January 17, 2022 marks the 26th anniversary of Ridgefield’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, honoring the legacy of the great civil rights leader with an awards ceremony, speakers, and performances. Each year as the community joins together to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King, The Spirit of Dr. King Award is given to a Ridgefield resident for their outstanding commitment to service and selflessness. This year the award will be presented to Allison Stockel, Executive Director of The Ridgefield Playhouse. This free community event will feature performances by ACT of CT’S Daniel C. Levine and Bryan Perri, actress Kimberly Wilson, The Ridgefield Chorale, The Ridgefield Diwali Committee, Ridgefield A Better Chance students, MoJazz Dance, Ridgefield’s poet laureate Barb Jennes and many others. This year’s celebration will be a hybrid of live and virtual performances, with attendees able to attend in person free of charge or to watch live on the The Ridgefield Playhouse YouTube channel on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 17th beginning at 2pm.
Allison Stockel’s dedication to many nonprofits in the area, as well as donating her time for the past 20 years to bring the arts to the community, has been one of the reasons she has been chosen as this year’s honoree. In addition to donating her time and salary to The Ridgefield Playhouse for the past 20 years, she has also been a host parent to three ABC students, is on the board of the RSO, the leadership advisory board of The Women’s Center (The Center for Empowerment and Education), is an incorporator for the Lounsbury House, is a member of the Ridgefield Rotary Club and has supported many other nonprofits such as ACT of CT, The Ridgefield Boys and Girls Club, SPHERE, The Keeler Tavern, The Ridgefield Guild of Artists, Hillside Community Food Outreach, Ridgefield Social Services, The PBA and many others. She has also been instrumental in expanding the Martin Luther King Jr. Day ceremony. Nine years ago, Allison Stockel stepped forward, motivated solely by her love of her community and her commitment to serve her neighbors, and she helped bring the Martin Luther King Day celebration to a larger, more professional venue, the Ridgefield Playhouse. That move has made it possible for the event to reach many more people, now drawing a crowd of 300 plus attendees.
Over the years, the town’s MLK Jr. Day celebration has changed and grown – from standing on the steps outside of the Community Center, to becoming a larger event in the basement of Town Hall, to becoming even more celebratory including entertainment as well as inspirational words from Mark Robinson, the founder of the event, as well as other dignitaries in town. The words and teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. have been reiterated and celebrated year after year and is an important event that the town hosts annually free for the community. Please join us on January 17th at 2pm at The Ridgefield Playhouse.
For more information go online at www.ridgefieldplayhouse.org or, you can visit or call the box office (203) 438-5795. The Ridgefield Playhouse is a non-profit performing arts center located at 80 East Ridge, parallel to Main Street, Ridgefield, CT and is committed to keeping the arts alive and available to all.