‘Alice’ turns 150, Santa in Rowayton, free Aquarium admission and more

Celebrate 'Alice' at the library.
Celebrate ‘Alice’ at the library.

NORWALK, Conn. – The Norwalk Public Library commemorates the 150th anniversary of “Alice in Wonderland” with a series of events for all ages starting Tuesday, Dec. 2.

In November, 1864, the manuscript volume of “Alice’s Adventures Underground,” which later became “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” was completed with illustrations by the author Charles Dodgson, who later became known as Lewis Carroll.

To honor the 150th anniversary of one of the most admired and pivotal works of the imagination, written to entertain and not instruct children, the library will offer a variety of programs:

  • 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2: A class on Jabberwocky presented by Dr. Bruce Kimmel for ages 10 to 12 in the Children’s Activity Room at the Main Library on Belden Avenue. Kimmel will introduce an understanding of Lewis Carroll, not only as a great storyteller and poet, but as one of the great practitioners of literary nonsense.
  • 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3: The Reader’s Choice Book Group at the Norwalk Senior Center will discuss “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” led by Librarian and Library Programming Specialist Cynde Bloom Lahey.
  • 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3: The Children’s Mad Hatter’s Tea Party will be a highlight in the Children’s Activity Room at the library. For ages, 2 to 7, children will enjoy a silly hat making craft and cookie party featuring a costume parade. Children are encouraged to come in a silly costume. Registration is required and limited to the first 20 children. Parents are also invited to attend.
  • 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3: Teens and adults can tumble down the rabbit hole with Alice for a fantastical adventure with a new twist on the screen in the 2010 “Alice in Wonderland” Alice (Mia Wasikowska), now 19 years old, returns to the whimsical world she first entered as a child and embarks on a journey to discover her true destiny. This wonderland is a world beyond the imagination. The characters come to life as Alice joins the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter), the White Rabbit (Michael Sheen) and more.
  • Noon Thursday, Dec. 4: The Books Sandwiched In! book group will discuss “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass” led by Librarian Susanah Violino.
  • 5:45 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4: Children of all ages can enjoy PJ’s Pizza and Movie Night in the main auditorium. The movie will be the animated Disney classic, “Alice in Wonderland.” $1 per person, limited to the first 80 people, no registration required.

Freebie for Norwalkers at the Maritime Aquarium

Norwalk residents can get close to seals, sharks, sea turtles and other animals for free on Sat., Dec. 6, on the third of three “Salute Norwalk Days.”

Families can get close to more than 2,700 marine animals – including sand tiger sharks, harbor seals, river otters, sea turtles and pulsing jellyfish – nearly all of which are native to Long Island Sound and its watershed. Highlights include the seals demonstrating some of their entertaining behaviors during feedings at 11:45 a.m. and 1:45 and 3:45 p.m. And the Shark & Ray Touch Pool, the “Jiggle A Jelly” touch-a-jellyfish display and the Intertidal Touch Tank bring animals right to your fingertips – literally.

The special day presents a free chance for Norwalk residents to vote in the Aquarium’s 13th annual “Festival of Lighthouses Contest,” which features 24 large model lighthouses made by local artists, families, students and individuals – including three Norwalk residents. Follow these beacons through the aquarium galleries and then vote for your favorite. The lighthouse that gets the most votes as of Jan. 19 wins $1,500.

“Salute Norwalk Day” also gives city residents a free chance to admire two historic Works Progress Administration (WPA) murals painted by Alexander Rummler in 1937 and displayed in The Maritime Aquarium. (The WPA was part of FDR’s “New Deal” in the 1930s to help shake America out of the Great Depression and get people – including artists – back to work.)

Also, residents will receive a 10 percent discount in the gift shop and a $1 discount at the IMAX movie theater.


Run, run reindeer

Santa will make his annual Rowayton Toy Run from 1 to 2:45 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7.

