CT Flower & Garden Show 2021 in Hartford canceled


The longtime producer of the Connecticut Flower & Garden Show today announced the cancelation of its February 2021 event, in response to uncertainty about the impact of the COVID-19 on events during the next five months.

Considered one of New England’s top flower shows, the 40th annual edition was scheduled to take place from Thursday, Feb. 25, through Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.

“This has been a very difficult decision but we believe that, as of now, we would be unable to produce a successful Connecticut Flower & Garden Show at the Connecticut Convention Center this February,” Kristie Gonsalves, President of North East Expos, Inc. and a past president of the National Association of Consumer Show Producers, said in a news release. “I want to be sure we have a safe and profitable environment for all and it would be unfair to ask attendees and exhibitors — many of them small family businesses, like mine — to jeopardize their health and financial well-being just to continue with a tradition … even this beautiful, joyful one.



“Our show utilizes every inch of space in the convention center’s Exhibition Hall as well as several seminar rooms, and employing socially distanced booths, one-way aisles, and limiting the number of people inside at any one time would not only be difficult, but could affect the bottom line of hundreds of quality exhibitors, landscapers and vendors, some of whom travel here from across the country,” Gonsalves said. “They count on our show to generate over 40,000 eager attendees so they can display, promote and sell their services and products. For them, substantially reduced foot traffic would be extremely detrimental.



“An expansive live garden show like this involves months and months of advance production, including the confirmations of booth participants and expert speakers, with landscapers and members of the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut preparing eight to nine months in advance to create impressive displays and exhibits,” Gonsalves

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Buyer comes forward to keep Blue Plate Kitchen open in West Hartford

West Hartford’s Blue Plate Kitchen, originally slated to close at the end of August, will survive under new ownership. Miguel Proano and Carlina Fontaine have purchased the restaurant in the town’s Bishops Corner retail area, with plans to continue its “modern comfort fare” tradition with expanded options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.



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Blue Plate Kitchen’s founder Jay DuMond and his wife Lisa Cole initially said in early August that they would close the North Main Street eatery because of the effects of COVID-19 and related restrictions on dining. When Proano heard the restaurant was for sale, he contacted DuMond, who also owns City Steam in Hartford.

The sale “happened very quickly,” he said, and they transitioned to new ownership swiftly.

This is the second time in two years that Proano has taken over as the owner of an established Hartford County restaurant. In January 2019, he and his wife, Nancy, reopened Pastrami on Wry in Manchester, buying the business from its founder Corey Wry and leaving most of its menu, recipes and decor intact. They added a few new menu offerings and touches, which Proano plans to do at Blue Plate.

“We are keeping the menu pretty much the same; there are a lot of favorites on here,” he said. “I’ve had people calling, emailing, Facebooking,” asking for certain items and dishes to stay.

He has plans to add more omelets to the breakfast menu, and more sandwiches and additional options for lunch. At dinner, they’ll be able to expand their creativity, he said, with more comfort foods and some bigger portions.

The bar is currently closed as Blue Plate waits for its liquor permit to come through, so guests can BYOB in the meantime. When the bar is up and running, Proano says he wants to offer more craft cocktails, and he’d like to bring in more Connecticut draft beers. He’s also looking to add to the mimosa menu, with potential new items that have been successful at Pastrami on Wry, like mimosa towers and “To-Go’sas,” with prosecco and four different flavors of juice.

Proano wants people to know that Blue Plate Kitchen is open for business and here to stay.

“We’re definitely here,” he said. “We’re just looking forward to being part of the community … and we’re ready to serve everybody.”

Blue Plate Kitchen is at 345 N. Main St. in West Hartford. 860-906-1873 and bpkwesthartford.com.

Leeanne Griffin can be reached at [email protected]

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