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Take Pride in Ridgefield: A town’s teamwork, beauty

Sisters embody country spirit and style outside of Town Hall last year at Ridgefield’s Gone Country. This year the event will partner with Ridgefield’s Antiques Market and Country Fair and Kids Fest for the first annual “Take Pride in Ridgefield” celebration.

Sisters embody country spirit and style outside of Town Hall last year at Ridgefield’s Gone Country. This year the event will partner with Ridgefield’s Antiques Market and Country Fair and Kids Fest for the first annual “Take Pride in Ridgefield” celebration.

Cancel the getaway plans, Ridgefield’s the place to be this weekend.

Take Pride in Ridgefield unites three events — Ridgefield’s Gone Country, the Antiques Market and Country Fair, and Kids Fest — under the same banner for the first time Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ridgefield’s Gone Country will take place downtown, while the 51st Annual Antiques Market and Country Fair will take over the Community Center nearby.

Ballard Park will be the home of Kids Fest for the second straight year. CertaPro Painters and Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce will co-sponsor the event.

“Having one label for all three events allows us to focus on all the things Ridgefield has to offer,” said Marion Roth, the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce. “This is a family-fun day for every member of the family to enjoy and to celebrate what it means to be a member of this community.”

Although each of these events have taken in the past, this is the first year they will coincide together with a common object: supporting local business and displaying the town’s distinct pride.

“We want to show off what this town can do when we all team together and show off how beautiful of a place it is to be apart of,” said Rich Vazzana of Vazzana Management Consulting, one of the event’s main sponsors along with Fairfield County Bank, Ridgefield Magazine and Cord Shows Limited, of Armonk, N.Y. “All three events are family oriented, so we encourage everybody in town to come.”

Ran or shine, Take Pride in Ridgefield will run from 10 to 5.

The event is being marketed to both residents of Ridgefield and neighboring communities such as Wilton, Lewisboro, North Salem and Redding, Ms. Roth said.

Ridgefield’s Gone Country

In its fourth year, the country-themed festival will offer live country music performed by Midnight Rodeo and a line dancing demonstration that teach the crowd how to step like their in a Western saloon.

However, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

The event’s food court will include many options from local vendors such as Chez Lenard’s famous hot dog cart, while the Ridgefield Boys and Girls Club will be grilling hamburgers and sausage sandwiches. In addition, Fairfield County Bank will be handing out popcorn and St. Stephen’s Church will have fried dough.

There will be plenty to do for kids of all ages, including go carts at Georgetown Auto Body.

Jesse Lee Church will host a balloon animal station for the young ones. For those who want to see real animals, there will be plenty of options.

The Ridgefield Library will host a “Pig Out on Reading” event, featuring Farmer Minor and his famous pot-belly pig Daisy, at 2. The drop-in story time called “Country-time story time” for children 3 and older starts goes from 10:30-11.

Pigs won’t be the only animals for the kids to interact with though, nancyO and the Children’s Cottage will co-host a petting zoo with bunnies, ducks, goats, sheep and a pig of their own from 1:30-3 p.m.

The two stores will also host Simpaug Farm who will be promoting their Community Supported Agriculture message to the community members.

American pride will play a huge role in the event as well as there will be free red, white or blue bandannas handed out to the first 1,000 people. In addition, town hall will hang its large American flag that will cover the front of the building.

“There are many themes that encompass the idea of ‘going country,’” said Kathy Graham, vice president of Fairfield County Bank. . “There’s American pride, cowboy attire and country-style eating and we want to hit them all.”

While country will be the theme, the focus of the event is supporting local merchants.

“Our goal is to bring people into the downtown area to shop and to support their local merchants,”  said Ms. Graham, “All the stores will be having sales for customers to buy gifts for Mother’s Day, confirmations and graduations, which are all coming up. It’s critical that community members support local business and discover new options to go and shop.”

Addessi Jewelers will have “Ridgefield’s Gone Country” bracelets and a raffle to win $1,000 in jewels.

Peterson Chiropractic will be offering a free health screening to the public that includes blood pressure, spinal checks and toxicity tests.

The National Charity League’s Nutmeg Chapter will be decorating Main Street with balloons.

Midnight Rodeo, a local band, returns for the fourth consecutive year. They will play from noon to 4, set up on Bailey Avenue and Fairfield County Bank will be sponsoring them.

Line Dance instructors Ellen Russow, Steve Parker and Betsy Fischer will be giving free lessons on Bailey Avenue at 11:30 before the band performs. The line dancing demonstration will run from 12-2 and those who participate will receive a bandana.

