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First Fridays At Aldrich In Ridgefield Blend Culture, Community And Food

Jamie Pearl is the events manager at Aldrich Contemporary Arts Museum in Ridgefield, which hosts "First Fridays" cocktail parties nine times a year.
Jamie Pearl is the events manager at Aldrich Contemporary Arts Museum in Ridgefield, which hosts "First Fridays" cocktail parties nine times a year. Photo Credit: Contributed by Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

RIDGEFIELD, Conn.—Blend culture, community, food, and music, and you have the perfect weekend kickoff. That’s the recipe at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, where the popular First Fridays cocktail party series has been a can’t-miss hit for eight years.

The Aldrich’s next First Fridays event will be held on May 2 from 7 to 9 p.m. with $15 ticket prices for members and $20 for non-members. The event is supported by several area businesses, like The HomeVision Group, Keller Williams Realty for example. “The Aldrich is so special because it is a contemporary art museum in an historic New England town. It’s a place where community and culture intersect, but right in your backyard,” explained events manager Jamie Pearl. “We have noticed that some guests plan dates here, and others meet neighbors or make new friends. It’s a nice chance to sample local cuisine, listen to live music, and tour the current exhibitions.” The series was previously held on Thursdays before being switched to Fridays in 2011. “We found that this was more convenient for most people,’’ Pearl said. “Those returning from the city, visiting for the weekend — it made it easier for guests to get here. We had an immediate increase in attendance.” First Fridays events attract 125 to 150 people every month. There are nine First Fridays each year, beginning in February, with a hiatus in July and August. Residents of Fairfield and Westchester Counties flock to First Fridays, but the event also attracts guests from further afield. The May party will be typical of First Fridays; Westport-based singer/songwriter Canyon will provide the music and Bistro 7 of Wilton the hors d’oeuvres. Each event also includes an optional docent-led tour of the Museum, or guests are welcome to explore the galleries at their own pace and enjoy the Museum’s three-acre campus when the weather cooperates. Pearl finds putting the pieces in place for First Fridays an enjoyable part of her job. “I grew up in Ridgefield, and whenever I find the opportunity to connect the community with the art, that’s the way that I like to plan an event,’’ she said. “To have a gem like The Aldrich Museum that offers a New York City experience close to home is a rare find.”

She continued, “First Fridays is just one example of the programs offered at the Museum. We’re very proud to host a creative mix of offerings for culturally curious adults as well as creative families with children of all ages.”

For more information about First Fridays and other events at The Aldrich, visit www.aldrichart.org.