Greetings dear friends and loyal readers, and welcome back for a mid-November visit here on the Front Porch, where the sun rose at 6:35 a.m., will set at 4:29 p.m., and where we are celebrating the end of election season (almost), congratulating all our newly elected public servants, and preparing to usher in the holiday season. Yes, dear readers, it is just 10 days away from Thanksgiving, which means Christmas is indeed around the corner! Over the river and through the woods and away we go! Remember that wonderful poem, "Thanksgiving Day" by Lydia Marie Child? The one that begins:

Over the river and through the wood, To have first-rate play. Hear the bells ring, "Ting-a-ling-ding!" Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

It turns out that Child, according to the Poetry Foundation, "ranks among the most influential of 19th-century American women writers" a tireless crusader for truth and justice and a champion of excluded groups in American society — especially Native Americans, enslaved peoples, and women."

Take a few minutes to read up on Child's amazing legacy. She was quite the writer and quite the activist! Here's to you, Ms. Child! And here's to Thanksgiving!

Here in Westerly, holiday festivities will kick off the day after Thanksgiving (Friday, Nov. 25) with the reopening of the the Washington Trust Community Skating Center, the arrival of Santa in Dixon Square and a host of other activities — including a concert with the wonderful Will Evans at the United Theatre Friday night. Our pal Glenn Kendzia will return from Nashville to open for Will, who just released a new album, "After the Burnt Out Sun."

On Saturday, Nov. 26, in Stonington, the fun will continue with the launch of the "Find the Buoy Holiday Scavenger Hunt," which will take place shortly before the unveiling of the Stonington Lobster Trap Tree at the Stonington Town Docks, according to Sandra Alexander from the Stonington Borough Merchants Association.

But I jumped ahead of myself! This coming weekend is shaping up to be another busy one, with activities galore ... sort of the busy weekend before the busy holiday weekend. In Westerly, artist Wells Moore will greet people at the United Gallery Friday from 6-8 p.m. for the opening of her show, "DNR: Recent Work." Some readers may remember Moore's book, "Selfies," which featured colorful and thought-provoking self-portraits that she created daily and shared on Facebook.

Over in Stonington, meanwhile, according to silversmith Betsy Drake Bierkan of Spencer Hill Jewelry, the Velvet Mill is gearing up to celebrate "Pink Friday" on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. It's an event designed to "celebrate artisans and small businesses the week before Black Friday," Betsy told me. There will be roughly 30 vendors who will gather in one of the common spaces at the Velvet Mill to sell their wares while Dr. Westchesterson plays piano and various restaurants open their doors for customers, Betsy said.

This weekend also marks the Chorus of Westerly's kick-off to its "Symphonic Concert Season" with concerts on Saturday and Sunday that will take audiences "on a journey through the works of Franz Joseph Haydn and Caroline Shaw." Music-lovers are invited to attend a pre-concert lecture at the Westerly Library on Wednesday from 6-7 p.m. when Chorus Assistant Conductor Kathryn Aaron will explore the creation of the two choral masterpieces. 

Also on Saturday, the Granite Theatre will announce its upcoming season at an open house from 5 to 8 p.m. and everyone is invited!

Now, back to tonight! Don't miss the annual Westerly Lions & Rotary Pasta Supper at the Calabrese Club tonight from 5 to 7 p.m., a benefit for the Jonnycake Fuel Assistance Fund.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I had a call from George Bauerle the other day who wanted to share some wonderful news about his nephew and Godson, Chad Bauerle, who owns the popular Bomb Burritos & Bowls in Dunn's Corners, with his business partner, Dan Latimer. In an amazing act of generosity, the businessmen  plan to serve up classic turkey dinners "to anyone who might need a warm meal this Thanksgiving."

"Thanksgiving is for sharing with those you care about," according to a post on their Facebook page, "We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be able to share with this community that has supported us for the past two years. Please spread the word to your friends, families ... All you have to do is pull up, let us know how many meals you would like, and we'll take care of the rest."

Keep an eye open for Chad and Dan's next venture. They plan to open a "new concept" next door to the burrito shop, called "Bomb Wings & Wedges." Their spot is a few doors down from Evie's Westerly, which held its official ribbon-cutting ceremony over the weekend.

And so, dear readers, if you see my friend Betty-Jo Cugini around town, wish her a happy birthday, and until next time, be safe, be kind, and ciao bella!

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