Sound Waters HarborFest 2019, a great way to spend the day on the harbor in Stamford, Saturday August 24th

harbor fest 2019

Sound Waters HarborFest brings the community together through the initiative to educate and create a great experience on the harbor for Stamford and surrounding areas. Hosted in Harbor Point, Stamford CT Saturday, August 24th from 10am – 9pm, located at 2200 Atlantic Street. Plenty of free parking is available in the Harbor Point garages and parking lots. Something for all ages Harbor Fest 2019 is a FREE event that allows the community a fun day on the water.

harbor fest boat

The Schooner, “Sound Waters”

We attended Harborfest last year and enjoyed the food trucks, strolled along the harbor on the walk, witnessed the cardboard boat races and even sailed out for a short ride on the 80 foot sailing schooner, “Sound Waters”

Complete event information:

Part of the activities for the day will be the  Race for the Mayor’s Trophy in the Aquarion Cardboard Kayak Races. The wildly popular Cardboard Kayak Race is returning. Teams will build their boats from 1:00 – 3:00pm from supplied materials and race their boats on the Harbor. The race will take place at 3:15pm. The race is open to all comers, but teams must register in advance and space is limited. There is a $100 team registration fee to cover the cost of materials.

Stay all day and enjoy, Good Eats & Drinks on the Harbor, Listen to Live Music, Touch a Truck, Boat Rides, Oyster Lounge , Corn Hole Competition, Mini Golf, Under the Sea Doggie Costume Contest, Tour of Harbor Village, Painting with Pinot’s Palette, Tours the boats of the Harbor, and so much more.

The City of Stamford will be sponsoring FIREWORKS this year!   So come out and enjoy a beautiful day on Stamford harbor at Harbor Point.

You can learn about Sound Waters and their mission to educate children on what an amazing resource that is Long Island Sound and how we need to protect the sound.

Sound Waters Harbor Fest

for more information please visit:

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Olde Rhinebeck Inn : relax and restore at this historic Hudson Valley inn


We live in a busy world that where every minute of the day you seem to be bombarded with the demands of modern life. We recently stayed and inn in the heart of the Hudson Valley which is the perfect tonic for the hectic lives we lead.

The Olde Rhinebeck Inn located just outside the beautiful village of Rhinebeck NY in Dutchess County  is the perfect escape.  Rhinebeck is a thriving little village filled with shops, fine dining, an arts movie house, and is home to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds.  The building itself dates back to 1738 when the original structure (now the dining room) was built by Johann Michael Pultz a tenant farmer.   As his family grew as  did the family farm, the house expanded adding a room every 5 to 10 years.  The family would occupy the house for 12 generations or close to 240 years.


It is this special historic farmhouse that is situated on a quiet country lane that is now operated as an B & B by  Jonna and Cindy.  Jonna who grew up in Park Slope, Brooklyn and whose family turned their house into the city’s  first B & B  is a natural innkeeper.  Cindy at grew up in the house itself and would go on to own a inn right in the village of Rhinebeck as well as manage other properties.  Hospitality comes naturally to these innkeepers and it shows in the numerous ways they make their guests feel at home.  The Inn’s website provides more detailed history and would encourage the reader to visit their site.

Upon reaching the inn , you feel instantly transported to another era. The house is beautifully maintained as is the garden that lines your path as you make your way to the front door.  As soon as you step over the threshold the house embraces you in warmth and authenticity.  The small entrance foyer leads to a charming main room with its original fireplace, mantle and wood surrounds still wearing its original blue paint.  Wide board wood floors and low ceiling instantly remind you that you are in a special place.  The room is tastefully decorated with comfy furniture, antiques,  and repurposed items.  The effect is instantly welcoming as if you were returning to a family homestead.


The dining room (the original part of the house) is adorned with a long communal table repurposed from barn wood which is the setting for a healthy and delicious breakfast.  Two Dutch doors lead to the outside as well as allow natural light to fill the room.


