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Home Care in Hebron, CT

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that's how it should be - a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

However, as seniors grow older, sometimes they cannot live independently without someone by their side to provide care. Unfortunately, some older Americans aren't able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today's world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live in the comforts or their home rather than in an assisted living community. Home care in Hebron, CT is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

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Home Care Hebron, CT

The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they age. We are proud to have helped tens of thousands of seniors to maintain a higher level of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients' lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a "one size fits all" approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life's little moments - where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can't quite keep up with life's daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home care services in Hebron, CT. Always Best Care is here to help.

How does In-home Senior Care in Hebron, CT work?

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it's especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one ages, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

 In-Home Care Hebron, CT

Types of In-home Care in Hebron, CT

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

 Elderly Care Hebron, CT

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes or Parkinson's or Alzheimer's.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming
 Senior Care Hebron, CT

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading

Respite Care Hebron, CT

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite activities and hobbies while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community Events and Social Outings
 Caregivers Hebron, CT

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy other activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress helps reduce the risks of caregiver burnout.

When it comes to non-medical home care, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior's daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible. If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

Benefits of Home Care in Hebron, CT

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

Home Care Hebron, CT
  • Age in Place
    According to AARP, 9 out of 10 seniors prefer to age in place within the comfort of their own home. With in-home care, seniors have a way to stay at home, receive the care they need, and maintain a sense of independence, improving overall wellness.
  • Peace of Mind
    If you or a member of your family have assumed the role of caregiver for your senior loved one, you know how stressful the job can be. Between caregiver burnout and constant worry, being a family caregiver is hard. In-home care relieves your burden and gives you peace of mind knowing that your senior family member is in expert hands.
  • Socialization
    Unlike many senior care facilities where the staff and residents rotate frequently, seniors can foster new friendships and build bonds with their caregiver. Seniors who socialize on a regular basis are often happier, which fosters positivity and leads to increased wellbeing.
  • Personalized Care Plan
    No two seniors need the same kind of in-home care assistance. That is why each of our care plans are tailored to meet our client's individual needs. We offer plans that cover everything from light housekeeping to more involved duties like transportation to doctor's appointments. Our Care Coordinators will work closely with you to develop a personalized plan to ensure your senior's needs are exceeded.

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for clients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a unfamiliar assisted living community, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

 In-Home Care Hebron, CT

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:

Comfort

How much does a senior's home truly mean to them?

A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old. With the help of elderly care in Hebron, CT, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Healthy Living

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors. Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.

Independence

For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like an assisted living community. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

Cost and Convenience

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, can be less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

 Elderly Care Hebron, CT

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care in Hebron, CT gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

Affordable Care Plans

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

 Senior Care Hebron, CT

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

  • Veteran's Benefits: Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.
  • Private Insurance: Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.
  • Life Insurance: Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.

During your Care Plan consultation with Always Best Care, your Care Coordinator will speak with you about in-home care costs and what options there may be to help meet your budget needs.

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Hebron,CT understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

01

An assessment of your senior loved one

02

An in-depth discussion of the needs of your senior loved one to remain in their own home

03

Reviewing a detailed Care Plan that will meet your senior loved one's needs

Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

Latest News in Hebron, CT

13-mile DOT detour not really that long

There has been some public confusion over how traffic in Glastonbury and Hebron will be affected by the replacement of a culvert that carries Route 94 over Foot Sawmill Brook in Hebron.WHERE: On Route 94, Gilead Street, in Hebron between the road’s intersections with Murphy Road and West Street TRAFFIC: Official DOT detour through Manchester and Bolton is 13.2 miles long, but there are shorter routes over small, local roads. COST: Estimated at $500,000, whic...

There has been some public confusion over how traffic in Glastonbury and Hebron will be affected by the replacement of a culvert that carries Route 94 over Foot Sawmill Brook in Hebron.

“Route 94 will be closed from Sept. 18, 2022, to Nov. 19, 2022,” the state Department of Transportation wrote in a statement on its website.

