Huge crowds fill downtown streets of Ridgefield for annual Festival of Lights celebration

Perhaps as many as 2,000 people packed Main and Prospect streets Friday night as the town celebrated the arrival of the holidays with the annual Festival Of Lights Celebration at Town Hall, a Ridgefield tradition for more than two decades.

The event began as Selectwoman Barbara Manners who runs the town's holiday trust fund which secures funding to help cover costs of the event, introduced Master of Ceremonies Ira Joe Fisher. Fisher, a noted broadcaster, educator and poet, has been a Ridgefield resident for many years who is often involved in town events, began by welcoming everyone and introduced Billy Craig of Craig Jewelers and Michael McGuirk, board member of the Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce, who offered remarks.

Fisher then introduced the Ridgefield Theatre Barn's Glee Junior workshop program, which is in its 18th year and whose children, led by musical director Anya Caravella, sang holiday songs including "Silver Bells," "I Have A Little Dreidel" and "Rock Around The Christmas Tree."

At about 6:30 p.m., Anna Yang, the lady selected to light up Main Street, pulled the switch to the cheers of the massive crowd. The thousands of LED lights on the trees lining Main Street replaced the old style lights in 2010 at a cost of $40,000.

The Glee singers then closed with "Santa Clause Is Coming To Town" as a firetruck with lights flashing brought old St. Nick into town, where he threaded his way to Deborah Ann's newly opened, two-floor Sweet Shop where he and Mrs. Claus posed for photos on the Sweet Shop's patio.