The first floor  also features two large room suites with their own bath.  Our room was the Ryefield Suite, which features a large king size canopy bed,  a separate sitting room (with a twin bed for an additional guest) and a modern bath with rainfall shower.    The room was beautifully decorated  and featured fresh cut flowers, and a plate of welcome treats of fresh fruit, candy and chocolate dipped strawberries.   A really welcoming touch.


The bed was very comfortable as were the pillows.  The bed was covered in fine white cotton sheets and a soft comforter.  On a steamy July day the inn we were thankful for the very effective air conditioners that were quiet and kept our room at the perfect sleeping temp.  The rooms come with flat screen televisions, free netflix, wi-fi  (if you must be connected) and comfy robes.


There are two additional guest  rooms on the second floor .  Each room is unique and has its own charm and character.   On the first floor there is also a coffee and tea station available to the guests at all times.

After a peaceful nights rest, we joined the other guests in the charming dining room for breakfast.  We were in for a delightful morning.  Fresh juice and coffee were served followed by a fresh fruit salad.  An egg and cheese souffle was delightful with a side of sausage.  The meal was finished with a beautiful Dutch pancake with stone fruit.   A hearty and delicious way to start our day.

After breakfast we strolled the property of the inn. Outside is a stone patio with overhead string lights and a comfortable grouping of outdoor couches.  A  perfect spot to relax after you travels.  The inn also provides a peaceful and relaxing setting with a wide lawns spreading down to a small pond.


Along the pond are 4 wicker rockers facing the water creating the perfect location spot to read or to just take in the serenity.


Our stay at the inn was brief.  We returned to sit and talk with our wonderful hosts, Jonna and Cindy who shared stories of their passion for hospitality, local history, and or course provided us with suggestions on what to do in this special corner of the Hudson Valley.  The inn is a perfect base for exploring the area including wineries, historic sites, the Culinary Institute, Walkway across the Hudson, or cultural events at The Fisher Center at Bard College.

The Inn was voted as a 2019 Top Ten Best Romantic Inn by iloveinns website.

Jonna and Cindy have provided an experience you cannot obtain in and air bnb or a hotel.  In our brief stay we immersed ourselves in the authentic richness of the Olde Rhinebeck Inn and combined with the warmth and hospitality of our hosts,  we left feeling rested and restored by our experience.


Olde Rhinebeck Inn

340 Wurtemburg Road

Rhinebeck NY 12572

tel. 845.871.1745


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Sonora: Port Chester’s legendary Latin restaurant celebrates its 20th anniversary



Located in Port Chester, a town known of its collection of multi-cultural restaurants, Sonora  made its mark  on the area food scene twenty years ago with Chef Palomino’s signature Latin inspired menu, and innovative cocktail program.  As 2019 is the 20th anniversary of its opening, Sonora still pleases its customers and attracts new diners  with a fresh and creative take on Latin cuisine and an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients.

Born in Columbia, Chef Palomino draws inspiration for his menu from his childhood in Bogotá, his earlier years in New York City alongside such culinary legends as Larry Forgione and Charlie Palmer, and his time in France honing his craft with renowned Chef Michel Guèrard in Eugènie-les-Bains.

With a wealth of knowledge and great respect and appreciation for cuisines from around the world, Chef Palomino took all that he had learned and returned to his roots, focusing on the flavors of Latin America. He opened the first Sonora Restaurant in New York City’s Eastgate Tower Hotel in 1997 before relocating it to Port Chester, NY in 1999.


Sonora’s menu is a culinary tour throughout Latin America, Mexico, and Spain. Dishes are drawn from Spain, Portugal, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, and Chile.   The Chef has also embraced the desire of many diners for a healthier plant based diet and has incorporated modern offerings such as Fresca Kale, and Tacos de Squash.

Inside the unique and beautiful dining room with soft colors and white linen covered tables, the menu is beautiful as it is delicious.  Tapas include; crispy coconut shrimp from Peru served with sweet plantain and Chino Latino lemongrass sauce; Mexican tacos de churrasco with grilled skirt steak, mushrooms, chopped lettuce, and cilantro sauce; and quinoa empanadas from Peru, filled with roasted eggplant, quinoa, and goat cheese, served with chocolate vinaigrette. For entrees; from Colombia, Pollo Organicorrelleno, stuffed with sweet plantain, goat cheese, peppers, chorizo, served with saffron mashed potatoes.

