westport 8/15/09

I think we can all look back with pride on the outstanding success of the Westport Heritage Festival last Saturday, which welcomed the world in to see the best of our small town. And the "best of the best" isn't even the great natural beauty that we enjoy so much. It's the truly amazing people who live here. So hats off to you, Westport. Well done!

We all owe a special thank-you to the indefatigable Nancy Decker, who took the lead in organizing this year's event, which included the extra work necessary to tie the Festival into the larger Quad celebrations happening throughout the region. Nancy also led the way in organizing the excellent new Visitors Center in the Heritage House. Thank you, Nancy, for all your hard work.

We might also mention George Maffey, who over the past decade or so has played the leading role in getting both the Festival and Visitors Center under way, not to mention doing much of the actual labor in restoring the Heritage House himself. Working closely with the Chamber of Commerce, George laid the groundwork that made this year's success possible.

Of course, thanks also go to all the volunteers who helped with all the many tasks that were part of making these projects work so well. That's a lot of volunteer hours, and it only happens when people like you care enough to step up and put the time in.

It seemed pretty clear that this year more people than ever came to town for the Festival. Next year promises to be even bigger and better.

This weekend I hope you'll come see our superbly talented young actors of the Depot Theatre Apprentice Program in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," directed by Lindsay Pontius and Scott Gibbs, which is the first offering in this year's Westport Shakespeare-in-the-Park Festival in Ballard Park. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday, August 14 and 15, at 5 p.m., with a raindate of Sunday, August 16. Admission is free.

It's going to be a really fun show this year, and the cast includes students from nearby communities such as Moriah, Elizabethtown, and Jay, as well as Westport. They're buzzing with energy and promise to light up the stage.

Well, not the stage exactly-the trees nearby. This year, we've moved the action from the Pavilion to the lightly wooded hillside nearby, since the play itself is full of woodsy mystery. It's got magic, romance, love potions, comedy, intrigue-and, of course, fairies.

We'll let you know where to sit. Bring a chair or blanket and prepare to be enchanted.

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