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Monday, May 23, 2011

Second Annual RLMS Plant Sale a Sassy Affair

Second Annual RLMS Plant Sale 
a Sassy Affair:
Plants, all natural products 
and live music featured
By Mike Lauterborn
(for Fairfield Citizen News)

Fairfield, CT – The sun, after a rain-soaked week, was a welcome sight for organizers of the parking lot event Saturday morning, particularly as the effort was being hosted for a good cause.

Held at Roger Ludlowe Middle School, the 2nd Annual Garden Sass Plant Sale offered not only a wide variety of plants but complementary all natural products, raffle items and live music.

“’Sass’ is a Yankee term for a home garden,” explained event co-chair Kate Carroll about the event’s origins. “With so many plant sales going on, the name stands out. We also wanted to tie into the area’s Colonial agricultural roots. I have a book called ‘Yankee Talk’ and found the term there, then went to the Fairfield Historical Society to confirm it. It stuck.”

Carroll noted that the event benefits the school’s Parent-Teacher-Student Association, helping to offset expenses related to teachers’ grants, afterschool clubs and related activities.

“We wanted to make this have some meaning,” added Carroll. “The gardening focus creates that and gets families out working in the yard together. In the farm category, we have Moorefield Herb Farm of Trumbull and Daffodil Hill Growers of Southbury.”

At the Daffodil Hill stand, Jackie and Mickey Herbert of Fairfield were buying a tray of zinnias, verbena and dahlias. “We came down to support the school’s effort by buying some needed flowers, garden vegetables and herbs. We’ve made a trip to the car already.”

Michael Coppola, 11, a Boy Scout with Troop 88 out of Fairfield Grace Methodist Church, was set up down the row and talking to Fairfielder Nicole Cassidy about square foot gardens. “It’s great for a gardener with limited space and you can put in clean soil, compost and whatever kind of vegetable or herb you’d plant in a regular garden,” he said. “We will construct them to order and sales help us fund events and outings.”

At the Moorefield stand, Fairfielder Linda Hogue was purchasing a Rainbow variety tomato plant. “I heard about the great heirloom tomatoes here and wanted to make sure to get a plant that will bear fruit in August, timed with summer barbecues.”

Onsite promoting an upcoming garden tour in Westport was Beth Davis, former chair of Bridgeport’s Mercy Learning Center, a literacy center for women. “The tour will be on Sunday, May 29 and highlights include Martha Stewart’s former garden, which is really extensive and rarely seen, and TV personality Mar Jennings’ garden. All proceeds benefit Mercy.”

In the all-natural products category, Ryan Agee was on hand with his Goatboy Soaps. “We found a market niche for this type of moisturizing soap, which works well for people with dry skin and eszema,” he said.

Beside him, Steve Dunn of Boxed Goodes, a Litchfield business, was offering spices and dried beans. “We spend a lot of time at farmers markets in the summertime as a companion to locally grown plants and produce,” he said. “Our products are all-natural and locally packaged, and are tasty enhancements to meal occasions.”

In a category by himself, Nick Toledo, 13, a Roger Ludlowe student, was seeking donations to support his Relay for Life team, The Teddy Bears. “This is in honor of Teddy Gerber, an Osborne Hill student who passed away from cancer last year,” he said. “I thought we could get support from families visiting the plant sale today.”

SHU College of Business Team to Run Ragnar Relay Race May 20-21

SHU College of Business Team to Run Ragnar Relay Race May 20-21
(for Sacred Heart University)
By Mike Lauterborn

Fairfield, CT – They’ll be shedding their business attire for shorts, tees and running shoes come the morning of May 20 when the celebrated New England-based race sends them into battle against other regional teams.

Calling themselves “It’s Business Time”, a group of 12, plus one alternate, from Sacred Heart University’s John F. Welch College of Business will participate in the Ragnar Relay Race Series’ 198-mile New Haven to Boston run. The Ragnar is the world’s largest relay series, with the New England event being one of 15 associated events held annually around the United States. This local series will occur over a 24-hour period, kicking off at 10 a.m. on Friday the 20th at Yale University and finishing the following morning at Harvard College.