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Eggplant Meatballs in a Spanish Tomato sauce

From Spain, Eggplant Meatballs in a Spanish tomato sauce is a twist on the this Italian vegetarian favorite, and was delicious.   Palomino Pulpo was a fantastic dish of grilled octopus served with fingerling potatoes, arugula and chimichurri.


Palomino Pulpo

The delightful and flavorful Cerviche served in a martini glass is from Ecuador with shrimp in a tomato base with cilantro, onions and sweet potato.  A unique combination of flavors.

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Sunny Mexico provides  Camarones y Vieras, a beautifully presented dish of shrimp and sea scallops in a delicate edible potato “basket” with black bean and cheese ravioli and finally topped with a sweet corn chipotle-chardonnay sauce.


Camarones y Vieras,

The menu is quite inclusive and the chef has included innovative dishes for vegetarians and vegans so that everyone in your party can enjoy the cuisine at Sonora.  The Chef has written 5 cookbooks and has restaurants in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Florida in addition to Port Chester.

“Westchester County is where I call home and is where Sonora and my professional career took shape,” says Chef Palomino, “Sonora will forever be dear to my heart, and I hope my guests feel the same way for years to come.”   We are happy he feels this way, as we plan to return again and again.


179 Rectory Street, Port Chester, NY 10573

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A fun event for all ! The Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival is back July 12th-14th

balloon fest

Here is a fun and unique event for this weekend.  This year’s Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival is back and promises more of everything—more eye-catching “shape balloons,” more vendors, and more attendees.  We were able to enjoy one of the ‘tether”balloon flights which takes you a short distance off the ground, and it was a fun experience.

The festival takes place in the scenic village of Rhinebeck New York.  Be sure to visit the village and browse its shops or grab a bite at some of the great local  eateries.

The festival, presented by the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce (DCRCOC), is in its 28th year of hosting balloonists from all over the country, and will once again take place at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, on July 12th, 13th, and 14th. The Fairgrounds treats spectators to a 360-degree view of the balloons; gives guests free and easy parking; and allows balloonists room to launch, offer paid rides to the public, and interact with the crowd.


The Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival hosts over 100 balloon launches throughout the weekend, with mass launches scheduled for 6 pm in the evenings Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and the popular sunrise launches at 6 am—which are free and open to the public—on Saturday and Sunday. An exciting variety of other activities will be available at all times. These include a craft beverage tap tent with live music, over 100 vendors, food trucks, hayrides, family friendly games, and “balloon presentations,” where balloonists will answer commonly asked questions about the art of ballooning.

Festival-goers can purchase full flight balloon rides and helicopter rides, which are available on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, online in advance.. Tethered hot-air balloon rides are available on a first-come-first-served basis. These rides are $20 per person, cash only. Spectators should arrive an hour early to allow extra time for traffic and to ensure seeing the balloons inflate and launch. For more information and to reserve your ride, visit It is extremely important to note that all rides and launches are weather- and wind-permitting.

Advance discounted tickets are available online. Visit for festival tickets and balloon ride reservations, schedule and festival information, and a full list of sponsors and vendors.

for more information and tickets:

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Maritime with a Twist: food, adult drinks and an over 21 evening at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk on June 27th


A fun event for adults is coming June 21st at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. Celebrate the summer solstice with sips and samples from some of the area’s top breweries, distillers and restaurants during the “Maritime with a Twist” adults-only evening event at the Aquarium!


Asylum Vodka
Blind Rhino
Eder Brothers Wine
La Dolce
Monsieur Touton Selection, Ltd.
Owl’s Brew
Thimble Island Brewery
Total Wine

Open to anyone age 21 and over, this event will feature tastes from nearby restaurants in Norwalk, as well as refreshments by craft breweries, artisanal distillers, and local wine retailers. Sample them all while enjoying the entire Aquarium for one price. There’s no extra cost for food and drink after your ticketed admission.