“It’s an event that’s been growing every year and with great weather, we expect another great display of country spirit from the community,” said Ms. Graham.

 Antiques Market and Fair

The antiques market is the longest running outdoor antiques display in the state of Connecticut. The event that raises money for the Lounsbury Mansion or Community Center.

“It’s the key fundraising event for the Community Center,” said Mr. Vazzana. “But what really is important is that there’s something for everyone to enjoy at this event.”

The country fair will have a Ferris wheel, a merry-go-round and the two fire engines provided by the Ridgefield Fire Department will bring over for kids to explore.

In addition, there will be fun “country-fair” style games with prizes.

A farmers market will be comprised of local establishments such as 109 Cheese, Whistle Stop Cafe, Shine, Ross’ Bread, Jordan Essentials, Veronica’s Garden, RCK Plant Seedlings, ROAR and the Keeler Tavern.

Local food vendors, including Ridgefield Prime, Lobster Craft, Chef Bobs Buns on the Run and Piccalo’s, will serve food for breakfast and lunch.

If that wasn’t enough, there will be live entertainment on the mansion porch provided by Billy Michael.

The country fair is free and families are encouraged to attend.

As for the antiques market, there will be a $8 admission cost, but kids 12 and under can attend for free.

Meredith Whipple, a member of the International Society of Appraisers, will be located inside the mansion from 11 to 3 doing $5 verbal appraisals per item.

On the lawn, under the tents and canopies there will be 50 dealers from states all over the country, including Florida, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

Some of the items for purchase will be: oriental carpets; patio and garden furniture and accessories; period formal, oak, country and modern furniture; textiles; antiques, estate, vintage costume, Bakelite and Native American jewelry; art pottery and folk art; 19th and 20th Century paintings; antique lithographs and engravings and much more.

There will be dealers of paper-related antiques inside the Lounsbury mansion, including: autographs of Mickey Mantle, Derek Jeter and other baseball Hall of Famers; Marilyn Monroe original photos; autographed album covers of John Lennon’s “Imagine” and Jimi Hendrix “Electric Ladyland”; Life magazines, postcards and greeting cards; presidential letters and autographs and much more.

There will be additional parking behind St. Stevens Church directly across Main Street.

Kids Fest 

While Ridgefield’s Gone Country has music and the antique’s market offers tradition, neither event has an attraction quite like the giant, bouncy inflatables that will be on display at Kids Fest.

Three activities — the Turbo-Rush Obstacle Course, the Excalibur Bounce ’n’ House and a 20-foot duel-lane dry-slide — will all be set up in Ballard Park on Saturday. An unlimited-ride bracelet costs $10.

“I have two boys who absolutely love this event because of the inflatables,” said Michael LoGiudice of CertaPro Painters. “This a whole-family event though and we’re excited about the wide variety of safe, fun and educational opportunities we will have in the park this year.”

Kids Fest continues to build momentum after last year’s inaugural event that saw approximately 1,500-plus people and 15 local businesses in attendance on the last weekend of April.

This year, there will be 25 businesses and counting on display, including Ancona’s Market, Hearts and Minds Music and Nature’s Temptations and many more.

“Kids Fest ties together what Ridgefield’s Gone Country is doing with local businesses on Main Street and the town’s central district and connects the event to businesses off Main Street,” said Ms. Roth. “We want this event to keep growing and with the number of businesses already signed up for this year, we are seeing a ton of support.”

Businesses participating in Kids Fest will have booths and tents set up in the park offering a variety of activities such as face-painting, martial arts exhibits and dancing.

CertaPro Painters serves as an exclusive sponsor for the event after Mr. LoGiudice approached the chamber more than two years ago with his idea to give back to the businesses and families of the community.

“We saw an opportunity to model this family-fun day in the park and it’s just an amazing concept,” he said. “What makes this extra special now is that it’s not only for families and business, it’s a special day honoring and celebrating Ridgefield.”

He added that prizes will be given out at Kids Fest various activities, including: Frisbees, crayon and colorbook sets and CertaPro stuffed-animals.

Mr. LoGiudice said if weather doesn’t permit the event to be held on Saturday, it would be rescheduled to Sunday, May 5.

About author
Award-winning journalist for Hersam Acorn Newspapers. Covers beats such as education, police and fire, planning, real estate, and business in the town of Ridgefield. Also covers sports and hosts a radio show, Radio Arts and Leisure, that runs on the company's 18 individual news websites. University of Denver graduate, die-hard Bronco and Yankee fan. Sports lover and compulsive traveler.

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