The statement goes on to describe a 13.2-mile detour, for eastbound traffic, going north on Route 83 from Glastonbury into Manchester, east on Route 534 from Manchester into Bolton, and south on Route 85 from Bolton into Hebron. Westbound traffic is to follow the same detour in reverse, the DOT said.

What the statement doesn’t make clear is that Route 94, or Hebron Avenue, is not obstructed anywhere in Glastonbury. There is a flashing, roadside detour sign at Route 94’s intersection with Route 83, Manchester Road, that tells motorists, “Route 94 closed ahead.”

But an eastbound motorist doesn’t encounter any obstruction until the Murphy Road intersection in Hebron, the last intersection before the culvert. Route 94, Gilead Street, is completely blocked off at that point.

Motorists going west on Route 94 in Hebron encounter signs at the West Street intersection saying the road is closed. But the barrier there blocks off only half the road so that local traffic can get through to several houses and Footehills Farm, which are between the intersection and the culvert.

Exploration reveals that there is a much shorter route around the work area than the 13.2-mile detour mapped out by DOT.

The DOT detour consists entirely of numbered state roads. DOT spokesman Josh D. Morgan explained that this is the department’s general practice, although local roads can sometimes be used after discussions with local officials.

The alternate route, by contrast, involves driving on some narrow local roads that aren’t always well marked.

Nevertheless, an eastbound vehicle can turn right from Route 94 onto Murphy Road, then follow it south onto Jones Hollow Road and continue south along its winding path to the intersection of West Road. The vehicle can turn left there.

West Road eventually becomes Martin Road, and the eastbound vehicle can turn left on West Street and follow it north past the Blackledge Country Club, back to Route 94.

The culvert that is being replaced is somewhat unusual.

Many culverts are round pipes. But DOT describes the one that carries Foot Sawmill Brook under Route 94 as an “arch pipe” that is more than 2 feet wider than it is high. Its replacement will be a new arch pipe.

Even more unusual is that the culvert is just a few feet downstream from a wall that acts as a dam, turning a section of the brook into a small pond north of Route 94. There is a hole in the wall, as well as other leaks, and the water falls several feet from the surface of the pond to the level of the water that flows through the culvert.

DOT has declared the culvert replacement an emergency job. The contract for the work has been awarded to Brunalli Construction Co. of Southington, “at an estimated cost of $500,000,” according to the DOT. The work includes drainage and safety improvements to about 510 feet of the road as well as replacement of the culvert.

Animals at shelter found in poor condition; Hebron woman charged with animal cruelty

Police said dogs were found crammed in cages throughout the house and animals outside were also found in poor condition.HEBRON, Conn. — A Hebron woman is facing animal cruelty charges after an investigation found numerous animals in poor condition at her animal rescue.Police said 59-year-old Joann Connelly is the owner and operator of CT Pregnant Dog and Cat Rescue, a licensed animal importer.According to officials, an inspection in February 2020 revealed only five dogs appeared to be healthy. In February 2021, com...

Police said dogs were found crammed in cages throughout the house and animals outside were also found in poor condition.

HEBRON, Conn. — A Hebron woman is facing animal cruelty charges after an investigation found numerous animals in poor condition at her animal rescue.

Police said 59-year-old Joann Connelly is the owner and operator of CT Pregnant Dog and Cat Rescue, a licensed animal importer.

According to officials, an inspection in February 2020 revealed only five dogs appeared to be healthy. In February 2021, complaints began and continued to come into investigators regarding the animals under Connelly's care. Allegations of neglect were also reported.

Police said a locked gate was at the end of the driveway and numerous attempts were made, trying to gain access to the home for observation but they were unsuccessful. Despite the complaints received by State Animal Control, police said there was no substantive evidence to apply for a search and seizure warrant at the time.

On Wednesday, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) asked for assistance during a visit to the home, on information received that the owner had moved and a number of animals had been left behind.

While there, accompanied by the Hebron resident state trooper, a Hebron Animal Control officer and a State Animal Control officer, investigators found "deplorable" conditions in the home, police said. Investigators were hit with an overwhelming odor of urine and feces that could be smelled from outside of the home.