There will be live music by ‘Big Yachty’ and, weather permitting, the event will spill out onto the Aquarium’s riverfront courtyard.

Tickets are $40 ($35 for Aquarium members)

for more info and to purchase tickets

Date & Time
June 27, 2019 @ 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk

10 North Water Street  Norwalk Ct

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Ya Mon, Party with the Jamaican Bob Sled team Saturday June 29th at Riverside Yacht Club


This a  unique fun event that is also a fund raiser!   On Saturday June 29th, the   Riverside Yacht Club in Riverside Ct. will host the Greenwich Jamaican Jam !  The jam is a special event to raise money for the Jamaican Bob Sled Team as they train for the 2022 Winter Olympics Beijing, China. The Jam will help future travel and coaching expenses for the team.

What can you expect at the party?   Great Jamaican Food. Adult Beverages – Full Bar, Live Steel Band & Drums, Live Band! Deep Cover Groove Band,Bobsleigh Team Members, Live & Silent Auctions.

The Master of Ceremonies will be Devon Harris.  Devon is one of the founding members of the Jamaica National Bobsleigh team, which first competed in the 1988 Winter Olympics. He went on to compete in the 1992 and 1998 Winter Olympic Games. Devon grew up in the Kingston ghetto of Olympic Gardens and went on to graduate from the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England. In his early years he played soccer and dreamt of representing Jamaica in the 1984 Summer Olympics.

The event is the idea of Louis Van Leeuwen  who is Jamaican – both by birth and heart and soul. His Dutch parents fled Nazi Europe by boat and were welcomed in Jamaica just as Janette Van Leeuwen was due to give birth. Van Leeuwen’s deep gratitude drives his desire to give back to his island home.

For Van Leeuwen, (founder of Curry & Kingston Cabinetry & Greenwich Construction) giving back means hosting a Jamaica Bobsleigh Foundation fundraiser for the fourth year in a row – the coolest event in Greenwich, according to everyone who has ever been!  We can’t wait to find out.

It should be a fun day of  Jamaican music, food, beverages, and a chance to meet the Jamaican Bob Sled team !

For tickets and more information on the event:

The Bobsled team’s motto – Dream. Believe. Achieve. – speaks to the belief that perseverance and hard work pay off. To learn more about the team visit

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The Rhythm is going to get you at “On Your Feet, The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan” now at the Westchester Broadway Theater

OYF Cast2 (1280x1024)

When you have a musical that is fun, high energy, and filled with a great and familiar score, you have an instant hit.   All those elements and so much more are present in Westchester Broadway Theater’s current production of “On Your Feet, The Story of Emilo and Gloria Estefan.    As the title states, you will be  On Your Feet because this dazzling musical will lift you up from your chair and have you dancing and swaying your hips as you leave the theater.

Those of you who remember the 1980s  will remember Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine (whose leader Emilio Estefan she married in 1978).  Their style of music merged Cuban based sounds with pop to create an infectious blend that thrilled the crowd at the WBT.   And if you are not familiar with their music  once the band and talented cast start rocking, you will be hooked.

The story uses a series of flashbacks we see Gloria as a girl (Isabella Preston) in Cuba, singing and dancing because that was in her spirit and heart. Her family fled to Miami after the overthrow of the Batista  government.  Due to their flight from Cuba, Gloria’s mother (Karmine Alers) abandoned her own dream of performing.  As Gloria (Maria  Bilbao) grows up she wants to follow her dreams of singing, but her mother does not support her dream.  We find that Gloria encounters Emilio Estefan (Jose Luaces) who invites her to join his band the “Miami Latin Boys”.  As Gloria emerges as the face of the band and its lead singer, the band changes its name to the Miami Sound Machine.  This also signals a change in creative direction.

