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Ridgefield Letter to the Editor: Two ECDC Cultural District Awards

Ridgefield's Culture of Giving

As a fourth-generation Ridgefielder, I am proud of the past and present traditions that make our town so special. Ridgefield's rich history is characterized by its legacy of giving in a multitude of ways.  

As CT's first town with a designated Cultural District, our rich tradition of valuing arts and culture is officially recognized. Our ECDC is capturing this with the announcement of the Cultural District Award and a call for nominees.  The ECDC can further honor this tradition by creating two Cultural District Awards, one for a historical figure and one for a current Ridgefielder, who embodies Ridgefield's spirit of giving. 

Elizabeth Ballard is worthy of the historical award.  Elizabeth Biglow Ballard grew up in a mansion on the site of today's Ballard Park. Her father, Lucius Horatio Biglow, was a major publisher of music, Biglow and Main. His partner, Sylvester Main, was also a Ridgefield native, music teacher and composer.  In life, Elizabeth Biglow Ballard was influential in giving to Ridgefield, through the creation of the Ridgefield Boys Club and participation in the Ridgefield Garden Club. Upon her death, she ordered her childhood home be torn down to create our beautiful Ballard Park for "rest and recreation". As we all know, the precious legacy of music in Ballard Park lives on because of the tireless devotion of Barbara Manners, who is worthy of the current-day ECDC Cultural District Award.  A devoted supporter of the arts for decades, Barbara founded the Ridgefield Playhouse and went on to found our beloved CHIRP concerts, held in Ballard Park. Outside her volunteer duties as a Selectwoman, Barbara has selflessly devoted her passion to growing CHIRP into a summer treasure that draws artists from all over the world and makes Ridgefield a destination every summer. Elizabeth Ballard would surely be delighted to know her gift has been put to such joyful use for more than two decades and counting.

Elizabeth Ballard and Barbara Manners: two women linked across history, spirited volunteers with vision and passion, are deserving of the first two Ridgefield ECDC Cultural Awards. Join me in supporting them by emailing the ECDC.

Submissions for the ECDC Cultural District Awards are due at midnight Sunday, December 4th via  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Jessica Mancini

Ridgefield, CT

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