Growing the Club
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By Alex Karsanidi, Rotary Club of Ridgefield
The Rotary Club of Ridgefield held another successful Amber Alert Enrollment this past Saturday, July 19, 2014, at the Summerfest ’64 street fair with over 125 children registered. Registration sessions are generally held semi-annually to provide an opportunity to update the photos of registered children to reflect changes in appearance as they grow.
The AMBER Alert Program is a voluntary partnership between law-enforcement agencies, broadcasters, transportation agencies, and the wireless industry to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child-abduction cases. The goal of an AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search for and safe recovery of the child. — Website of Rotary Club of Danbury
By Joe Kreitz, Immediate Past President
The work the Ridgefield Rotary Club has done in the past few months on behalf of the deserving service organizations in our town is indeed something of which we can all be very proud. In January we held the 15th annual Taste of Ridgefield. Just when we thought it might be running out of gas after 15 years, we made more money than we had for the previous 5 years, about $30k. This was followed by the Ridgefield Gone Country BBQ Festival in early May . We’ve never done anything like this before and nothing of this magnitude has ever been undertaken in our town before. We ended up making about $40K, which we shared with the Community Center.
All the money we make on these events goes back 100% into the community in the form of grants to local worthy organizations. We touched over 30 organizations, did Amber Alerts and gave scholarships and youth awards. The project we have underway right now, Fly The Colors, in partnership with the Marine Corps League, is really catching on. All profits from this project will go to help meet the needs of returning veterans. The wonderful Gift of Life campaign raised enough money to save at least two lives of children with congenital heart defects, who otherwise would have died, while memorializing two young lives so tragically lost at Sandy Hook.
Given all this local activity, one might think we’ve overlooked support of our wonderful worldwide Rotary Foundation. Such is not the case .
Rotarians like to have fun. More specifically, they like to eat. For confirmation see these items about the BBQ Festival and Taste of Ridgefield and annual picnic and Progressive Dinner.
Thus, it is with both hungry anticipation and more than a little bittersweet regret that the Ridgefield Rotary Club is planning to move its weekly dinner meeting effective the first week in August 2014 to Bartolo’s Restaurant.
For several years the Club has been meeting at The Bar & Grille On 7. Club members have had nothing but gratitude and praise for the excellence of the food and the efficient and accommodating service at B&G. However, we have outgrown the meeting space that the restaurant is able to provide.
Many of the Club’s members have, of course, dined at Bartolo’s [link]and the restaurant has participated in our Taste of Ridgefield event in the past. So, Rotary members fully expect to continue to enjoy excellent meals at our weekly meetings.”
Raising Funds – To Help Others
Building on the success of the 2014 Ridgefield Gone Country BBQ Festival, Ridgefield Rotary President Rich Vazzana and the event’s Co-Chair Cliff Heidinger announced plans for 2015 to expand the event’s central feature, the Kansas City Barbecue Society (“KCBS”) sanctioned Barbecue Contest, to admit up to 30 teams to the competition. The 2014 event had 17 competing teams. The 2015 BBQ Festival will continue as a joint venture of the Ridgefield Rotary and Ridgefield Community Center. Rich currently serves as President of both. Under KCBS rules, admitting at least 25 contestants will enhance the event’s attraction and interest by making the contest a state championship event. Points earned by the winners will count towards eligibility for the Jack Daniels Invitational. The Jack Daniels event is the “World Cup,” “World Series” and “Super Bowl” of the competitive but taste-full universe of serious barbecue competition.
The Ridgefield BBQ Festival is operated entirely by unpaid volunteers. The Festival wraps loads of family-friendly fun around the contest including rides, games, live country music bands and food, lots and lots of food. Funds raised by the event benefit the Community Center and Rotary’s support of community organizations, its scholarship program and humanitarian projects.