Investigators found a number of dogs in cages, crammed throughout the house, including the basement, police said.

Police said the floors were also covered in filth. Birds and cats were additionally found in the home. Goats, geese and a pony in poor condition were found outside the home as well.

Officials applied for an arrest warrant, charging Connelly with three counts of animal cruelty. On Friday, Connelly was arrested and is held on a court-set bond of $10,000.

All of the animals were seized by authorities and are under veterinary care.

Officials said the animals have predetermined adoptive homes and State Animal Control will be tracking and ensuring the animals are going to homes with proper care.

Jennifer Glatz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at [email protected].

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Why some Glastonbury residents oppose new apartment complex

GLASTONBURY — The Planning and Zoning Commission approved an application last week to construct an apartment complex on the corner of Hebron Avenue and Manchester Road.The building will have 74 units, including at least 30 percent that will be considered affordable housing.But Glastonbury residents have mixed feelings about the development.“I think allowing an apartment complex is a great idea because it allows those who otherwise have been priced out of Glastonbury a chance to live here,” said Dorothy ...

GLASTONBURY — The Planning and Zoning Commission approved an application last week to construct an apartment complex on the corner of Hebron Avenue and Manchester Road.

The building will have 74 units, including at least 30 percent that will be considered affordable housing.

But Glastonbury residents have mixed feelings about the development.

“I think allowing an apartment complex is a great idea because it allows those who otherwise have been priced out of Glastonbury a chance to live here,” said Dorothy Mills, who has lived in town since 1938. “It will help with diversity and bring new friendly faces to town.”

Several others disagree. In the Glastonbury Friends and Neighbors Facebook page, residents expressed concerns about bringing an apartment complex to an area that does not have many amenities.

“I think it’s a horrible location for any development —commercial or residential,” one woman wrote on Facebook.

Amy Gallatin lives just over a mile from the site. Her concerns about the construction focus on the potential safety issues of drilling near wells and increased pedestrian traffic in an area where she feels there is no room for kids to play.

“I'm through that intersection all the time,” Gallatin said. “I see how people barrel down Hebron Avenue from that hill directly above that intersection, no matter the speed limit.”

The 2.4-acre parcel is located at 1199 Manchester Road (Route 83) and is owned by the Manchester/ Hebron Avenue LLC.

The property is across the street from the fire department and abuts the cul-de-sac neighborhood of Stanley Drive. It is the only parcel in the area zoned for greater than single-family housing.

Mills said she can understand some of the anger of those opposed to the development, but challenged them to consider the advantages.

“People are angry out of fear,” Mills said. “I challenge these people to take a look in the mirror and ask how they'd feel if they were in the shoes of the future apartment tenants. Let's open our arms and welcome our new friends to town as I have been doing for many, many years.”

But some residents seemed concerned about increased traffic in the area. Since Jan. 1, 2020, there have been 45 crashes on Hebron Avenue. On Route 83, there have been 113 crashes during that time period.

During last week’s meeting, the consulting firm, Tighe and Bond, discussed the results of a traffic study that indicated there are ample sight lines for traffic exiting the complex and the development will “not have an adverse impact on traffic conditions” according to Chris Granatini, professional engineer.

Diana Wind, of Glastonbury, who lives at nearby Hurlburt Street, spoke at the meeting to express her concerns about increased traffic. She said the addition of a Trader Joe’s supermarket farther down Hebron Avenue has already started to make the area more congested.

“My husband and I reject the proposal because of traffic safety, air quality, noise and overall quality of life in this area of Glastonbury,” Sandra Davis, a Manchester Road resident who lives across the street from the proposed construction site, said during the meeting.

“The additional traffic at this intersection will increase accidents and possible deaths.”

Section 8-30g housing sets a goal that each Connecticut municipality has at least 10 percent of its housing stock be affordable. This particular complex would qualify as a “set-aside development” because at least 30 percent of units for at least 40 years will remain at prices that are less than 30 percent of a family’s income.