Sean Heffron, Director of the Student Experience in SHU’s College of Business, is the team captain and recently provided some background about how the team was organized, its mission and preparation.

“Back in February, I put a call out to faculty and students that are runners in the College of Business, looking to get our members to join and expand their experiences,” he said. “I had 10 people sign up almost immediately and a full team organized within a week, along with one alternate. The latter is a student that was originally a starter, but who was on a recent Habitat for Humanity project and injured by a falling hammer. We didn’t want him subjected to rigorous training given that he had suffered a concussion.”

Heffron said that, from the start, he has been coordinating training sessions, securing vehicles, calculating race day logistics and assigning team members to specific legs according to ability. Each team member will run three legs with a leg ranging in length from 3 to 8 miles varying in difficulty. Only one runner participates at a time and two vehicles are used to transport team members, which go ahead to exchange points as a runner starts a leg. Overall, each runner will be responsible for between 12 and 20 miles.

“With all of our varied schedules, it has not been possible to train together, so we have all been doing that independently,” said Heffron. “We have met as a group on three occasions, essentially once a month, but that was to talk about progress, work out logistics, see how training is going, figure out what to pack and bring, make sure no one has any injuries and discuss vehicle plans.”

College of Business team members include alumni, a Masters student, undergraduates and even the dean of the department, Rupendra Paliwal, who is also providing the use of his minivan as one of the vehicles. The other vehicle will be a rental van. “We’re going to decorate these and give them names,” said Heffron. “We’ll be meeting next week to discuss that. We’ll also be discussing some course changes, which were a result of some major recent flooding along the race route. We need to be sure everyone is comfortable with their leg assignments.”

Heffron said his past experiences coordinating various school groups has been helpful with application to this event. “When I was at NYU, another coordinator and I organized a road trip that originated in Las Vegas, traveled to the Grand Canyon and Utah, and finished in Boulder, Colorado. It’s all about logistics,” he said.

The event serves a good cause, with all race registration fees being donated to Back On My Feet, an outreach program for homeless individuals that helps them regain their confidence and skills. The organization incorporates running into its rehabilitation program.

Besides the College of Business, three members of SHU’s Rotaract Club, the local chapter of the Rotary Club, will participate in the race, helping to direct traffic, announce runners and running times, and keep runners energized.

Heffron said the team is “definitely pumped”, though frantically trying to get through their end-of-semester responsibilities at the same time. “They are really burned out by the end of the school year,” he said. “This will be about the potential of the body, as well as the mind, highlighting the endurance and spirit of our College of Business members. It’s a great tribute to the caliber of individual we have here. They’re always willing to go above and beyond.”

Zoo Partnership Creates Unique Opportunities for SHU Pre-Vet Students

Zoo Partnership Creates Unique Opportunities for SHU Pre-Vet Students
(for Sacred Heart University)
By Mike Lauterborn

Fairfield, CT – You might call them Dr. Dolittle disciples as they are literally getting the opportunity to talk to the animals, walk with the animals and to even try to learn their languages.

Through a special collaboration between Sacred Heart University’s biology department and the Lionshare Zoo in Greenwich, CT, SHU students considering careers in veterinary medicine are gaining hands-on experience with exotic animals. The zoo is a private facility focused on conservation and education, owned by Marcella Leone. Set up on one part of a horse farm, the zoo houses such rare and endangered species as orangutans, cheetahs, gibbons, a Bactrian camel, giraffes and lemurs. Some of the animals were obtained by private citizens through an amnesty program, while others were zoo surplus. The zoo’s prime focus is breeding and conservation education.

