Ridgefield happenings: Nutmeg Festival donations, rescued animals and the secret life of beavers

Chris Evers with caimans

Ridgefield Library to host rescued animals Aug. 1

Chris Evers, director of Animal Embassy, will bring rescued animals to the Ridgefield Library, 472 Main Street. In the presentation, called “Nature Rocks,” Chris will take participants on a journey around the world with a unusual group of animals representing diverse habitats. Families will discover some of the musical instruments used by people indigenous to these regions and meet animals that contribute to nature’s symphony, including songbirds, chirping crickets and chorus frogs.

Chris will also bring live animals including an African tortoise, Australian parrot, African monitor and a boa from Madagascar.

The presentation appropriate for children entering grades kindergarten through fifth will be on Wednesday, Aug. 1, from 6 to 7 p.m. in the main program room on the library’s lower level. The presentation is free of charge with no registration and is sponsored by the Friends of the Ridgefield Library.

For more information see Animal Embassy’s website at animalembassy.com or call children’s services at 203-438-2282, ext. 12002.

RSO ‘From Darkness to Light’ concert is Aug. 11

The Danbury Music Centre’s Charles Ives Concert Series, in collaboration with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, presents a chamber concert entitled “A New Sincerity: From Darkness To Light.”

The concert, directed by Paul Frucht and Jon Cziner, will feature musicians and composers, as well as RSO Music Director Yuga Cohler.

The concert will be held on Saturday, Aug. 11,  at 7:30 p.m. at the Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 East Ridge. Tickets are $25 and available online and at the door.

This concert include a celebration of the 90th birthday of legendary composer Samuel Adler.

For information and tickets on the Aug. 11 concert and future concerts in the series, visit danburymusiccentre.org and see the Charles Ives Concert Series.

Exercise classes

Complete workouts start soon in Ridgefield Continuing Education. “The 60 Minute Calorie Burn Workout” is a low impact cardio, weight training and core work. Various equipment (bands, gliders and weights) will be provided. Class meets on Thursdays, Aug. 2, 9, 16, 23; Sept. 6 and 13 from 6 to 7 p.m. and costs $73.
“Fit for Life Workout” is designed for all fitness levels. Every session will combine cardio and strength training. Class meets on Tuesdays, Aug. 7, 14, 21, 28; Sept. 4 and 11 from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. and costs $96.

Ridgefield senior or disabled discount is available. Advance registration is required. Participants bring a water bottle and mat to class. Information at ridgefieldschools.org or Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812.

GED and English classes

English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, GED, Credit Diploma Program, and Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes start in September in Danbury. 

Registration for Credit Diploma classes is Aug. 21 (returning students) and Aug. 22 and 23 (new students). You must bring a transcript and ID. New students are encouraged to call 203-797-4731 to set up a guidance appointment prior to registration. Classes start Sept. 4.

Registration for GED and ABE classes is Aug. 21 (returning students) and Aug. 22 and 23 (new students). You must bring a transcript and ID. Classes start Sept. 4. Call 203-797-4731 for time and location.

ESL and citizenship classes registration is Sept. 11 (returning students) and Sept. 12 and 13 (new students) in Danbury. You must bring a proof of address and ID. Call 203-501-4216 for time and location.

These classes are offered to area residents through WERACE and are free to Ridgefield residents, age 17 and older (age 18 for ESL).

New Gilbert exhibition unveiled at Keeler Tavern

What do a Chinese silk robe and a Renaissance dress have to do with the Keeler Tavern? Both belonged to the Gilbert family and were worn at costume parties hosted by the family at the Cannon Ball House (formerly the Keeler Tavern). Both are on display in a new exhibition in the Gilberts’ time in Ridgefield, called At Home with the Gilberts.

The exhibition was created by the curatorial team of Karen McChesney, Erika Askin and Catherine Prescott, and features photographs, sketches by Cass (who seemed to draw on any paper at hand), and stunning costumes worn by members of the family. Also on display is the wedding dress of Julia (Judy) Post Bastedo, granddaughter of Cass and Julia. Judy’s wedding reception in 1943 was held in the Garden House.

Consistent with 2018’s town-wide commemoration of the WWI Centennial, the exhibition also features the Gilbert family’s contributions to the war effort.

At Home with the Gilberts can be seen at the Keeler Tavern Museum Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m.

The surprising, secret life of beavers

Ben Goldfarb will give an author talk at the Ridgefield Library, 472 Main Street, on Thursday, Aug. 2, at 7 p.m. about his recently released book, “Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter.” Books will be available for sale and for signing thanks to Books on the Common.