“We cannot deny this application unless we find substantial health and safety issues,” Planning and Zoning Commission Secretary Michael Botelho said. “The record does not reflect those issues. We have reports from the town and the town’s consultants Tight and Bond to support that.”

Gallatin believes the development, while affordable, does not reflect a commitment to providing affordable housing that is safe and connected to the community.

“If the developer and his attorneys truly believed in the mission of affordable housing, they would not be horsing this development into an area with no supporting infrastructure and no walkability for those who would be availing themselves of this affordable housing,” Gallatin said.

The town planning and zoning commission members have not responded to requests for comment. Four commission members voted in favor of the development and two opposed.

According to Glastonbury's affordable housing plan, 6 percent, or 783 units, of the town’s housing stock is classified as affordable under 8-30g. The report acknowledges the vast majority of housing in Glastonbury is single family, and 40 percent of renter households are cost-burdened.

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Weekend happenings across Connecticut, Sept. 9-11

Fair season is underway and there are plenty happening this weekend. See what's happening in your neck of the woods!CONNECTICUT, USA — It'll be a beautiful September weekend for you and your friends and family to get out there and enjoy! Fair season has also officially kicked off with plenty of local fairs to attend this weekend.Check out what you can do with the whole family!The Hebron Harvest Fair takes place this weekend from Thursday to Sunday! The family-friendly agricultural fair features liv...

Fair season is underway and there are plenty happening this weekend. See what's happening in your neck of the woods!

CONNECTICUT, USA — It'll be a beautiful September weekend for you and your friends and family to get out there and enjoy! Fair season has also officially kicked off with plenty of local fairs to attend this weekend.

Check out what you can do with the whole family!

The Hebron Harvest Fair takes place this weekend from Thursday to Sunday! The family-friendly agricultural fair features live entertainment, activities for children, rides, livestock pulls, motorsports and delicious food! Learn more about the fair here.

The 130th Wapping Fair will be held this weekend from Thursday to Sunday! Head to the fair to see live performances, a children's zoo, and have a weekend full of fun with family-friendly activities! The fair will be held at the South Windsor fairgrounds. Learn more about the fair and purchase tickets here.

The 2022 North Haven Fair will also take place Thursday through Sunday! Come down to see exhibits, live music, and family-friendly events, tractor pulls, a rodeo and delicious fair food! Learn more about the fair and see their schedule here!

Looking to start the weekend with a festival of live music? The Hartbeat Music Festival will be held Friday and Saturday in Hartford at the Riverfront Plaza! Festival organizers said this year’s festival would be even bigger and better. The festival has been expanded to Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and features many bands! Learn more about the event here.

Head down to New London for the Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival! The festival aims to "United our Shores" by providing a family-friendly event with chances to learn and interact with military personnel and vessels, maritime services, and other industry sectors. The festival will be held at New London Waterfront Park from Friday to Sunday. Learn more about the event here.

The Bethlehem Fair will be held from Friday evening to Sunday at the Bethlehem Fairgrounds! The fair will host live music performances, a talent show, and other activities the whole family can enjoy! Learn more about the fair and see the full schedule of events here.

Pride Month may have been officially in June, but Hartford is extending the party! The Hartford Pride festival and concert will take place on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. Learn more about the event and concert here!

For more events and other activities to do this weekend, head to CT Visit.

See you next weekend!

Jennifer Glatz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at [email protected].

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Hebron Maple Fest sweetens the weekend

HEBRON — The Hebron Maple Festival is back, with vendors, sugar houses, and introduction of donkeys and a mermaid.“We have all the same stuff,” Diane Nadeau, president and CEO of the Windham Chamber of Commerce and festival coordinator, said.“We have our bake sales, adventure days, tractor trains on Sunday. The library will have activities for kids and a warming center.”About 110 vendors are scheduled to be at the festival, she said, all incorporating a maple theme in their products....

HEBRON — The Hebron Maple Festival is back, with vendors, sugar houses, and introduction of donkeys and a mermaid.

