From the Mark Twain House and Museum to the Coventry Regional Farmers Market, state residents have chosen 10 finalists in the #CTFanFavorite tourism campaign online. Now the voting starts to pick a fan-favorite.
From July 17 to 31, the Connecticut Office of Tourism asked residents to name favorite state destinations on Twitter and Facebook, and announced the finalists on Monday.
From now through Aug. 20, people can vote for their favorite on the Facebook page VisitConnecticut. The fan-favorite will be featured in a digital advertisement and documentary video to run online and on the state's social media channels.
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The finalists, listed alphabetically:
--The Connecticut Historical Society, the non-profit "museum, library, research and educational center" in Hartford. Executive Director Kate Steinway said the society works to be accessible. "History and historian might not have the best image, but we have a reputation as a friendly approachable place," she said. "We have the only exhibition in Connecticut on the history of the state from Native Americans to present day."
--The Coventry Regional Farmers Market at the Nathan Hale Homestead, the state's largest farmers' market. Executive Director Winter Caplanson said: "Each market day has a theme, such as our upcoming 'blues, brews, and barbecues.' We are only open from 11 to 2, which makes for a very intense exciting marketplace."
--Curtain Call Inc., the "live theater, performing arts production company" in Stamford.
--The Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Hartford, the home of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" author. Mary Ellen White, the director of marketing noted the "robust year of programming" tied to Stowe's 200th birthday. "We featured book discussions from nationally recognized authors like Robin Bernstein and Barbara Hochman, not to mention continuing the popular Salons at Stowe series," White said.
--Hartford Stage, the theater organization in Hartford. Managing Director Michael Stotts said the theater was nominated because "we touch a hundred thousand lives a year through innovative and revolutionary productions we put on our stage." For example, he said, "'Breakdancing Shakespeare' employs 18 local Greater Hartford youth throughout the summer, working on a project that culminates in actual stage performance."
--The Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, which includes a number of renowned French Impressionist paintings. Curator Melanie Anderson Bourbeau said the museum offered works from "Monet, Cassatt, Whistler and Manet, up close and personal. It is a rare thing to see artwork in its original domestic setting."
--The Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts in Westport. Executive Director Freda Walsh said the pavilion "puts on 50 to 60 free outdoor concert performances annually. This year alone, we booked Tom Jones, the Doobie Brothers, Huey Lewis and the News, and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons."
--The Mark Twain House and Museum, the Hartford home of the author of "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." Publicist and Publications Editor Steve Courtney said the museum is "a natural to be nominated for the 'Still Revolutionary' category," referring to the state's tourism slogan. "Mark Twain was the quintessential American, an extraordinary eloquent writer, very funny humorist, a man deeply concerned with the issues of his time," Courtney said. "We have right here in Connecticut the place where he lived for the longest period of his life, where he produced most of his major works."
The New England Air Museum at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks. Executive Director Michael Speciale called the museum "a truly extraordinary experience for visitors. You can sit in an airplane cockpit, build rockets, or go in a high-precision flight simulator. We hire sufficient educators, with a special focus on reaching children."
--The Westport Country Playhouse, the theater venue in Westport. Managing Director Michael Ross said he was thrilled. "Anything that promotes activity in Connecticut where people get up and get out is fantastic. I don't think [our nomination] was due to one particular show in the past year, but just a great active group of patrons."
More 1,800 nominations for 160 individual destinations were made online. Attractions included in the tourism agency's marketing blitz this past spring were ineligible, including, among others, the Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun casino, the State Capitol Building, the Connecticut Science Center, Mystic Aquarium and Seaport, and The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts.