The Masons fight to pay battle’s bills

Like real wars, battle reenactments can prove more costly than anticipated.

The April 29 re-enactment of the Battle of Ridgefield has left the Masons, who organized it, with some bills to pay.

“They’re unfortunately in the red as a result of their activities, and hoping that people will still participate in their silent auction at the,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi said.

Lou Demchuk of Ridgefield’s Masons’ Jerusalem Lodge 49, wrote to the first selectmen describing the lodge’s plight.

“We have $19,000 of debts remaining, of which the police department is owed a substantial sum,” he said.

When extra police are needed on duty for an event, the cost of paying them is passed on to the event organizers.

“We are Masons and take seriously our financial responsibility with what we owe the town financially,” Demchuk assured Marconi.

The Masons’ silent auction will go until July 7, he said. It offers original 17th and 18th century Americana, and is raising funds to cover expenses incurred by the Masons and the “1777 Wooster-Sons of Liberty Foundation” in putting on the reenactment.

Demchuk said that Masons also plan to continue selling their Battle of Ridgefield T-shirts at events in town, such as concerts and the Fourth of July fireworks.

The Masons are also selling cufflinks and lapel pins depicting the Capitol Rotunda Fresco, with a Masonic emblem for $100 for both items.

“We ask the town’s folks to donate and support us,” Demchuk said.

Cost of success

The battle reenactment drew huge crowds, and Marconi thought that Ridgefielders who had enjoyed the battle might come forward and help.

“It was a great event,” Marconi said. “I haven’t talked to one person who said: ‘Ehhh…’ It was was well organized, they had people cleaning up — there’s not much negative to be said at all.”

“It was a success, and hopefully people who were there and enjoyed the reenactment would have it in their heart to make a contribution to the Masonic Lodge of Ridgefield.”

The reenactment this April celebrated the 240th anniversary of the battle. Marconi noted that an even bigger anniversary will come in just 10 years — and be worthy of celebration in similar style.

“The 250th is a major milestone,” Marconi said. “Probably, in the next couple of years, a committee should be put together to begin planning the reenactment.

“It doesn’t seem that far away, 10 years, given that we just had a reenactment.”