“We have all the same stuff,” Diane Nadeau, president and CEO of the Windham Chamber of Commerce and festival coordinator, said.

“We have our bake sales, adventure days, tractor trains on Sunday. The library will have activities for kids and a warming center.”

About 110 vendors are scheduled to be at the festival, she said, all incorporating a maple theme in their products.

Nadeau said COVID-19 mandates will be lifted by the time the festival begins, so there will not be a requirement for attendees to wear a mask, but if anyone isn’t feeling well, they shouldn’t attend.

“We’re expecting people to come out of their shells and have a good time,” she said.

This will be Nadeau’s sixth year running the festival.

“I get to eat a lot of maple stuff,” she said. “The event is so important. It brings thousands and thousands of people to the tiny town of Hebron and rural eastern Connecticut. It supports groups, nonprofits, churches, and charities. It shows what a beautiful community it is and it brings people together. Maple syrup production is my favorite thing on the planet outside of my dogs and family.”

She said she hopes the festival will help teach children how syrup is made and that they will garner interest in the practice, taking up the call of running their own sugar houses some day.

“We’re seeing farms broken up,” she said. “We want to make sure our young folks don’t lose these skills. Hopefully somewhere down the road they’ll have their own sugar house.”

Ronald Wenzel, owner of Wenzel Sugar House at 522 East St., has been involved with the festival for 33 years. He said it has been a good season this year for the maple harvest.

“The weather has been very cooperative until now and that’s a good sign,” he said.

His sugar house is about 5 miles from downtown Hebron, and will be open for attendees to come and visit.

“This year we’re going to be demonstrating that maple syrup is produced here in Connecticut,” he said.

Also in attendance at the sugar house, he said, will be Ned Ellis from Maple Leaf Farm, who will show what Wenzel calls Ellis’ “employee of the year” — one of his milking cows — and explain how milk is collected and used.

“To me, and our family, it’s a great feeling to be doing something in the community,” he said. “It’s like volunteering to be on the school board or board of selectmen, giving your time to the town for free. That’s the fun part of it.”

New features

New activities at the festival, Nadeau said, include a mermaid and a donkey farm.

“Something new is Miss Mermaid,” she said. “We have Mr. Maple every year, but we have a live mermaid here.”

“If I was a 7-year-old girl I’d be dying over this,” she said.

Another new arrival at the festival is a herd of donkeys, courtesy of Jennifer Molnar, who said she has had a passion for donkeys since she was 8.

“It’s at my house,” she said, at 162 Cannon Drive.

She said her family built a barn to house her five donkeys and collection of donkey memorabilia that people can come and see.

“It’s around 80 display cabinets that are full of knickknacks, collectibles, artwork,” she said. “If it has a donkey on it, it’s there for people to see.”

She said a big draw so far has been her collection of manger scenes.

“The purpose is to show my collection and educate people about donkeys,” she said, adding she hopes to show people that donkeys aren’t the temperamental beasts people assume them to be.

“They’re big puppy dogs,” she said. “You just have to get to know them. If they bite and kick, it’s because you did something to them.”

Where one gets close to the donkeys will depend on the weather, she said.

“If it’s nice out, we can have a couple inside and outside and rotate through the day,” she said. “They can pet them and groom them. If it’s rainy they’ll be inside, in the stalls.”

Molnar said her family home is close enough that people can easily visit to the barn.

“My house will be on the map,” she said, which can be found on the visitor’s guide that will be available at the festival information station.

People who plan to attend the festival are asked to at RHAM High School to alleviate traffic and parking issues downtown.

“We have a shuttle that goes non-stop,” she said.

“We don’t want to interfere as some of the businesses are still open,” Nadeau said.

There will be designated parking for the handicapped at the library, which is closer.

For coverage of local restaurants, cultural events, music, and an extensive range of Connecticut theater reviews, follow Tim Leininger on Twitter: @Tim_E_Leininger, Facebook: Tim Leininger's Journal Inquirer News page, and Instagram: @One_Mans_Opinion77.

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