Our own Matt McFarland takes in sights, smells and sounds of Wes - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Twenty Towns in 20 Days

Our own Matt McFarland takes in sights, smells and sounds of West Haven

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West Haven, which was our latest Twenty Towns in 20 Days, is known for its seafood. (WFSB) West Haven, which was our latest Twenty Towns in 20 Days, is known for its seafood. (WFSB)

Twenty Towns in 20 Days visited the Connecticut shoreline on Wednesday for a city that's known for its beaches, seafood, and being the home of an NFL hall of famer.

West Haven is also home to the region's largest fourth of July fireworks display. They routinely bring in 100,000 people for the event.

Ken Strong, who played for the New York Giants in the 1940s, is one of just 3 Connecticut natives in the NFL Hall of Fame is from West Haven.

From the beach and the boardwalk to the fried seafood and the Savin Rock style split hot dogs at Jimmies, they're some of the sights, the sounds and the smells that are synonymous with West Haven. 

"We started out 91 years ago with hot dogs and lobster rolls,” Lisa with Jimmies said. “The trolley would drop the customers off quick, and that's why they became split, could cook them on the grill quick and get back on the trolley before it left."

"999 times out of 1,000 I have fried shrimp, that's my favorite food,” Ron Hannon, of West Haven, said. “I just went for hot dogs today."

Anyone who grew up in West Haven has probably eaten at Jimmies or Turks, or Chicks. West Haven natives also probably definitely remember the Savin Rock Rock Amusement Park or at least have heard plenty of stories from those who knew it well.

"We went there all the time,” Hannon said. “It was great; it was an amusement park."

"I remember it as a kid,” Michael Spoldi, of West Haven, said. “I remember some of the rides, the smaller rides.”

People can still catch a peek of one of those original flying horses, the Silver Fox, at the Savin Rock Museum Home.

"I just got a phone call from a woman from Maine, who is coming down specifically, she hasn't been to West Haven in 20 years,” West Haven Commissioner of Human Resources Beth Sabo said. “She heard there is a museum and she's coming back because she was a child at Savin Rock and wants to relive the memories."

From the beach to a busy downtown and Campbell Avenue, West Haven is also home to the University of New Haven.

While West Haven's history goes back to the 1600s, it holds the honor of being Connecticut’s youngest city. That's because it was only incorporated as a city in 1961.  

The charity chosen during this 20 Towns in 20 Days trip to West Haven was W.H.E.A.T, which is an emergency food pantry, whose motto is "neighbors helping."

"Oh my good, I can't thank you enough...thank you very much," said Rose Majestic, who runs WHEAT. "This will definitely go to help supply food for our shelves, it's just wonderful, will help us get more kid friendly food too. This is a wonderful surprise. I thank you very, very much."

The emergency food pantry feeds about 5,000 households a year in West Haven, and that includes 1,000 children.

And this summer, WHEAT said it will be concentrating on childhood hunger, letting families with kids come in twice a month, since school will be out and the school breakfast and lunch programs will stop.

It’s not just kids too. WHEAT says recently they've seen a rise in the number of single, elderly women looking for assistance when it comes for food.

The food pantry said no doubt, the $1,000 will go a long way, in making sure people are fed.

To see pictures of Twenty Towns in 20 Days visit on your mobile device, click here. 

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