“We try to get students that aren’t doing a research project to do an internship at one of many organizations with which our department has contact,” said Dr. Jennifer Mattei, associate professor of biology at the school. “We’ve had students working at Lionshare for the past five years. Their role is typically to shadow a vet who makes a weekly visit to check on animal health, and to learn about the day-to-day care of animals and operation of the facility. Some of the work also involves cleaning and painting cages.”

Mattei said that one current student, senior Jacqueline Escobar, started there as an intern a year ago and, as a step-up in her experience, was asked to pick a particular animal and design and implement an enrichment device for it, to improve its quality of life in captivity. She created a device for a giraffe – a feeding box wherein the giraffe has to undo a latch with its tongue, open a lid and reach in with its tongue to gather up an apple reward.

“There are three giraffes and each had to figure out the system on their own,” said Mattei. “The object is to create stimulation, which this did.”

Zoo director Leone was very pleased with Escobar’s success and the student has since been hired as a part-time keeper while she finishes her degree. To allow other students to have a like experience, Mattei and colleague Tom Terleph, an assistant biology professor, created and co-taught this past semester a “Zoos, Museums and Aquariums” class that incorporated the building of an enrichment device as a final project.

Two devices emerged from the class and, at the conclusion of the semester late April, they were brought down to the zoo, installed and tested to see if the animals would interact with them. One device was a rope tied across the lemur cage that was fitted with a series of plastic cups that had to be separated to gain access to a food treat. The second device was geared to the orangutans and was essentially a board through which holes had been made, with cups behind them containing honey or fruit slices. The orangutans’ challenge was to take a stick, poke it through the holes and fish out the food. Both devices achieved desirable results.

This summer, Terleph, who is also an animal behavior researcher, will work with gibbons at the zoo, recording their sounds and calls. He will be assisted by sophomore Caitlin Neary, who is just beginning her internship. Mattei says the experience will help Neary decide on the type of practice she may want to pursue in the future.”

In summary, Mattei said, “Our program provides a great way to fill the facility’s needs while our students gain onsite education. It’s a unique relationship that we have with this particular zoo and adds to the value of Sacred Heart offerings to students pursuing veterinary careers.”

Talents Displayed at SHU Research Poster Showcase

Talents Displayed at SHU Research Poster Showcase
By Mike Lauterborn
(for Sacred Heart University)

Fairfield, CT – Behind some very long titles tagging tabletop-placed research exhibits was a lot of hard work and a number of proud students happy to provide more information.

Hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences, the 12th Annual Undergraduate Research Poster and Showcase Session was conducted early Friday afternoon April 29 in the Commons Room at Sacred Heart University’s 5151 Park Avenue campus. Twenty-five posters were exhibited, spanning nine disciplines, with 52 students participating.

“The event is an opportunity for Arts and Sciences students to present their undergraduate research, showcase or project to the greater University community,” said Marlina Slamet, chairperson of the event and a physics professor at the school. “The Arts and Sciences college includes majors in arts, science and humanities, though, in the last four years, we’ve also had participants from our neighbor college of Education and Health Professions, with entries related to athletic training and exercise science.”

Slamet said projects are judged by 12 faculty members from among the disciplines represented, who asses the quality of the poster content and a student’s ability to answer questions related to their research and findings.

“In addition to the poster awards, recognition was given to the top three of the more than a dozen entries in a Writing Across the Curriculum competition,” Slamet added.

One of the more cumbersome project titles was “Cerebral Arteriovenous Malformation on the Major Cortex of a 17-year-old Male High School Football Player,” presented by Brittany Holcomb, 21, of Ansonia, CT.

The senior and double major in Athletic Training and Exercise Science boiled her project down, explaining, “The condition is a rare congenital disorder wherein the arteries attach to veins which don’t allow blood to pass through the capillary system. In this case that I’ve profiled, the football player had a helmet-to-helmet collision resulting in a concussion. He was taken to the hospital for diagnostic imaging, which revealed the cerebral disorder, then had gamma-knife radio-surgery treatment. Later, he exhibited signs of radiation necrosis, leading to left side weakness. The malformation was very large – it was surprising it wasn’t detected before.”