Though the band  has a large following on the Spanish speaking music charts, they yearn to cross over and expand their appeal.  They break out of their niche in the 1980s with such hits as “Conga” “1-2-3”, “Get on Your Feet” and more.   Many of their hits are present in the two hour performance and are woven throughout the story.


Maria Bilbao as Gloria Estefan

The musical also covers the near tragic tour bus accident that almost ended her career.  Gloria over comes this obstacle and returns to the stage.  The show wraps up with a rousing medley of high energy hits including ” Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” ,“Oye”,  “Turn the Beat Around” , “Get On Your Feet!”

The performances of the cast are first rate and what we have come to expect from the WBT.  Maria Bilbao really has you convinced during the performance that you are seeing Gloria Estefan live.  Brilliant.  Dance and choreography is essential to the show and the ensemble cast delivers a lively performance that transports the audience to a Miami club.

So get on your feet and get to the Westchester Broadway Theater.  The show runs through August 4th 2019


Westchester Broadway Theater

One Broadway Plaza Elmsford New York


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Tony’s at the J-House: an Italian steakhouse where you are instantly welcomed


A great restaurant is more than just its chef or the decor, it must also be a place where the guest feels welcome and appreciated.  At Tony’s at the J-House  located in the J-House Hotel in Greenwich, the atmosphere at this Italian style steakhouse is twice as inviting due to its owner and host,  Tony Capasso.  Tony has been a cornerstone of the Greenwich dining scene for some time with stints at Valbella and  Gabriele’s Italian Steakhouse.  Tony is a true Maitre d’ and the ultimate host. He  moves about the restaurant greeting each guest, making sure they are happy, and even engaging them in one of his famous trivia games. Now Tony has his own restaurant, and the dining room was filled the evening we visited.

Joining Capasso is Executive Chef Daniel Radovic.  The chef served as Executive Chef of Gabriele’s Italian Steakhouse, where he combined old school Italian fare with modern steakhouse menu items to create a fine but updated dining experience.  He has brought his culinary skills to the kitchen at Tony’s.


The bar features a full beverage program with fun craft cocktails, 15 beers by the bottle and 6 more on draft.   There are 19 varieties of wine by the glass from various regions and are reasonably priced.

Appetizers range from the large and delicious The Meatball made with veal, pork, beef  and topped with ricotta cheese, to Short Rib  Arancini (rice balls).


The Meatball

Pasta dishes are delish as well and we sampled the Gnocchi with sundried tomato, peas, arugula, in a basil pesto .


Seafood is a staple on the menu and Tony’s features a fully stocked Raw Bar of oysters, shrimp, and the King Tower filled with seafood favorites.  The seafood dishes change with market condition, and we enjoyed the  Chilean Sea Bass  served with parsnip puree and finished with a porcini and leek cream sauce.


Chilean Sea Bass

The highest quality dry aged steaks are the stars of the menu with steak house favorites such as filet mignon, T-bone and Porterhouse for Two available.  Sides are also on the menu and include such modern additions as Charred Broccoli and Truffle Fries to steakhouse favorites such as baked and mashed potato.


Tony’s is a welcome addition to the local dining scene.  While the menu and chef will satisfy your palate, it is the warmth and hospitality that Tony Capasso brings to the dining room that will have you coming back again.

Tony’s at The J-House

1114 East Putnam Avenue Greenwich, Connecticut


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That 70’s Diner: Chef David DiBari’s newest venture, Eugene’s Diner and Bar opens in Port Chester

eva longoria

So many restaurants have opened in the last few years featuring  an industrial, minimalist interior design.  Legendary local Chef David Dibari (The Cookery, The Parlor, Rare Bit) has gone in an entirely different direction with the opening of Eugene’s Diner and Bar in Port Chester.  Starting with a clean slate, this new eatery has accurately recreated a bar and diner from the 1970s.  Stepping into the restaurant is amazing as you are greeted with all the trappings of classic 1970’s decor from the harvest gold covered diner booths, paneling and wallpaper on the walls, and period correct lighting.  It was amusing to watch other diner’s observe the walls of the restaurant which are decorated with photos, string art, hook rugs and other classic 70s era pieces.   We knew moments after stepping inside we were in for an evening of fun.


