July 5, 2022

High Spirits at “The Come Home to Chester Days”

The lights were bright, but people’s spirits were brighter during the opening festivities of the 20th Annual Come Home to Chester Days

Crowds outside the Maple and Main Gallery of Fine Art

Stores and galleries remained open late to welcome shoppers and visitors alike. Pedestrians crowded the sidewalks (and sometimes the street) outside of lighted windows. 

A giant beet outside of The Local Beet, Groceries for a Green Planet

Stores like The Local Beet offered free samples while other venues, like The Hammered Edge, held special sales. 

A (happy) sale sign in front of The Hammered Edge

 A spoken word artist performed outside e o art lab, drawing an audience of appreciative listeners. 

Spoken word artist against the bright windows of e o art lab

Light and music spilled out of various venues, while a live band performed on the steps of C+G Unparalleled Apparel (first floor) and C+G Posters and Prints (second floor). 

A live band welcomes visitors to C+G

While the streets were less busy by the end of the night, shoppers and visitors still crowded the venues sidewalks. 

Ceramica’s doors are wide open to welcome visitors and shoppers

Peek-a-booquet n. Cupcake is open for business

Art through the windows of Maple and Main Gallery of Fine Art

The Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery

As the Sign Says - Everything Was Open!

All photos and reporting courtesy of Lauren Dickey

Barn Celebration during ‘Come Home to Chester Weekend’.

Chester native, Diane Lindsay, photographed many of Chester's old barns for the CT Barn Survey. Her photos will be among those exhibited at the Chester Museum at The Mill beginning Sept. 17.

For centuries, farming was a major component of life in Chester. Today there are still barns, and animals, and harvests reminding us of our past.

On Saturday, Sept. 18, during Come Home to Chester Weekend, two of Chester’s nonprofit organizations – the Historical Society and the Land Trust – are hosting a celebration of barns followed by a harvest dinner in the Chester Meeting House on Goose Hill Road. The event is free and open to the public.

The Historical Society’s Barn Celebration starts at 3 p.m. Chester’s Scouts will raise a small post and beam structure on the town green (or indoors, in case of rain). Everyone is invited to watch and learn. They’ll hear how round trees were turned into square posts and, using early woodworking techniques, they can make the wooden pegs that fasten posts and beams together. The holes for the wooden pegs or “tree nails” used to be made with large augers (Chester had more than a dozen small factories that made augers), and people are invited to try their hand at boring holes.  People are also invited to try their hand at splitting out roof shingles (just the thing needed to protect the barn’s structural frame).

Chester resident Doreen Bickford will bring her sheep and will demonstrate carding and spinning wool.

Beginning at 4 p.m., Todd Levine, the architectural historian who is directing the Connecticut Barn Survey for the CT Trust for Historic Preservation, will give a program about the history of barn types in Connecticut and the importance of their preservation. Chester’s own Barn Survey will be included in his talk. Then Billy Cadley, who builds post and beam structures and recently built the barn at the corner of Rtes. 145 and 148, will speak about his experiences in barn building, the materials and where they come from, new and old tools, and technologies that he uses.

There will be time for questions and answers.

At the conclusion of the barn program, tables will be set for the potluck Harvest Supper, hosted by the Chester Land Trust. Bring a dish to share from your garden or a meat dish or dessert to share. Bring your own beverages and service and enjoy the evening at an old-fashioned supper of home-grown foods.

 Leading into the Sept. 18th events, on Friday, Sept. 17, the Chester Museum at The Mill at 9 West Main Street will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. during Come Home to Chester night with an exhibit of farm tools and articles on loan from the Chester Fair Association, and original paintings and photographs of Chester barns, all created by Chester artists. The artwork will be available for sale with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Historical Society. Refreshments will be served. 

For more information, go to www.ChesterHistoricalSociety.org or call 860-526-2331.