James Roberts, 22, a senior from North Haven, CT, said his project was about how habitat destruction affects the community structure of songbirds. “I found that juvenile songbirds are using Veteran’s Memorial Park in Bridgeport more than adult birds, as the adults recognize the park as a poor migration stopover site.”

Roberts’ project partner, Brittany Hartman, 21, added, “As ecology conservation majors, identifications of these kinds of sites will be part of our career work.”

An exhibit garnering a lot of interest was Nick Kapoor’s project, titled “Do Great Presidents Appoint Great Supreme Court Justices?”  The 20-year-old double major in Government & Politics and Mathematics, said, “I looked at different unbiased national presidential polls along with unbiased data on justices, from the past six decades, to find a correlation between the perception of the president and his justice appointees.”

Kapoor said his research was unique. “This question has never been asked at this level, so it’s a very original study,” he said. “I’m hoping to get it published in an undergraduate journal, as a jumping off point.”

Faculty member Christopher Mojcik, a biology instructor and poster judge, commented on the event in general. “This is always fun,” he said. “The students work very hard on their projects. It’s nice to see the end results and to see them professionally mannered giving their presentations.”

Mojcik said he was impressed by the breadth of topics covered given that Sacred Heart is not a huge college. “In the biology discipline, everything from molecular topics to field studies in the wild is covered,” he said. “Some of the topics are quite complex but the students do a good job of walking people through them.”

Offering another faculty perspective was Jonas Zdanys, Associate VP for Academic Affairs. “This is my third poster session,” he said. “Each year the level of quality is surpassed and the projects become increasingly relevant. Some of these areas have never been studied before and our students are leading the research. That’s important for the university’s commitment to developing research agendas with all of our students. The University aims to ensure deeper research opportunities for students. The posters are a wonderful illustration of that effort.”

Duckie Derby a Ducky Destination

Duckie Derby a Ducky Destination:
Mill River event raises funds for St. Catherine’s Academy
By Mike Lauterborn
(for Fairfield Citizen)

Fairfield, CT – The way the crowd was hugging the course and the emcee was calling out the race action, maybe a more appropriate name for the event would have been the Ken-Duckie Derby.

But Duckie Derby is the name that’s held for the past four years and the event, which sent 1,000 numbered rubber ducks down the Mill River adjacent to Brookside Drive, was carried out as planned early Saturday afternoon to the delight of hundreds of local spectators. Ducks were offered for $10 each. A larger version was offered for $15, to be decorated and entered in a contest. All proceeds benefited St. Catherine’s Academy, a Fairfield-based school for children with intellectual disabilities.

Following a Blessing of the Fleet, the ducks were dumped into the river for a quarter mile journey downstream. With a portable public announcement system on hand, Charles F. Chiusano, the Master of Ceremonies and chairman of the Advisory Board of St. Catherine’s Academy, kept pace with the bright yellow flock, peppering the crowd with periodic updates.

“My role is to pump up the fans and make sure the ducks float the right way, bottom down,” said Chiusano. “We’ve gotten a lot of support from Kohl’s, Fairfield Bank, Whole Foods and local residents.”

“Now we’re coming down to the white water rapids,” announced Chiusano, stepping along quickly. “Which ducks have the courage to go over the falls?”

Last year, recalled Chiusano, technicians at Lake Mohegan, the source of the river, had to be called to open a valve as a work project had stopped the water flow. But there was no flow problem this year.

“These ducks are really moving along,” called out Chiusano again. “I hope they’ve taken their Dramamine.”

Hustling along the riverbank was Fairfielder Marie Cairo, with her four-year-old daughter Rosie. “Our duck number is 85,” she said. “I don’t know where it is in the pack. We’ve been training for weeks. I think he was swimming backwards at one point.”