The large space is actually divided into several different dining spaces with the long bar that looks like it was lifted right out of a small town watering hole circa 1975.   The bar serves fun cocktails  and a wide beer menu with 8 craft beers on tap and 11 beers  available in can or bottle.  The Miller High Life split was a fun nod to the era when national beer brands were the only beers available at your local tavern.


Welcome to 1978, your table awaits

There is another dining space with pub tables and a wall of tables decorated in classic 70s green.   The space to the back of the eatery features several classic booths dressed in harvest gold vinyl as well as the counter that over overlooks the open kitchen.  No diner from the era would be complete without the glass carousel of cakes on display.


Chef Dibari created the restaurant as a feel-good diner-inspired restaurant and bar serving a new take on classic diner fare. The diner is a tribute of sorts the Chef’s Grandfather who would take him to diners such as Eugene’s.   Fun is the main element of the eatery from its authentic  detailed decor to its inventive cocktails  and the menu’s quirky spin on diner classics.


Cocktails are just part of the fun at Eugene’s

In classic diner style, breakfast is available all day.  We sampled the stack of delicious Fluffy Pancakes with syrup and butter.  The pancakes are not too large and are a fun way to start or end your meal.


Stack of fluffy pancakes

The Custardy Yolks and Toast is a neat dish with crispy buttered toast and a lightly cooked egg yolk.  Add caviar for something completely different and unique.  The menu is creative blending familiar diner specialties with some items you may not see in your favorite new restaurant in Westchester.

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Hash browns, Matzo Ball soup, Bread and Avo Butter

The Bread and Avocado Butter is a fun item to share as it encourages you to tear pieces off the large wild yeast sourdough bread and dip it into your plate of whipped avocado butter.  Even the plates have a retro vibe.

No diner is complete in our area without Matzo Ball soup and Eugene’s delivers with a light fluffy matzo ball and instead of chicken broth, the Chef uses bone broth.  A modern update to this classic soup and it’s a winner.

Eugene’s even makes its own hot dogs.  As we can expect from Chef DiBari, this is not your regular hot dog but a massive two handed 13 inch dog served with onion, mustard and their own house made sauerkraut.  Also available are such staples as Tuna Melt, Burgers, Grilled Cheese and even Fried Bologna.

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Watch out where you point the housemade 13 inch Hot Dog !

Main items range from Steak, to Chicken and even Sole.  What about trying such quirky items as Rotisserie Spam with pineapple glaze.  We saved that for our next visit.   We did try the Roast Turkey Breast covered in what the menu calls as “that gravy”. A satisfying dish.   I cannot remember the last time we ordered Meat Loaf with Swedish gravy in a restaurant but in light of the setting it just seemed the right choice.


Roast Turkey with “that gravy”

There are lots of cool cocktails at Eugene’s at well and we tried the “Phil Lush” a tribute to Greatful Dead member Phil Lesh who has played often at the nearby Capitol Theater.  This combo of Rum, blue raspberry cotton candy, grapefruit went down smooth.

The Harvey Keitel was another fun drink and an innovative mix of vodka, MG orange pop, galliano, ango float and sparkling soda which just fit the vibe of the eatery.


Don’t leave without sharing a shake and we sampled the Stickabutta which was a combo of cake and milk shake in a glass.

With a unique but retro inspired menu, Eugene’s will beckon you back again and again.  So jump in your Trans-Am and put in an 8 Track of your favorite band and head over to Eugene’s in Port Chester.  We will save you a booth.

Eugene’s website reminds us  “In the movies the diner is a special kind of space,
a mythical place, a zone of escape.”  We agree.


