A part of downtown Shelton will be closed off on Sunday, May 5 for the Green Ribbon Ride, a motorcycle event to raise money for Newtown charities in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.
From 2,000 to 3,000 motorcyclists — depending on weather conditions — are expected to gather for the start of the charity ride in the area of Cornell Street, Howe Avenue and Canal Street, which is near the Farmer’s Market Building.
Registration for motorcyclists will go from 8 to 10:30 a.m., followed by the opening ceremonies at 10:30 and the start of the ride at 11. Participants also can pre-register the previous say at a Monroe location (see details later in the article).
Detours will be set up in Shelton to keep routine traffic away from the starting area, where opening ceremonies will take place in the municipal parking lot behind the Farmer’s Market Building. Electronic signs and police officers will guide non-participating motorists away from the scene.
The detours should begin around 11 a.m. and continue for an extended period that day.
Travel early that day
“Downtown will be shut down,” said Michael A. Maglione, Shelton public safety and emergency management services director.
Maglione has a simple message for residents who may be heading somewhere in the area on that Sunday: “If you’re going some place, get out before 11 a.m.”
The good news for Shelton drivers as far as traffic impact is that participating motorcyclists will be immediately going over Bridge Street to head northbound on Route 34 in Derby. They will travel through six towns and not return to Shelton.
Maglione said it will take an extended period for all those motorcycles to leave from the starting area. In fact, he said it’s even possible some riders will still be beginning the 29.5-mile ride when other bikers have completed the route.
Honoring the victims
Thousands of motorcycles, amidst a sea of Sandy Hook Elementary School-green, are expected to participate in the ride to honor the memory of the 26 shooting victims.
When Newtown’s five fire departments decided they wanted to start the Green Ribbon Ride, an obvious choice for ride director was Fred Garrity Jr., a Trumbull resident. Garrity organizes the annual CT United Ride, the largest charity motorcycle ride in New England, remembering 9/11.
For the Green Ribbon Ride, Garrity has been spear-heading the event with Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire Assistant Chief Anthony Capozziello and Trumbull resident Greg Gnandt. Organizing a multi-town motorcycle ride is no small feat, but Garrity said it’s a cause that’s worth the work.
“This is a homegrown event,” Garrity said. “We expect thousands, and we encourage people to come out on the route and wear green.”
Will pass through seven towns
Once riders leave Shelton, they will travel through Derby, Seymour, Oxford, Monroe, Newtown and Trumbull, ending at the Westfield mall. “They were gracious enough to offer their facility,” Garrity said of the mall. “We will have a band, vendors set up, and food.”
Garrity said the city of Shelton has done a great job in working to organize the opening ceremonies.
All money raised will be paid out directly to Newtown charities, including the Sandy Hook Family Healing Fund, Newtown Police Union, Newtown EMS, the five Newtown fire departments, local children’s charities, Center for Women and Families, and Al’s Angels.
How to pre-register
Riders are encouraged to pre-register the day before the event, Saturday, May 4, at Carl Anthony’s Restaurant, 477 Main St. (Clocktower Square), Monroe. Day-of-the event registration will be from 8 a.m. to the start of the ride at the corner of Howe Avenue and Cornell Street in downtown Shelton.
Registration is $20 per person.
Garrity stressed that the ride is all about honoring the lives lost Dec. 14 and showing support for Newtown. “The Green Ribbon Ride has no political purpose or agenda,” he said. “It’s simply a tribute ride to honor the 26 children and the teachers.”
For information go to www.greenribbonride.com or call Fred Garrity Jr. at 203-852-5046.
Kate Czaplinski, editor of The Trumbull Times, contributed to this article.