Steps ahead of them, the Iacano family – Tom, Sheila and children Sophie and Jack – were monitoring the progress as well. “Our duck numbers are 41 and 42,” said Sheila. “We hope they’re in the front, at least in the top 25%. It’s fun and a great cause. We bought the additional decorator duck as added support.”

Ultimately, the ducks arrived at a mesh net where the top three finishers emerged through a center opening, were scooped up and were placed in Ziploc bags marked 1, 2 and 3. Cross-referencing the duck numbers to raffle tickets, event co-chair Kelly Weldon determined that the winners were Easton resident Ryan Wheatley, New Canaan resident Rosie Albright and an unnamed entry bought in honor of the students of St. Catherine’s Academy.

A trophy presentation, as well award ceremony for best decorator ducks, followed. The latter bore such names as Barney the Duck, Hawaii Duck and Crash Test Duckie and were adorned in related fashion.

“This is a great event for families to support the Academy,” said Weldon, “ducking” for a cover as rain started to fall post-race. “It’s a silly event but for a serious cause. We raise approximately $13,000 per event. One thing I love is that all families can participate. It doesn’t price families out of supporting something that’s near and dear to their hearts.”

Weldon said the sponsors showed tremendous support. “They went beyond just funding to offer interactive support like face painting, balloons, in-store displays, activity staffing and volunteers,” she said. “Kohl’s even came with plush toys to sell onsite as additional fundraising. Whole Foods, a Fairfield newcomer, is already connected into next year’s event.”

Visibly pleased with the turnout was Nancy Fontana, mother of Kelsey Fontana, a student at St. Catherine’s. “This is absolutely phenomenal,” she said. “Most of the people that participated don’t have students at the school. It’s overwhelming. My daughter was born with special needs and has epilepsy. This is the best school for her and it’s important that its good work be continued.”

Sunday Farmers Market Sprouts for the Season

Sunday Farmers Market 
Sprouts for the Season:
Plants itself at Saugatuck Congregational Church
By Mike Lauterborn
(for Westport News)

Westport, CT – An open space behind Saugatuck Congregational Church that was bare Saturday was lush with plants and greens come Sunday morning.

This was no mysterious herbaceous takeover but the seasonal return of the Sunday Farmers Market to the rear parking lot at the 245 Post Road East church property. On the opening day, six vendors were onsite with offerings that not only included a wide variety of flowers, vegetables and herbs, but also bread, jams, eggs, gourmet spreads and meat.

“This is the third year for the market,” said Lexi Gazy, executive director of the event. “As the season gets going, we’re hoping for ten steady vendors. These are a mix of farms and local businesses. This is a wholesome family event and opportunity for people to revisit Westport’s agricultural roots. Our goal was to get more local.”

Gazy added that all the vendors are members of Connecticut Farm Fresh Cooperative and pay the market expenses, including rental of the parking lot space, advertising and insurance.

Buying a mixed herb pot containing parsley, chives, basil, thyme and oregano, Fairfielder Pat Kearns said, “This is traditional for me to visit the market. I usually come for fresh cut flowers but I also find treats like sweet pickles. I like to support local organic farms. Later in the season, the flowers are just outstanding.”

Angela Belta of Belta Farms, from which Kearns was making her purchase, spoke about her business. “We’re a 66-year-old family-owned farm right here in Westport on Bayberry Lane,” she said. “My grandfather James started the business in 1945 as a chicken farm. Over the years, it evolved to growing wholesale produce and flowers. Then, over the last couple of years, we shifted to farm markets and operating a stand on our property.”

Belta said the market’s local location was appealing. “I like the fact that this market is Westport-based like us, literally down the road,” she said. “It’s easy for us to replenish our supplies. We have a lot of regular customers who come to see us.”

Ed Gazy, husband of the event director and owner of Gazy Brothers Farm out of Oxford, cited other reasons spurring his participation. “We’re on a back road so we do a lot of farmers markets to get exposure,” he said. “We grow vegetables and sell flowers in hanging baskets. Right now we’ve got kale, beets, radishes, leek and mixed lettuce. In a couple weeks, we’ll have tomatoes.”

