St. Stephen’s Nutmeg Festival turns 111 years old this summer when its doors open on Main Street at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug 12.

A familiar face at the church will be there to meet patrons and welcome them into one of Ridgefield’s oldest traditions.

Her name is Georgia Carrington, and she has served as a Nutmeg Festival volunteer for 33 years.

She’s been around to see the event evolve over the last three decades, and helped chair it during the 100th anniversary in 2006.

Carrington has accumulated many Nutmeg memories, such as in 1998 when first prize in the raffle was Volkswagen’s New Beetle.

“I sold raffle tickets in front of Ancona’s Market, when Mary Travers, of Peter, Paul and Mary fame, came up to me to buy a ticket,” she recalled. “She was hoping her daughter would win the car.”

The prize car ultimately went to someone else.  

“And one year in our games area we had a dunk tank,” said Carrington, who has also served as chair of the White Elephant Barn that also sells thousands of household items, such as glassware, dishes, baskets and holiday decorations.

“When someone shot a basketball through the hoop, a volunteer would get dunked in water,” she said. “One of those volunteers was First Selectman Rudy Marconi.”

Passion

Helping others through volunteering is Carrington’s passion, and for several years she has been chair of St. Stephen’s Mission Committee, which gives time, talent and resources to organizations helping those in need.  

All proceeds of the Nutmeg Festival raffle and silent auction are donated to non-profits, and it is the committee that advises on where to donate proceeds. This year’s raffle will benefit Jericho Partnership and Amos House, which serve the homeless population in Greater Danbury, and Danbury Youth Services. 

Numerous other organizations will share Silent Auction proceeds.

Past beneficiaries of the raffle and auction include Daily Bread, Ridgefield Social Services, Interfaith AIDS Ministry, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Haitian Relief Efforts and Women’s Center of Greater Danbury, to name a few.

Teacher and coach

Carrington first got involved with volunteering at Westtown School, a Quaker academy in West Chester, Penn., where she taught English and coached students in both tennis and drama.

She was later named dean of girls at the school.

“Sitting in Sunday Meeting listening to concerns that people shared inspired me to think of ways to help others and to get my students involved,” she said. “When I joined the faculty of Greenwich Academy in 1983, the year I moved to Ridgefield, volunteering became an even greater passion.

“I saw the advantages the students had and got them to reach out to those less fortunate, such as at a soup kitchen in Stamford, with Habitat for Humanity and AmeriCares HomeFront.” Carrington retired from Greenwich Academy in 1997.

She still plays tennis, is active in many areas at St. Stephen’s, loves to travel and, of course, continues her volunteer work through the church and on her own, including at the Ridgefield Library (she loves books), as a Reading Partner in Danbury, with Heifer International and AmeriCares HomeFront.    To sum up what she means to Nutmeg, Linda Hutchings, this year’s chairman, said: "With her long memory of Nutmegs past, her lively spirit and, especially, her dedication to outreach, Georgia is an invaluable member of our team."