Community news: Pumpkin carnival returning to Darien, and more

Tokeneke Pumpkin Carnival returning

The Tokeneke School Pumpkin Carnival is returning from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Oct. 16, in the parking lot of the school at 7 Old Farm Road.

The fundraiser has been going on for more than 50 years, and did not take place in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

There will be rides, a variety of lawn games, food, art activities, face painting, performances, an obstacle course and prizes.

Tokeneke is partnering with the Darien Human Services department again, so that area families can participate in the event free of charge. Families that would not have otherwise been able to attend the event in previous years, were provided with a free ride, and game tickets, along with complimentary food, and drink. Organizers are looking to the Tokeneke school community to expand the multi-year program in 2021, and include more eligible Darien families in the initiative.

The Tokeneke Parent Teacher Organization organizes the Pumpkin Carnival and local businesses are key supporters of the event. Funds raised at the Pumpkin Carnival provide funding for the Enrichment Program at the Tokeneke Elementary School.

Tokeneke is one of five elementary schools in Darien, and serves 500 students from pre-school through the fifth grade.

Visit to learn more about the carnival. Also Like, and follow @tokeneke_pto on Instagram.

High school students honored in Merit Scholarship Program

Twenty-five Darien High School senior students have been named Commended Students in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program.

The students are: Emma de Graaff, Luke Dehmel, Andres Devens, Brooke Dolan, Alexander Domittner, Kiran Ebrahimi, Patrick Finnegan, Piper Fitzgerald, Julia Fullington, John Gorman, Elizabeth Haidinger, Ryan Jones, James Leone, Reed Levinson, Lachlan McLaren, Stella Meier, Sebastian Mengwall, Ellis Murphy, Clara O'Connor, Shruthi Palaniappan, Andrew Siever, Ella Whitticom, Katherine Wolters, Charlotte Zaino and Saskia Zimmerman.

Darien High School Assistant Principal Katherine Dimoulas, and Darien High School Director of Guidance, Meghan Emanuelson presented the students with A Letter of Commendation in recognition of their academic promise for the future.

Barrett Bookstore, community association event with author

The Barrett Bookstore and the Darien Community Association are having a live, in-person event at the association’s building with author Elizabeth Strout about her latest novel, “Oh William!” at 7 p.m. on Oct. 26.

The evening will include a conversation with Strout and time for questions from the audience.

Tickets are $35 for association members and $45 for the public.

Register for the event online by noon, Oct. 25, at, or call the association at (203) 655-9050, ext. 10.

Signed copies of the book are included in the ticket price. The association is monitoring the coronavirus pandemic. Changes to the event format may be made at the discretion of the publisher, author, or event hosts. Refunds are not available. The association is following COVID-19 safety protocols. The bookstore is located at 6 Corbin Drive, in Darien.

Darien residents’ band holding annual Music for Hope fundraiser

Nashville recording artists, and the local country western band, Gunsmoke, is holding its annual Music for Hope fundraiser benefit event in partnership with, and at the St. Ann Club in Norwalk, at 3 p.m., Oct. 17. The event includes a concert, and dinner that will benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Admission is $20. Reservations are required in advance at 203-554-1507. The Club is located at 16 Hendricks Ave., in Norwalk. Visit to find out more about the band. The band Gunsmoke established Music for Hope in 2010, and has raised thousands of dollars to fight cancer on the local and national level through concerts, dinner dances and recordings.

The band was formed by brothers Jeff and Nick DeMaio Jr., of Darien, and has been performing classic country, western, swing and rockabilly music for more than 25 years. In addition to Jeff and Nick, Gunsmoke includes band members: Christina Mae, Van Manakas, Guy “Fooch” Fischetti and Nick DeMaio III.

Darien Depot volunteer club co-presidents delivering goodie bags

Volunteers from the Depot, Darien’s youth center, recently helped the Rosebud Reservation, one of the group’s the Depot’s Volunteer Club supports.

Volunteer club members Tori Caruso, Ava deCastro, Sophie Schawarz, Grace Quinn, Katie Bloomer and Sadie Leopold recently put together goodie travel bags for a team of students, who previously went with a local dentist, Dr. Maryann Lehmann, to a dental clinic in South Dakota.

The Rosebud Reservation is home to the Lakota people. Sicangu Sioux, and is one of the seven tribes of the Lakota Nation, according to nativepartnership,org. The St. Francis Mission, and the Indian Health Service Clinic are the two places in the area that provide dental services. The clinic has one dentist for more than 30,000 people.