This program is part of the library’s “Libraries Rock” adult summer reading program that is made possible thanks to the Friends of the Library.

Information and registration at ridgefieldlibrary.org or 203-438-2282.

Jamie McLean Band to perform at CHIRP

The Jamie McLean Band will be performing at the CHIRP concert in Ballard Park at 7 p.m.  Tuesday, July 31.

For more information on the southern roots rock band, visit jamiemcleanband.com.

The rain venue is Ridgefield Playhouse, located at 80 East Ridge.

The show is underwritten in part by the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation.

Peggy Thomas, left, helps Jeannine Carr unload donations for Nutmeg Festival.

Saturday is last day for Nutmeg donations

This Saturday, July 28, from 9 to 1 is the final opportunity to drop off donations of items to be sold at the 112th edition of the St. Stephen’s Church Nutmeg Festival. The festival, one of Connecticut’s oldest church fairs, takes place Saturday, Aug. 11, on the church campus at 351 Main Street. Nutmeg proceeds — including 100% of the raffle and silent auction proceeds — will benefit St. Stephen’s outreach programs, which focus on non-profits in the greater Ridgefield and Danbury areas

The festival committee is seeking bicycles and tricycles, smaller-sized furniture, area rugs, gardening and other tools, sports equipment, children’s toys and games, jewelry, books, kitchen utensils and other household goods, art, antiques and other treasures. All donations are tax deductible.

Historical society to host  ‘Sundays at the Schoolhouse’

The Ridgefield Historical Society will host “Sundays at the Schoolhouse” on July 29 from 1 to 4 p.m., rain or shine. This afternoon series is free to the public and engages visitors of all ages through interactive tours of the schoolhouse and hands-on learning experiences with docents and historical craft makers from the Colonial era.

On July 29, the Sundays at the Schoolhouse program will feature a quill writing demonstration and a 1929 Model A Ford Roadster Pickup Truck, owned by Jerry Reuben of Ridgefield Hardware.

An ice cream truck will be on the premises for frozen treats.

For more information, visit ridgefieldhistoricalsociety.org, call 203-438-5821, or email

[email protected] The Sundays at the Schoolhouse program is supported by Fairfield County Bank.

SAT classes

Lentz & Lentz SAT Prep is offering PSAT, SAT and ACT Prep classes in Ridgefield. Cost is $430 including all course materials. This course meets on Sundays, Sept. 9, (9 a.m. to noon), 16, 23, 30; Oct. 7, 14, 21 and 28, from 6 to 9 p.m.

SAT Prep students (only) may opt to take an additional ACT Supplement on Nov. 4, 11 and 18 from 6 to 9 p.m. for a total of $630. The ACT Prep is not sold separately.

All classes meet at the Venus Building (use Governor Street entrance opposite police station). For more details, visit lentzsatprep.com or call Ridgefield Continuing Education at 203-431-2812 or Lentz & Lentz at 1-800-866-SATS.

A dramatic reading with Alan Sklar

Acclaimed voice actor Alan Sklar returns to the Ridgefield Library, 472 Main Street, on Monday, July 30, at 7 p.m., to do a dramatic reading of two imaginative stories by Neil Gaiman, The Price and We Can Get Them Wholesale.

Gaiman is an award-winning author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio, theater and films, including his current bestseller, Norse Mythology. Sklar has been a freelance voice actor for more than 30 years, voicing radio and TV commercials, narrating more than 200 audiobooks.

This program is part of the library’s Libraries Rock adult summer reading program that is made possible thanks to the Friends of the Library.

Information and registration at ridgefieldlibrary.org or 203-438-2282.

The Steel Wheels

The Steel Wheels bring ‘soulful mountain music’ to Ballard Park on Aug. 2

The Steel Wheels will be performing at Ballard Park at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2.  

The four-piece string band is based in the Blue Ridge Mountains. They play with “a strong brew of original soulful mountain music that springs in part from their shared Mennonite heritage,” according to CHIRP concert organizer Barbara Manners.

Rain venue is at East Ridge Middle School. More information: thesteelwheels.com.

Sunshine Road concert at the library

Sunshine Road will perform a concert Saturday, July 28, at the Ridgefield Library, 472 Main Street. As part of the library’s Music for Young Families Series, children ages 5 and younger are invited to swing and sway to original and old favorites from 11:30 to 12:15 in the library’s main program room on the lower level.

The concert is free of charge with no registration required. Children need to be accompanied by an adult.

More information available at thesunshineroad.com or children’s services at 203-438-2282, ext.  12002.

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