Battle of Ridgefield to be commemorated with live reenactment

RIDGEFIELD — The last weekend of April 2022 promises to be a great one, First Selectman Rudy Marconi said.

The 245th anniversary celebration of the Battle of Ridgefield will take place from Friday, April 29 through Sunday, May 1.

The weekend will feature a live battle reenactment by the 5th Connecticut Regiment. Encampments will be set up at Ballard Park, Jesse Lee United Methodist Church and Lounsbury House for 200 actors, who will recreate history right before residents’ eyes.

The Musket Ball gala at Lounsbury House on Saturday, April 30, will include actors, live music and local catering. Residents can attend for $150 a ticket, Marconi said.

Lounsbury House Executive Director Suzanne Brennan regarded the celebration as a community collaboration. Since the pandemic brought the town closer together, she said, it has reinforced the importance of staying true to local roots.

“We’ve attracted new residents to town because of our commitment to preservation — who doesn't want to be a part of a community connected to its past?” she posed. “The battle was an incredibly significant event, and we’re thrilled to be connected to it all.”

On Sunday, May 1, four skeletons discovered not far from where the battle was fought will be encased in period-era coffins and transported by horse-and-buggy to one of the town’s cemeteries. Marconi said the Graveyard Restoration Committee has selected a site to bury the remains.

The bones were unearthed between late 2019 and early 2020, and are believed to belong to Revolutionary War soldiers who fought in the Battle of Ridgefield. The discovery has prompted a renewed interest in the event, and brings “an added excitement” to the upcoming anniversary, Marconi said.

Ridgefield’s Economic & Community Development Commission will handle promotions for the celebration, which promises to be profitable for local merchants and restaurants, Marconi added.

“This is going to bring a lot of people into town,” he said. “There are a lot of different groups getting involved in this … (and) we want to get as much of the community involved as we can.”

The event’s bottom line is around $50,000, which encompasses the reenactment, police overtime and overflow on the dinner, Marconi said. Ticket sales for the Musket Ball “should cover a good percentage of the cost,” he added.

Marconi suggested allocating a portion of the town’s American Rescue Plan monies to support the event, but the board disagreed.

Selectman Bob Hebert suggested finding a place in the budget to cover the expense or drawing a special allocation from the general fund. “All of our money is fungible but the ARPA money was designated for COVID,” he said.

Marconi said he would talk to Town Controller Kevin Redmond to discuss available funding options.