Concerts in the park? Manners is trying

Dance to the music! Maybe.

Believing outdoor concerts can be safely done later this summer, Barbara Manners says she’s still hoping to continue the tradition of free concerts in Ridgefield’s Ballard Park — but she no longer plans to start them July 2.

Manners, who serves on the Board of Selectmen, started the series — Concert Happenings in Ridgefield Parks or “CHIRP” — in the summer of 2002, trying to bring people together and raise spirits in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks that shook the nation on September 11, 2001.

Vowing to keep trying for concerts later this summer, she sent The Press an update Wednesday, June 10, expressing frustrating with the difficulties of planning large group events in the year of coronavirus, even as some restrictions are beginning to be lifted.

“When I posted last on May 8, I was hoping I would have lots more good news as weeks went on. Unfortunately, it has been the reverse,” Manners said. “We will not be starting concerts in the park July 2.

“While Parks and Rec is as eager as we are to see the concerts move ahead, the governor’s executive orders keep changing and are often not really clear.

“Everybody is well intentioned,” she said, “but there has been no consistent logic applied to almost anything to do with the state’s development of guidelines and so, until the very last minute and beyond we operate in the dark. It is for this reason that almost every outdoor concert series in the state has been canceled until at least 2021.

“We however are still trying to find an acceptable way to present concerts in July and August,” Manners said. “As soon as we can get some clearer guidance from the state, and Parks and Rec approves the guidelines, we have Eileen Ivers, Christine Ohlman | Beehive Queen, Jamie McLean Band and others lined up. Hopefully more sooner than later.”