Santa will start at the Rowayton train station aboard his fire engine sleigh at 1 p.m. and make the following stops:

  • 1 p.m.: Rowayton Train Station
  • 1:10 p.m.: Corner of Crest & Ridgewood
  • 1:20 p.m.: Rowayton Library
  • 1:30 p.m.: Bell Island Gatehouse
  • 1:40 p.m.: Beach Association Boat House
  • 2 p.m.: Brendan’s 101
  • 2:15 to 2:45 p.m.: Rowayton Fire House

(Children who miss Santa on his rounds can visit him at the Fire House from 2:15-2:45 p.m.)

Don’t forget to bring a toy donation. The Holiday Toy Collection will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Rowayton Fire House. Members of the Rowayton Volunteer Fire Department will be collecting new toys for at-risk children in our area this holiday season. Bring a new, unwrapped toy, gift card or other gift (appropriate for ages 4-13) to the Fire House or hand your donation to Santa during his Santa Run that same day.


Toys will be donated to the George Washington Carver Center in South Norwalk and distributed at the Center’s annual holiday party. Call Joan de Regt at 853-0842 if you would like to participate, but can’t get to the Fire House that afternoon.


Triangle High Tea

The Triangle Community Center’s will hold its Holiday High Tea brunch from 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Norwalk Inn. The Center will announce major priorities for the new year and recap the successes of 2014, especially the LGBTQ-focused case management and transitional housing programs.


Norwalk religious leaders to address views of secularists

A pastor and a rabbi from Norwalk will be part of a panel of religious leaders Dec. 8 who will discuss how the members of active faith communities perceive their nonbelieving neighbors.

Rev. Dr. Lindsay Curtis, pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Norwalk, and Rabbi Joseph Ron Fish of Congregation Beth El in Norwalk will speak as part of a discussion hosted by the Humanists and Freethinkers of Fairfield County. The event, titled “How do Religious People View Secularists?” aims to answer questions, shed light and foster dialog between the religious and nonreligious communities.

The third panelist will be Rev. Charles H. Allen, S.J., University Chaplain and Special Assistant to the President at Fairfield University.

Secularist thinking, based in part on national surveys, includes a narrative of bigotry and prejudice against them from the religious majority, said Norwalk native John Levin, an organizer for HFFC who will moderate the discussion. “Is this true? Survey data is what it is, but is it true in Connecticut?  In Fairfield County? Our panel of local religious leaders answers this and related questions.”

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Silver Star Diner at 210 Connecticut Ave. It is free and open to the public.

The Humanists and Freethinkers of Fairfield County, Conn., espouses Reason and Compassion, seeks to promote Humanism and free thought in our community. It meets on the second Monday of each month, with speakers, discussion, and social time. Learn more at meetup.com/HFFCCT.



Norwalk Fire Department collecting toys

The Norwalk Fire Department is partnering with Human Services Council’s (HSC) – Children Connection’s annual toy drive, the Children’s Bank. This year, all five fire stations in the city will accept donations of new toys and gifts that will be given to almost 3,000 children living throughout lower Fairfield County.

The Connecticut Department of Children & Families (DCF) and other Norwalk agencies provide approximately 3,500 individual holiday wishes collected from the children they serve. These children have been abused, neglected and/or are at-risk, many of whom live in foster care or group homes and are struggling with frightening and unclear futures. For some of these children, this is the only gift they will receive.

The locations are:

  • Station 1 at 90 New Canaan Ave.
  • Station 2 at Headquarters at 121 Connecticut Ave. – 3rd Floor
  • Station 3 at 56 Van Zant St.
  • Station 4 at 180 Westport Ave.
  • Station 5 at 23 Meadow St.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to provide support to the Human Services Council and help children in need during this holiday season,” said Fire Chief Denis McCarthy. “We hope that using the 5 local firehouses will make it quick and convenient for residents or businesses that want to drop-off toy donations this holiday season.”


One response to “‘Alice’ turns 150, Santa in Rowayton, free Aquarium admission and more”

  1. Oldtimer

    Dr Bruce Kimmell is an authority on Jabberwocky ? That may explain a lot. Did Lewis Carroll ever write anything about how to practice party politics ?

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