Newtown’s five fire companies are coordinating efforts to present The Green Ribbon Ride, a motorcycle ride on Sunday, May 5, that will raise money for a number of local funds. The police-escorted ride, according to organizers, will be done “to remember and honor Newtown’s 26 angels.”
The route will take riders from Shelton into Derby, Seymour, and Oxford, crossing Stevenson Dam into Monroe, north on Route 34 into Sandy Hook, over Wasserman Way. The route then heads south on Route 25 back into Monroe, and then into Trumbull, concluding at Trumbull Westfield Mall.
The Green Ribbon Ride will enter Newtown on Berkshire Road (Route 34) at the Monroe town line and then travel west on Berkshire Road to Wasserman Way. The riders will follow Wasserman Way to Mile Hill Road and then to South Main Street (Route 25). The motorcyclists will follow southbound South Main Street into Monroe.
The ride will involve lane closures of these roads from approximately 11 am to approximately 12:45 pm. Detour signs will be posted, police said. Police are reminding residents to plan ahead accordingly to avoid travel delays.
The route was selected, according to Race Director Fred Garrity Jr, after the beginning and end points had been selected.
“This ended up being the safest route, with the least number of major intersections, that will be able to travel through some portion of Sandy Hook, and keep the riders as safe as possible,” he said.
In a statement released April 29, Newtown Police are also asking pedestrian spectators to stay off the roadway as the ride passes through town for their own safety, as well as the safety of the participants and escort riders.
“The best place to watch will probably be right at Fairfield Hills,” Sandy Hook Fire & Rescue Assistant Chief Anthony Capozziello, one of the event organizers, said Wednesday morning. “There is lots of room to park, and plenty of space to safely line the route and wave as the bikes go by.”
Hook & Ladder and Sandy Hook firefighters will be stationed, using their ladder trucks to fly a large flag over Main Street for the riders to drive under, near the main entrance of Fairfield Hills on Wasserman Way. Botsford Fire Rescue Chief Wayne Ciaccia confirmed on Wednesday that many of his company’s members plan to also line the route near their fire station, at 315 South Main Street, as riders continue to roll through town Sunday afternoon.
Dodgingtown will have members stationed at the intersection of South Main Street at Elm Drive, according to Chief Steve Murphy. Hawleyville firefighters will most likely be stationed along the route within Newtown as well.
Derby, Monroe, and Trumbull firefighters are also planning to have members set up in their respective towns, according to Ride Director Fred Garrity, Jr.
Mr Garrity has the director of CT United Ride, the annual 9/11 memorial charity motorcycle ride that honors America’s heroes, since its inception in 2001. The CT United Ride has become the largest 9/11 tribute in the state. He knows how to organize a motorcycle event like this.
“Several months ago, there was a discussion that a motorcycle tribute ride for Newtown was inevitable,” said Mr Garrity. The motorcycle community, he said, shows “a positive outpouring of positive support” for fundraisers. Several groups, he added, had already begun the process of doing a ride to raise funds for Newtown.
“It was originally in Sandy Hook — Anthony Capozziello, in fact — who came up with the idea that if there was to be a Newtown motorcycle ride tribute, it should be done by the fire departments,” said Mr Garrity. The five departments — Botsford Fire Rescue, Dodgingtown, Hawleyville, and Newtown Hook & Ladder, in addition to Sandy Hook — “all got together, and they all agreed to become the sponsors of a single ride for Newtown,” said Mr Garrity.
With the relationship that the companies already have — Mr Garrity has, after all, reached out to all five companies every year of the CT United Ride, to invite riders to participate as well as for firefighters to stand along the route, which also passes through Newtown — the fire companies “reached out and asked me if I would help direct the ride for them, understanding that it would probably be a ride of some magnitude.”
While registration for the ride will not officially open until Saturday, May 4, Mr Garrity said this week that he and other organizers have had “very good response” to e-mails, telephone calls, and word of mouth.
“We fully expect to have, at a minimum, between one and two thousand riders,” he said. “We fully expect that would could have almost double that.”
Dozens of motorcycle police officers will be coming in from across Connecticut, from Massachusetts, and from as far away Linden, N.J., said Mr Garrity, to serve as the police escort on Sunday.
Register To Ride, Public Invited To After Party
Registration must be done either Saturday, May 4, between 11 am and 4 pm, at Carl Anthony’s Restaurant in Monroe (food and drink specials will be offered by the restaurant during those hours), or on the morning of the ride, between 8 and 10:30 am, at the corner of Howe Avenue/Route 110 and Cornell Street in Shelton. The ride will be starting from that location.
Cost is $20 per person. Riders are being encouraged to wear green.
The event will raise funds for a variety of funds and charities associated with the events of 12/14.
Funds raised through the ride will be divided among the 26 families who lost someone on 12/14, The Sandy Hook Family Healing Fund, Newtown Police Union, Newtown’s five volunteer fire companies, The Center for Women & Families in Bridgeport, and the Fairfield-based Al’s Angels.
Denise Daniels Biagi will sing the national anthem just prior to the ride’s 11 am start in Shelton.
Doug Wahlberg Band will be supplying the music at the finish line. The Sandy Hook-based band will be performing at the Trumbull Mall from noon until 3 pm. In addition, Mr Garrity said on May 1 that the Steel Heart has “just been confirmed” to perform at the after party as well.
“They will be playing their song ‘Angel Eyes,’” said Mr Garrity, “and everyone is invited to join the after party. Once the bikes arrive at the mall at noon, the after party will continue, with the concert, food and vendors. Everyone can come and show their support. The end event, at Westfield Trumbull Mall, is absolutely open to the public.”
Commemorative shirts and bandanas will be available for purchase before the ride begins and also at the after party.
There is no rain plan for Sunday.
If it rains, “we’re getting wet,” said Mr Garrity. “But it’s going to be 74 and sunny, so we’re good.”
For additional information contact Mr Garrity, 203-852-5046; Greg Gnandt, 203-258-0192; Anthony Capozziello, 203-948-8931; or visit GreenRibbonRide.com. Registration forms are available on the website.