What’s on your Spring #CTBucketList?

Let “Unofficial” Summer Begin Hartford

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We all know real summer doesn’t really begin until June, but for many of us, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial launch of the most wonderful time of the year for the winter-weary.

And so we welcome this three-day holiday weekend, a time for picnics and parades and sunshine and a renewed spirit, a time to honor our nation’s veterans, take time for family and welcome the best that warm weather can offer.

Today the Salvation Army of Greater Hartford will hold its “Beyond the Bells” luncheon at the Hartford Marriott Downtown, where it will present the “Others Award” to an organization or individual exemplifying exceptional service to others. This year’s honoree will be Aetna. Its “Doing the Most Good” award will be presented to Henry Bahre at the luncheon  that this year will features Bevin Brothers Mfg. President Matt Bevin. The East Hampton bell factory, that manufactured the Salvation Army’s trademark  bells as well as other lines,  was destroyed by fire last year and is rebuilding the business.

Proceeds from the luncheon that begins at 11:30 a.m. benefit Salvation Army programs.   For information go to salvationarmy.org

Thurday evening, Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington will hold its “Monet in May” annual dinner auction. Dinner and auctions will be held under a tent on the museum’s West Lawn. Proceeds support the preservation of the National Historic Landmark, as well as it  paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, architecture, landscape and gardens.

What’s a Memorial Day weekend without lobster?

Mystic Seaports kicks off the unofficial summer season with its three-day  28th annual  Lobster Days festival beginning Saturday.

Members of the Mystic Rotary Club will serve lobsters-in-the-rough from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day at the seaport’s waterfront open-air boat shed . More than 3,000 lobsters will be cooked for the festival that includes its annual “Decoration Day” ceremony on Monday.

A special combination tickets that includes museum admission and a single lobster dinner and dinner only tickets are available.Proceeds benefit the Mystic Rotary.

Information: mysticseaport.org

Also this weekend, one of New England’s largest arts festivals takes place in Northampton, Mass.

The 19th annual Paradise City Arts Festival opens Saturday at the Three County Fairgrounds and continues through Monday. The weekend includes exhibitions by 260 artists, including many from Connecticut, a gourmet dining, jazz by Giacomo Gates on Sunday and Charles Neville on Monday. Information: paradisecityarts.com

And what better way to welcome the arrival of summer than a trip to the drive-in. Yes, you can still do that here in CT beginning this weekend!  Both the Mansfield Drive-In and the Pleasant Valley Drive-In on the New Hartford-Winsted line are open this holiday weekend. Information: mansfielddrivein.com and http://www.pleasantvalleydriveinmovies.com

And finally, as the daughter, niece, widow and friend  of men and women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, take a moment Monday to remember those who gave their lives and acknowledge those who stepped up and served to protect our country.

For MaryEllen Fillo’s blog, go to: courantblogs.com/java.

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