday at 7pm through August 26. Bring your lawn chair to the Paradise Green on Main Street and Huntington Road to enjoy these weekly concerts.

Also in Stratford, as part of the Stratford Sister Cities reunion in Connecticut this year, a special concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Saint Mark Parish Center, 500 Wigwam Lane, Stratford on Monday, August 4. The Sister Cities reunion welcomes guests from five other Stratfords around the world: Ontario and Prince Edward Island, Canada; Victoria, Australia; England; and New Zealand. The Catalano Concert is free and open to the public and will feature short musical performances and skits from guests representing each of the international Stratfords.

Another summer concert series also occurs in nearby Monroe. The 26th Annual Monroe Summer Concert Series occurs on Friday nights in July at 7pm. Performances are held in the concert picnic area on the pool side of Wolfe Park.

Shelton residents also get to enjoy weekly music on Wednesday nights through the end of August. Free performances take place at the Gazebo on the Huntington Green every Wednesday from 7pm-9pm.

Finally, Seymour’s concert series features Saturday block dances on the corner of Bank & First Street, with the next dance scheduled for August 2 from 7pm-9pm.

Support a Cause

There are also many local events this summer that involve helping a good cause. You can have fun, while building a stronger community at these events.

Monroe, for example, is hosting “National Night Out” on August 5 from 5pm-9pm. This national crime and drug prevention event is a free community celebration taking place at Wolfe Park with activities, a DJ, moon bounces, face painting, crafts and educational materials. The night is meant to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for local anticrime efforts, and strengthen neighborhood spirit. This event involves over 15,000 U.S. and Canadian communities and military bases worldwide and is sponsored by the Association of Town Watch and co-sponsored locally by the Monroe Police Department, Monroe Youth Commission and Target.

Seymour is also planning to host a First Saturday Downtown on August 2. This monthly event encourages people to “buy local” by shopping in downtown stores and visiting nearby businesses that remain open until 9pm. In the summer, when the weather’s perfect for a nightly stroll, local businesses thrive on the renewed interest and support sparked by this event.

Over in Stratford, the American Shakespeare Theatre is hosting multiple events to raise funds and awareness for the historic theatre. The Shakesbeer Festival will take place on August 23 from 1pm-7pm at the American Shakespeare Theatre, 1850 Elm Street, Stratford. This event is only for those ages 21+ and the entrance fee is $40. All proceeds will go towards reopening the Shakespeare Theatre, a local treasure.

The theatre will also host five days of Shakespeare under the stars. The Festival! Stratford 2014 features free performances of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, directed/produced by Ellen Leiberman and presented by Stratford Arts Commission and The Stratford Center for the Arts at The American Shakespeare Theater from July 30-August 3. Jazz on the Lawn performances start at 6pm and As You Like It is performed from 8pm-10pm each day, all under that stars on the grounds of the Theatre.

The Great Outdoors

If you are a little more adventurous, Connecticut’s many state parks are also exciting places for summer activities. In Connecticut, you are never far from well preserved and protected natural space.

Indian Well State Park in Shelton, for example, offers river fishing, picnicking, swimming, hiking and more. Parking is $9.00 for Connecticut resident vehicles on the weekends, $6 during the week, and $5 after 4pm any day.

Disabled veterans and seniors can also access any state park free of charge. To do so, make sure you secure your Disabled Veterans Pass or Charter Oak Pass (for residents 65+) before visiting a park. To get your pass, visit a local environmental center with valid ID, proof of residency and proof of service-connected-disability (if you’re getting a Disabled Veteran Pass). The closest center in our area is Kellogg Environmental Center, 500 Hawthorne Avenue in Derby open Tuesday – Saturday 9:00am-4:30pm, phone number: (203) 734-2513. You can also follow the below steps to secure a pass in the mail:

  • To secure a Charter Oak Pass (for seniors): Send a LEGIBLE photocopy of your current CT driver’s license or other legal proof of age and residency to: DEEP Charter Oak Pass, State Parks Division, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106-5127. (Phone 860-424-3200)
  • To secure a Disabled Veterans Pass: Send a LEGIBLE photocopy of your current CT driver’s license or other legal proof of residency AND your VA card or VA Benefits Letter indicating a service connected disability to: DEEP Disabled Veteran Pass, State Parks Division, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106-5127 (Phone 860-424-3200)

Whatever you like to do, I hope you enjoy your summer. Enjoy the sunshine, the fresh air, the warm weather, and all that our communities have to offer.