Group Works To Continue Christmas Eve Caroling at God’s Acre

A group of local volunteers have formed a new entity to ensure that a beloved New Canaan tradition, long supported by some of the town’s most generous individuals and families, continues in perpetuity. Though it may appear to spring up spontaneously from the patch of ground on which New Canaan was founded, the cherished Christmas Eve caroling at God’s Acre is in fact the result of multiple coordinated steps and support from families such as the Hersams and Karls, and residents such as Steve Benko, officials say. With the sale in October of Hersam Acorn Newspapers Inc. to Hearst, the multiple “moving parts” overseen for decades by the former New Canaan Advertiser publishers—getting lights on the tree, printing 2,000 songsheets, setting up barricades and the bandstand and making arrangements for the New Canaan Town Band as well as coordinating with groups such as the Congregational Church of New Canaan, New Canaan Police Department and Department of Public Works—all must fall to new people. Enter Benko, Tucker Murphy, Tom Stadler, Steve Karl, Leo Karl III and Scott Gress. Following multiple multi-hour meetings in recent days, they formed the God’s Acre Caroling Foundation, established to collect donations and ensure that the century-old traditional can continue (see mailing info below).

PHOTOS: Second Annual ‘Scarecrow Fest’ Adorns Downtown New Canaan

Downtown New Canaan got a seasonal makeover this week as local families and businesses created dozens of scarecrows now hanging from lampposts on Elm, Forest and Main Streets and South Avenue. Organized by the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce and Young Women’s League, the second annual Scarecrow Fest is sponsored by Weed & Duryea. It’s “just a fun way to dress town up and get ready for the [Oct. 28] Halloween Parade,” Chamber Executive Tucker Murphy said. 

“Anybody who comes downtown—I don’t care if you are two or 102—if you walk up Elm and Main, no matter what street, all it does is bring a smile to your face,” she said. “It’s another great community builder.”

Many of those putting together the scarecrows got very creative, Murphy said, such as Francos Wine Merchants using corks for fingers and grapes for hair, or The Linen Shop, which features a scarecrow tucked under a shower curtain.

Locals Gear up For ‘Taste of the Town Stroll’ on Thursday

Residents are gearing up for a popular event downtown that’s designed to showcase local businesses while raising food for the New Canaan Food Pantry as well as gently used eyeglasses and hearing aids for the Lion’s Club of New Canaan. The eighth annual “Taste of the Town Stroll” runs 6 to 8 p.m Thursday and will feature more than 15 stores, businesses and restaurants offering food and prizes. To earn a map of those locations and participate in the Stroll, people should bring (unopened and unexpired) goods—such as coffee, juice boxes, crackers, pasta sauce, canned stew, canned chicken, mayonnaise, tea bags and family-sized snacks—to the area out front of the Playhouse on Elm Street. 

For those seeking a one-stop shop for an appropriate donation for the pantry, Walter Stewart’s Market has generously put together bags of goods with a retail value of $30 that the cornerstone New Canaan business is selling for $20. “It is our pleasure to team up with the Chamber and support this fun event again this year,” said Doug Stewart of Walter Stewart’s. “We hope to help stock the New Canaan Food Pantry with much-needed groceries.”