24th Annual Ceremony to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 20th
at the Ridgefield Playhouse
On Monday January 20, The Town of Ridgefield will present the 24th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration, honoring the legacy of the great civil rights leader with an awards ceremony, speakers and performances. The Spirit of Dr. King Community Service Award is presented to members of our town who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to community service and selflessness in the finest traditions of Dr. Martin Luther King. This annual tradition honors the memory of Dr. King and celebrates how that memory lives on in the good works of Ridgefielders today. This year’s ceremony honors Dr. Carol Mahlstedt, who was instrumental in leading the creation and operation of Compassionate Ridgefield and Project Resilience, which develops programs that promote the social and emotional growth and resilience of children and adolescents in Ridgefield. This year’s ceremony will also include a special posthumous award presented to the family of Sharron Lavatori. Sharron served on many nonprofit committees, rolled up her sleeves to help whomever she could, and always offered kind words that came with generous deeds. She was known by many as "The Angel of Ridgefield.” The 24th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration will take place on Monday, January 20 at 3pm at The Ridgefield Playhouse (80 East Ridge).
In addition to honoring Carol Mahlstedt and Sharron Lavatori, the event will include performances by The Ridgefield Chorale, actress Kimberly Wilson and others to be announced.
This is the seventh year that the Martin Luther King Day ceremony has been held at The Ridgefield Playhouse and grown to the size and scale that it has with multiple performers and drawing crowds upwards of 250 attendees. “The town looks forward to the celebration of the King Holiday. The King Holiday serves as a focal point for establishing and maintaining community service involving millions of Americans throughout the year to address critical social problems of this nation and to help improve the quality of life for humankind,” said Mark Robinson, ceremony organizer and former member of the state’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission.
Begun in 1997 as one of several community activities and initiatives organized and sponsored by ROUND (Ridgefielders Organized for Understanding and Diversity), the MLK celebration has become an enduring and highly regarded new tradition in Ridgefield. The purpose is to ensure that the spirit with which Dr. King lived and the struggles for which he died are remembered and live on in the hearts and minds of our community. When Rudy Marconi took office as First Selectman in 1999, he became Ridgefield’s first elected official to formally participate and has joined Mark Robinson as a co-organizer of the event ever since.
The Ridgefield Playhouse is a not-for-profit performing arts center located at 80 East Ridge, parallel to Main St., Ridgefield, CT; 203-438-5795; ridgefieldplayhouse.org.