Ann’s Place to honor Marconis at Festival of Trees event Nov. 17

To celebrate raising over $2.5 million at its Festival of Trees over the last 14 years, the local cancer support nonprofit Ann’s Place will honor Ridgefield’s first couple, Rudy and Peggy Marconi, at its 15th anniversary holiday event. Thousands of people are expected to attend the festival, Friday, Nov. 17, to Sunday, Nov. 19, at the Crowne Plaza in Danbury.

“The festival funds about 20% of our cancer support services, and people are always so generous,” said Shannon Cobb, CEO and president of Ann’s Place. “They know we don’t charge anything for our services to people facing this horrible disease — cancer is enough to deal with without having to worry about finances.”

“It’s a place to turn to,” said First Selectman Rudy Marconi. “Ann’s Place assist and supports families that are experiencing an unfortunate experience with cancer …

“Support for the kids, support for the spouse.”

Peggy Marconi serves on the Ann’s Place board.

“I joined the board of directors at Ann’s Place in February 2015 after joining the ranks of being a breast cancer survivor,” she said. “From the first day I was introduced to this incredible facility, through today, I am always amazed at the peaceful, comforting and safe environment that exists in the building.

“I am often asked just exactly what Ann’s Place is and what they do. It’s simple: Ann’s Place provides help and hope to those living with cancer and their loved ones.

The clinical social workers, facilitators and wellness experts provide services, including support groups, individual counseling, nutrition classes, and horticulture therapy. They also provide  wellness activities, such as yoga, tai chi, meditation, and art.

“When you experience cancer, you realize it can be a very isolating disease,” Peggy Marconi said. “Ann’s Place helps you and your loved ones create a unique pathway through cancer to improve quality of life.

“All these services are free and possible only through generous donations, fund-raisers and philanthropy,” she said.

Ann’s Place has a 17,000-square-foot facility in the Ridgebury section of Danbury, just over the Ridgefield line. It has experienced swift growth over the last two years and is grappling with increased costs and a very tight budget, according to CEO Cobb.

“We have seen an increase of about 250 clients — which brings us to almost 1,300 annually,” she said.

The free counseling and wellness programs cost about $930 per person, which is covered by donors and fund-raising events.

The Marconis will be honored at the event’s opening night party on Friday, Nov. 17, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. There’ll be performances from Broadway talent Katie Diamond, Daniel Levine, Bryan Perri, and Daniela Sikora. The master of ceremonies for the evening will be Ira Joe Fisher, and there’ll be a special salute from Ridgefield Playhouse’s Allison Stockel.

The Festival of Trees showcases more than 100 holiday trees, and days at the event are filled with live entertainment on the hour, prizes, a grand raffle, a marketplace, and quilts and handmade items for sale from 16 specialty vendors and local craftsmen.

Children may join the “Gathering of the Galaxies” characters parties and see magician Tom Pesce on Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and take part in interactive entertainment Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., with reserved seating.

A new Children’s Winter Village features activities including crafts, face painting, tattoos, Lego building, and more from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday night there’ll be live music by Future Tense, and brewers will offer a Taps & Trees Craft Beer Fest.

Festival days are Friday to Sunday, Nov. 17-19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets prices: adults, $10; kids 12 and under and seniors 65 and over, $5; kids under 5, admitted free.

For more information and tickets, go to or call 203-790-6568.