Visiting Westporter Addison Armstrong said the market took him by surprise. “I was coming back from walking my dog and saw the trucks pulling in,” he said. “This was a nice surprise and I’ve been able to pick up some great fresh bread and lettuce. It’s good to be out, and great that the rain held off.”

Happy to be displaying its wares was Du Soleil, a New Canaan-based catering business. “We started as a restaurant 26 years ago, closed in 2008 but continue to offer soups, salads and catering,” said owner Soledad Del Castillo. “Everything is fresh made in our kitchen. In the summer, when we have more vegetables, we do a lot of salsa and tomato-based dishes.”

Down the row from Du Soleil was Dave Finn and Paul Scherbner of Eaglewood Farms in Barkhamstead, which keeps 20 cows and 300 pigs on average every year. “We come down from north of Torrington to be here,” said Finn, the owner. “Most of our customers are in the south end of Connecticut, so this is an important destination for us. They look for us and we bring our meat to them. We offer any pork and beef cut.”

Stephanie Mergenthaler, a Westporter, had filled a couple bags she’d brought with her. “I like to come down to stock up on excellent salad, fresh bread, soup and herbs for my garden,” she said. “I’m going to plant rosemary and thyme. It’s going to be the start of my herb garden. It should be an interesting experiment.”

Manning the Smith’s Acres Farm stand, Guadaloupe Lopez spoke about his current inventory and treats yet to come. “We have many kinds of flowers, herbs and vegetables,” he said. “We come here every year. People like us and all the variety. Later in the season, we have apples, berries and peaches.”

For more information about the Sunday Farmers Market, visit

Families Unplug and Reconnect at Family Fun Day

Families Unplug and Reconnect at Family Fun Day:
Fairfield Arts Center and Troy Fine Art team up to offer arts projects
(for Fairfield Citizen News)
By Mike Lauterborn
© 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Fairfield, CT – It was family time the way family time was meant to be – interactive, communicative and creative – without all the mind-numbing beeping and buzzing of electronic devices and games sounding off.

Hosted mid-afternoon Sunday at Fairfield Arts Center (FAC), 70 Sanford Street, and sponsored by Troy Fine Art Services of Southport, Family Fun Day offered children and their parents and grandparents the opportunity to unplug and reconnect through an engaging arts-based creative project. The event was the first in the series, to be held every third Sunday going forward. The session was free for FAC Family Members; $10 per child for non-members. Led by Fairfield art teacher and artist Diana Garigliano, participants decorated wooden birdhouses using paint, stickers and other materials.

“Troy Fine Art and the gallery’s principal, Denise DiGrigoli Amuso, are on the Arts Center advisory board, which is the connection between the two organizations,” said Kristin Fox, Executive Director of FAC, providing some background about the event. “Our Center is a municipal charter of the Town of Fairfield with a mission to integrate the creative process into the daily lives of Fairfield’s 60,000 constituents by providing access to arts through education, outreach and opportunity,” she said. “This program serves that mission, tapping into the family segment of the community. Otherwise we’re just a gallery with pretty artwork. It’s important to expose children to art at an early age.”

Randy Weis, the chairman of the FAC’s Board, said programs like these are an investment in the future. “These address an important segment of our outreach effort – the youth of Fairfield,” he said. “These same kids 20 years from now will hopefully drive the arts movement in town as adults. It’s important to focus on them at this stage to sustain the arts in our community.”

Troy Art’s Amuso was glad to see the program launch. “I’ve always wanted to bring family fun events to the Arts Center,” she said. “We talked about a spring-appropriate craft and a birdhouse project seemed to be a good fit. It ties in with the season and you don’t need a big skill set to decorate it.”

