The following are a list of events happening in Ridgefield over the next couple of weeks.
Chili Fest returns March 31
Chili lovers of all ages are invited to the ninth annual Chili Fest on Sunday, March 31, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Ridgefield Recreation Center, 195 Danbury Road.
Visitors may sample chilis by amateur chili cooks as well as professional chefs from local restaurants.
Amateur cooks can win prizes and bragging rights as they vie for the People’s Choice Award, based on votes from festival attendees, or the Celebrity Choice Award, decided by a panel of local chefs.
Entry is free for amateur cooks, only requiring two gallons of the entrant's homemade chili. Cooks of all ages are encouraged to enter. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to ridgefielddems.org
To enter, contact Karen Sulzinsky, event coordinator, at jsulz@aol.com.
The Chili Fest is a family-friendly event. It is sponsored by Ridgefield Democrats.
General admission tickets are $25/person (age 16+), a family-pack ticket that will admit up to four children ages 7-15 can be purchased for $10, and children 6 and under are free. 
Tickets can be purchased at ridgefielddems.net/chili-festival or at the door.
Young Writers Conference at East Ridge
The Ridgefield Joint Council of PTAs is sponsoring the 2019 Young Writers’ Conference for third, fourth and fifth grade students. Workshops are taught by writing professionals in many different fields.
Fourth and fifth graders attend two morning sessions. They will choose their top four workshops and will be placed into two consecutive workshops, allowing them to explore different avenues of creativity. They will be notified of which workshops they are placed in one week prior to the conference. Third graders will select their top three choices and will be placed in one workshop in the afternoon to explore their writing passion.
For fourth and fifth graders, check-in is between 8:15 and 8:30 a.m. Workshop runs from 8:30 to 11:45 a.m. Students attend two consecutive workshops. Cost: $25.
For third graders, check-in is between 12:30 and 12:45 p.m. Workshop runs from 12:45 to 2 p.m. Students attend one workshop. Cost: $15. 
The Joint Council website has more about information about the program.
 Shabbat Across America
On Friday, March 1, area residents are invited to gather at Congregation Shir Shalom of Westchester and Fairfield Counties in an unparalleled display of Jewish revitalization and Jewish unity. 
Congregation Shir Shalom will be one of approximately 700 synagogues across the continent that will simultaneously open its doors to practicing and non-practicing Jews alike, so they may join together to experience and rejoice in a traditional Shabbat service and festive meal. 
The evening will begin at 5:15 with special activities for families with children aged 6 and under. A Spirited and Soulful Shabbat Worship Service will follow, led by Rabbi David Reiner and Cantor Deborah Katchko Gray, with special musical guests Beth Styles and Mark Fineberg
The service will be followed by a delicious shabbat dinner and challah tasting contest. The event will take place from 5:15-8 p.m. RSVP: 203-438-6589.
Lenten Book Club at Jesse Lee
Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church will host a lenten book club based on “Embracing the Uncertain” by the Rev. Magrey deVega.
The book is free at Jesse Lee and special partner Books on the Common. Get your book and then choose among a dozen small groups that will meet weekly for seven weeks be-ginning in early March. 
Small groups will meet for an hour each week for discussion and fellowship for seven weeks. To ensure the most flexibility, groups are offered during weekdays, weeknights and weekends, with at least one group available each day of the week. Groups will begin their first session between March 1-7.
For the full book-club schedule and to sign up for a weekly group, go to jes-seleechurch.com/lent.
Ash Wednesday services 
On Ash Wednesday, March 6, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 351 Main St., will offer “Ashes-to-Go” service. The church will have a Holy Eucharist and Imposition of Ashes at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The evening service will include choral music.
The 20-minute “Ashes to Go” service will be repeated within two one-hour intervals: between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. and 4 and 5 p.m. 
Ridgebury Congregational Church will also be offering “Ashes to Go” services between the hours of 7-8 a.m. and 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the church’s parking lot at 605 Ridgebury Road.
The church will also hold a traditional service at 7 p.m.
‘Remarkable Women’ at the library
March is National Women’s History Month. The League of Women Voters and the Library will honor the achievements of extraordinary women with the program: Remarkable Women and their Amazing Accomplishments with Toni McKeen on Saturday, March 9, at 2 p.m. at the Ridgefield Library. 
