NEW LONDON VALENTINE’S DAY CELEBRATION COMBINES TASTY MORSELS AND CINEMATIC ROMANCE
VValentine’s Day is a conundrum devised by, depending upon your perspective and level of cynicism, the ancient Romans or Hallmark. For established couples, it is a romantic day of obligation. For singles, it’s often a day of mixed emotions.
Both groups, however, can agree that Feb. 14 in downtown New London is something special.
That’s when New London Main Street presents its annual Valentine’s Day celebration, which tentatively is retaining its title from 2008 of “Reel Love: Sweets, Savories & the Silver Screen.”
And like last year, the organization is teaming with Garde Arts Center to create the perfect venue for the Saturday night celebration.
“We were lacking a space for the event until the very last minute last year,” says Tracy Bergenn, New London Main Street promotions coordinator. “The Garde saved the day by offering us the opportunity to collaborate with the New LondonWinter Film Festival.”
So after a very successful silent auction, the next course was the romantic Irish movie “Once,” followed by a course of sweets and savories. The response was excellent, so as Bergenn says, “If it ain’t broke …”
The movie that will be shown this time around is not known yet, but if past New LondonWinter Film Festivals are any indication, it will be an Oscar contender (as “Once” was for Best Song) and, ideally, romantic.
What was a collaboration that came together at the last minute ended up being a huge success, with New London Main Street selling all 200 available tickets and earning $4,000 on the silent auction.
“The Garde is so supportive of the event and the organization that they’re really excited about us coming back,” Bergenn says.
The plan is to follow the itinerary of last year, which kicks off the silent auction at 6 p.m. Some of the items up for grabs include a ski resort package at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire, a trip for two to a vineyard on Long Island and the opportunity to have a personal chef come cook dinner for you and your sweetheart at your home.
The movie will follow at 7 p.m. and the evening topped off with a wine and dessert extravaganza. Last year, 24 restaurants donated platters, with a range of fare that included vegetable dumplings with Thai chili, raspberry-chocolate petit fours, tiramisu and cannoli.
“This is a wonderful way for the community to get together,” Bergenn says.
She explains that while many of the tickets are sold to couples, there have been increasing numbers of singles.
“We’ve seen lots of groups of single friends,” she says. “It’s a great opportunity for friends to get together and enjoy a wonderful evening.”
Attendees are encouraged to have dinner in downtown New London before heading over to “Reel Love.” Their receipt from the downtown restaurant will be entered into a raffle for an overnight stay at Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge, Mass.
Tickets, which were $25 in 2008, can be purchased at the Garde Arts Center box office, at gardearts.org or by calling 860-444-7373.
AFTER THE FILM, TIME TO SAMPLE GOURMET TREATS. PHOTOS COURTESY NEW LONDON MAIN STREET.