Eugene’s  Diner and Bar

112 North Main Street Port Chester NY      tel. 914.481.5529


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It’s a wrap! A review of the 2019 Greenwich International Film Festival

The Greenwich International Film Festival came to a close on Sunday June 2nd.  The 5th anniversary of the festival was a fantastic success.  Over 4 days attendees had the unique opportunity to  take part in numerous film screenings, panel discussions and Q & A sessions with actors, writers and directors.  Congratulations are  in order for the amazing women who run the festival including Wendy Stapleton Reyes (Chairman and Founder)  Colleen deVeer (Founder and Director of Programming), Ginger Stickel (COO and Executive Director) and their amazing staff.


Shari Angel, Programmer leads a panel discussion on the film “Auggie”

The Festival ‘s mission is to provide filmmakers with an effective platform to showcase their work with the goal of finding financing opportunities for future projects.  GIFF promotes these films  to serve the greater good by highlighting important issues that relate to basic human rights, education, the environment and health care.  Their slogan is to “Make An Impact”.   Since its inception  GIFF  has awarded $150,000 in cash prizes to filmmakers and raised over $600,000 for non-profit organizations.


Celeste, one of the films at the Festival


2019 was a great year for the Festival as it the slate of films was thought provoking as they were entertaining.  There were documentaries, narrative films, Connecticut Shorts, Documentary shorts and so much more.  During the festival we were able to watch several films including “Auggie” with Richard Kind which was filmed in Connecticut in just 12 days and its subject was one man’s struggle with the world of augmented reality. The panel discussion that followed the film was very informative and let the audience in on the back story of the production.


Brian Banks” was our favorite of the weekend and this film based on true events of a man unjustly imprisoned and his fight to clear his name was brilliant.  The Q &A that followed was with Brian Banks himself and was quite moving.

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Brian Banks, the subject of the narrative film with the same name shares his story with the audience following the film

Also on our slate was the interesting ‘Safe Spaces”,  and “Celeste” an independent Australian film that featured beautiful cinematography and a thought provoking story. This too was followed by a panel discussion with the director.   Lastly we viewed “I Want My MTV” a documentary that charted the rise and impact of MTV on our culture.  It included numerous interviews with the creators of the network as well as musicians such as Sting, Billy Idol and Nancy Wilson of Heart.

The Festival also included several exciting parties.  The Changemaker Gala  is a prestigious event and honored  Celebrity Changemaker, Eva Longoria, for her work with the Eva Longoria Foundation.  She is on the board of numerous children’s hospitals, supports women’s organizations, children’s charities, health initiatives, environmental causes and more. She will excepted the award for her work advancing educational opportunities for Latina women and girls. Community Changemaker, Bobby Walker was also recognized for his work with the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich. Kathie Lee Gifford served  as Master of Ceremonies.

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L to R Wendy Stapleton, Kathie Lee Gifford, Bobby Walker,actress Eva Longoria, Ginger Stickel and Colleen deVeer

The pinnacle of the weeks amazing line up of events was the Epic Party held on Saturday Evening June 1st.  This year the party was moved to the beautiful Capitol Theater in Port Chester NY and featured Kesha as the main event. Kesha was chosen not only for her great stage show. She is a great example of a woman who has fearlessly stood up for herself.  The Capitol was the perfect venue for the capacity crowd which was treated to an electric performance by Kesha.

During the evening, actress and head of the Social Impact Jury, Connie Nielson presented the award for Best Social Impact Film to Afterward  . This prize is awarded to one film across all categories that promote social change and awareness. A trophy and check for $10,000.00 USD was awarded to director Ofra Bloch during the awards ceremony.

Additional awards include: Sister Aimee winning Best Narrative Feature directed by Marie Schlingmann and Samantha Buck, Cold Case Hammarskjöld winning Best Documentary Feature, The Animal winning Best Narrative Short with an honorable mention going to The Blues Crowd. Mack Wrestles ESPN 30 for 30 winning Best Documentary Short and 120 Years winning Best Connecticut Short Film.

Congratulations to the wonderful staff of the Greenwich International Film Festival for another great event.  The Festival goes by so fast and we enjoyed every minute.  We are  all ready looking forward to next year.


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article by Frank Wallace and Irene Young Wallace

photos by I On the Valley staff and GIFF