Fairfield parent Amy Murray, whose children Finn, 3, and Meghan, 6, were participating, was also happy for such a program. “I was real excited that the Arts Center was reaching out to the younger kids and decided to check it out and support them,” she said. “The kids love art, painting, clay. This is ideal for them and a fun activity on a Sunday.”

Another Fairfield mom, Amy McQuaid, onsite with daughter Ella, 5, said, “We wanted to support the Arts Center and Ella loves art and to paint. And her two-year-old brother loves birds – I’m sure this will be a great home for one.”

Parent of three girls and fellow Fairfielder April Clyne said the program is a great weekend diversion. “I’m always looking on Sundays for things to do with the kids, other than sports,” she said. “We play it low-key and this fits with that gameplan. This is something they really like to do.”

Nothing could be more true according to Chloe DeBona, 8, who was busy with her birdhouse. “I like to paint and I like art, so this is fun for me to do,” she said. “I’m going to put my birdhouse outside my bedroom window. I’ve got to make sure to keep it away from our cats. Hopefully a nice bird will move in.”

For more information about Family Fun Day, visit

Renaissance Faire a Magical Medieval Community Affair

Renaissance Faire a Magical Medieval Community Affair:
Trinity-St. Michael’s Church plays host to courtly characters
By Mike Lauterborn
(Posted to 5/23)
© 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Fairfield, CT – The setting was an authentic recreation of a certain period in time when princesses, knights, fairies and jesters were all the rage. On closer inspection though, you might notice that the tankard of grog held by the jolly friar was a can of root beer and those were Adidas sneakers on the young princess’ feet.

With a big “Huzzah!”, the Renaissance Faire, sponsored by and held on the grounds of Trinity-St. Michael’s Church at 554 Tunxis Hill Road, went ahead Sunday afternoon, drawing local residents and parishioners in to enjoy facepainting, hair braiding, storytelling, period dancing, a puppet show, moonbounce and food.

Event chairperson Carole Frawley, a vocal music teacher at Fairfield Woods Middle School and church parishioner, spoke about how the event came about. “I do a medieval acting/music class called Madrigals, with my 8th graders,” she said. “I knew I had all the actors and resources in place and suggested to the church that we conduct a renaissance-themed fundraiser. This also serves as a neighborhood get-together letting people know we’re here as a community servant for outreach activities. The grounds here, with all the stone work, archways and bell tower always seemed so suitable to me for this type of event, which we hope will become an annual affair.”

Six 8th graders from the school were on hand, in period costume, to help draw attendees and conduct the activities. “I tried to incorporate turkey legs into the menu,” said Frawley, with regard to her attempts to make the event as genuine as possible, “but everyone said ‘kids running with bones, uh-uh, not a good idea.’”

Frawley revealed some challenges the church had been undergoing, which made the fundraiser all that more critical. “We’re a very intimate congregation, with about 50 members,” she said. “Due to funding issues, we had to go to a part-time priest, Father Cox, who comes in every other week to conduct services. On the alternate Sundays, we have a visiting priest from Bridgeport. This is a beautiful church and a neighborhood anchor and we would love to have more parishioners, particularly younger families, to reinvigorate and carry on the church.”

Frawley said they hoped to break even with the event and that the fact that one of the parishioners covered the cost of the moonbounce rental took some of the pressure off.

The teens that were participating were thrilled about the Faire. “I’m a dancer so I love performing,” said Morgan D’Andrea, 14. “This is very exciting and it’s fun to dress up. With a medieval theme, you have to be more creative. They were crazy back then.”

A parent of one of the teens, Regina Sachakov, of Fairfield, spoke to the thrill factor. “My daughter Sharon was very excited about today and dedicated to being here,” she said. “She likes to entertain people, and serve a good cause at the same time.”

“Friar” Earl Dugan, a parishioner, agreed with D’Andrea. “It’s definitely fun to dress up for the day, but also to see the kids enjoy themselves,” he said. “This is a great way for the church to let the community know we’re alive and well.”