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March Brings Great Weekend Choices To Hartford

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Hartford Courant Java columnist MaryEllen Fillo talks about what’s going on in greater Hartford this weekend including “A Toast to Women,” an event hosted by The Connecticut Forum and more.

See below for additional information or visit courant.com/java to read more from Fillo’s blog.

With a (finally) warmer weekend forecast in the offing, take advantage of some “get out” days this weekend by doing just that.You can start recovering from a winter of cabin fever be heading over to Avon Old Farms Hotel Thursday for “A Toast to Women, An Evening of Wine & Chocolate Delights.”The event, celebrating March 8 as “National Women’s Day,” is presented by  Soroptimist International of Farmington Valley and features chocolate creations by several well-known  area restaurants including Apricots, Cavey’s, Grist Mill and Max Downtown.

Featured guest is author and humorist Gina Barreca, with emcee Debbie Allen Wright. Proceeds will benefit Grace Academy in Hartford, Prudence Crandall Center in New Britain and SIFV sponsored awards that empower women and girls to live their dreams. Information: 860-930-9298.

And speaking of National Women’s Day, Charter Oak Cultural Center will be the venue for the Women Composers Festival  beginning Thursday and continuing through Sunday. Among the performers are Andrew Clearfield and Agosto and the Sylvanus Ensemble. Information: womencomposersfestivalhartford.com

On Friday, The Connecticut Forum will present “An Honest Look At Mental Illness,” at a series program at the Bushnell. Moderated by NPR’s John Dankosky, panelist swill include author and psychologist Andrew Solomon, Institute of Living chief of psychiatry Dr. Hank Schwartz and author/bipolar expert Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison. Information: ctforum.org

Get your gypsy on Saturday when The Dirt Salon at 50 Bartholomew Ave. in Hartford presents “Night of Gypsies” event. The evening features a Gypsy Camp, created by well-known Hartford artist and puppet maker Anne Cubberly. Also helping to create the mood are studio painters Alexia Lalande and Jen Bonee, and photographer Karen Weiser Kelly. There will be live music, fortune-telling, a photo booth, henna painting and wild gypsy dancing. Just the thing to get rid of that (hopefully) final wave of winter blues and bring out the gypsy in your soul. Information: thedirtsalon.com

Speaking of art inspired events, you can also head down to Foxwoods on Friday from 8 to 10 p.m. where the resort casino is hosting its “Drunken Palette” at the casino’s new lounge, The Box. A local artist will be on hand to help guests create a one-of-a-kind work of art while enjoying a complimentary glass of wine. The special art night continues Fridays through March.  Information: foxwoods.com

And on Saturday, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra will be saluting singer/composer Billy Joel at its POPS concert Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Bushnell. Hartt School director of bands Glen Adsit will conduct the program featuring Michael Cavanaugh and music from other rock ‘n’ roll icons including Elvis Presley, Elton John and Jerry Lee Lewis. Information: hartfordsymphony.org

And finally, we all know it’s tax time. And Hartford is offering some help not only with that but finances in general.

On March 8 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. the City of Hartford, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut and The Village for Families & Children will host Dollars and Sense Day at Hartford Public Library Downtown, 500 Main St. The event is free, open to the public and part of the 2014 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Campaign and MyFreeTaxes. Both services help lower-to-moderate wage earning families work toward financial security.

Bank of America volunteers will provide financial budget coaching, and other volunteers will assist families with benefits screening. Families and children may enjoy guest read-a-loud sessions, complimentary refreshments, several prize drawings, kids’ activities and more.

People will also be able to access the CT Works One-Stop Career Center at Hartford Public Library for assistance with employment services such as job searching, resume writing and workshops.

Information: unitedwayinc.org/freetaxrefunds.

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