McKeen teaches a variety of classes at Founders Hall and presents lectures in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. She will discuss women who took a different path, looked at things differently, and changed the world around them. 
The public is invited to attend this free presentation. Light refreshments will be served. Please register on the Library’s website.
Dance classes
Ballroom Dance and West Coast Swing Beginner – Brush Up classes start Wednesday, March 6, in Ridgefield Continuing Education. This class is a fun, no stress way to learn ballroom dancing and Swing. Students will learn 3 or 4 basic steps for Swing, Foxtrot, Waltz, Cha Cha, Rumba. West Coast Swing is a contemporary-style of Swing, very different from traditional “swing.” 
This class meets eight Wednesdays (Mar. 6 through May 1, no class April 17) from 8 to 9 p.m. at East Ridge Middle School and costs $96 per person. Line Dance, Zumba and Barre-lates are also available. Advanced registration required. Visit ridgefieldschools.org or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812 for information or to register.
Navigating the health care system
The Ridgefield Library will host a panel discussion about navigating the health care system at every age in America today on Saturday, March 2m at 3 p.m. This program is part of the Noreen L. Papa Mothers Live Your Life series and is co-sponsored with the Vassar Club of Fairfield County.
 Panelists from the medical profession will delve into topics such as: hospital admission procedures, body imaging, end of life choices, and navigating health care with and without insurance, and much more. 
Please register at ridgefieldlibrary.org or call 203-438-2282 for more information.
Job-seeking tips 
Tips and Tools for the 50+ Job Seeker is offered byAARP offers these workshops, pro bono through Ridgefield Continuing Education. Participants will hear briefly about the essentials any job seeker age 50 and older must consider, as well as learn about free resources available from AARP and others. Specific focus areas include digital and social media platforms, personal branding, networking and age-proofing your resume. 
Call 203-431-2812 or email ridgefieldcontinuingeducation@gmail.com to register by March 6 if possible. Class meets Wednesday, March 20, from 6 to 8 p.m. at East Ridge Middle School.
Estate planning
The Ridgefield Library will host an interactive seminar on Saturday, March 2 at 10 a.m. about called What You Should Know About Selling Your Home and Estate Planning. As baby boomers and empty nesters are starting to move and downsize as their kids leave or they think about retiring a number of speakers will be on hand to talk about this trend. 
Register at ridgefieldlibrary.org or call 203-438-2282 for more information. Space is limited and refreshments will be served. 
Preventing deer damage
Deer Proofing Your Property is the topic of a new workshop in Ridgefield Continuing Education. 
Rod Barfield, a Vista resident who runs Vista Nursery has learned by trial and error the best strategies to prevent deer damage to your property. He will review different strategies to prevent deer from ravaging your property instead of fencing. These include deer resistant bulbs, perennials, ground cover and shrubs; deer repelling annuals, bulbs and perennials; creating visual sight and sound protection; and how to protect a vegetable garden. 
Class meets on Monday, Mar. 11 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at East Ridge Middle School or Friday, Mar. 15 from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at the Town Hall Annex. Cost is $21. Advance registration is required. Visit ridgefieldschools.orgor phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812 to register.
Italian for beginners
Italian 1: Beginners Part 1, for people new to Italian, starts March 7 in Ridgefield Continuing Education. 
Class meets on Thursdays, March 7 through April 11 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. Tuition is $149. More classes in French, Italian, and German start later in March and April. Instructors are native speakers or have lived in the country. Advance registration required. Course and teacher descriptions and dates are at ridgefieldschools.org or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812.
Five-part poetry workshop 
Poet and teacher Pamela Hart will lead a five-part workshop led by Pamela Hart called Poetry Project: Turning Your Obsession Into a Book. Classes take place on Thursday evenings: March 7, March 14, March 21, April 4 and April 11 from 6:-7:30 p.m., at the Ridgefield Library.
The project book speaks to the writer’s need to look widely and deeply into a concern or constraint; a form or question or collection – in short, into what obsesses us. The project book allows writers to be hooked by their compulsions. Attendees should bring an obsession/passion/idea/ question/word/ image and discover their project.
This workshop is made possible thanks to the Friends of the Ridgefield Library. Class size is limited so please only register if you are able to attend at least four sessions. Please register at ridgefieldlibrary.org or call 203-438-2282 for more information.