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Our Mission:
The mission of the Fairfield Parks and Recreation Department is to provide quality leisure opportunities in safe, clean and healthy facilities, and to offer comprehensive inclusive programs at a reasonable cost for residents of all ages.  

Our Vision:
Empowering our community through vibrant and inclusive recreational experiences, the Fairfield Parks and Recreation Department envisions a future where every resident, regardless of age or background, thrives in a dynamic and accessible environment. We aspire to be the cornerstone of our community, fostering well-being, connection, and joy through exceptional facilities and diverse programs, all delivered with a commitment to safety, cleanliness, and affordability. Together, we shape a healthier and happier tomorrow for everyone we serve.
Awards & Recognition
The Knot - Best of Reception Venue 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024

The Pavilions at Penfield Beach have been selected as a 2024 ­­winner of The Knot Best of Weddings. This accolade represents the top local wedding professionals as reviewed by real couples on The Knot, a digital wedding planning authority and one of the largest wedding Vendor Marketplaces in the US. This is the 5th year The Pavilions have been named a winner of The Knot Best of Weddings awards.

In its eighteenth annual year, The Knot continues its long-standing tradition of supporting the expertise and outstanding service of local wedding professionals with The Knot Best of Weddings 2024. As a go-to guide of top wedding vendors across the country, this prestigious award honors those vendors on The Knot deemed by couples as trusted, dependable and consistently delivering quality service.

To determine the winners, The Knot assessed thousands of user reviews for 200,000+ wedding professionals within its Vendor Marketplace across various categories—planners, venues, officiants, musicians, DJs, florists, photographers, caterers, hair and makeup artists, and more—to find the top vendors of the year. Vendors who have received at least 7 reviews on The Knot with an average score of 4.5+ between January 1, 2023 and December 31, 2023 received The Knot Best of Weddings Award. These winners represent the top wedding professionals that best embody what matters to couples in their wedding planning journey.

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The Knot - Reception Venue Hall of Fame 2023, 2024

Fairfield Parks & Recreation s pleased to announce that The Pavilions at Penfield Beach have been inducted into The Knot Best of Weddings Hall of Fame from The Knot, a digital wedding planning authority and one of the largest wedding Vendor Marketplaces in the US for the second year. Exceptional wedding professionals who have earned four or more of The Knot Best of Weddings Awards are inducted into the prestigious The Knot Best of Weddings Hall of Fame, marking an outstanding achievement for top vendors.  

In its eighteenth annual year, The Knot continues its long-standing tradition of supporting the expertise and outstanding service of local wedding professionals with The Knot Best of Weddings 2024. As a go-to guide of top wedding vendors across the country, this prestigious award honors those vendors on The Knot deemed by couples as trusted, dependable and consistently delivering quality service.

To determine the winners, The Knot assessed thousands of user reviews for 200,000+ wedding professionals within its Vendor Marketplace across various categories—planners, venues, officiants, musicians, DJs, florists, photographers, caterers, hair and makeup artists, and more—to find the top vendors of the year. Vendors who have received at least 7 reviews on The Knot with an average score of 4.5+ between January 1, 2023 and December 31, 2023 received The Knot Best of Weddings Award. These winners represent the top wedding professionals that best embody what matters to couples in their wedding planning journey.

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Golf Digest - Best Teachers in Every State - December 2023
Congratulations to our very own Tom Henderson and Bob Bigonette for winning top spots on the Golf Digest Best Teachers in every state!

These golf teachers were voted the best in each state through a peer-voting process conducted by Golf Digest. More than 3,000 teachers were included in the voting.
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Best of Fairfield Awards - Fairfield Farmer's Market - October 2022
We are happy to announce that Fairfield Farmer's Market has been selected as the Winner for the 2022 Best of Fairfield Awards in the category of Farmers' Market. The Fairfield Award Program purpose to support and offer public recognition of the contributions of businesses and organizations in and around Fairfield.  market
Accomodation for Outstanding Actions and Professionalism - October 2022

On October 27th 2022, the Fairfield County Dispatch Center received a 911 call from a boater in distress reporting his boat was taking on water and he did not believe that he and his four passengers were going to make it. The boater reported he was just south of the Penfield Lighthouse and described his anchor became entangled with the boat propeller causing the stern of his boat to become emerged in water and sinking at time of call. Marine Unit Officers Ed Terifay and Walter Burke summoned the assistance of Patrol Sergeant Bill Beattie and our very own Marina Manager, Justin Cathcart, to assist both Marine Unit Officers. These actions allowed our Marine Unit to rapidly deploy two police boats (Safeboat 33 and Safeboat 23) out to assist with the water rescue. Patrol Sgt. Beattie responded with Ofc. Terifay in the Safeboat 23 and Ofc. Burke was assisted by Justin Cathcart in the Safeboat 33.

The quick actions of our personnel to deploy two Safeboats and subsequently locate and rescue four stranded boaters in open waters approximately 1/2 mile south of Penfield Lighthouse are a reflection of their professionalism and dedication to this profession and service to the Town of Fairfield. Their actions also prevented the loss of the victim's boat as they were able to prevent the boat from sinking by making it float safe and tow it back to the victim's home port in Bridgeport, CT.

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Facility of Merit Award - November 2021
 

Parks & Recreation Director, Anthony Calabrese, accepted the 2021 Facility of Merit Award for H. Smith Richardson Clubhouse from the Connecticut Recreation and Parks Association, Inc. at their 61st Annual Banquet at Mohegan Sun.

This award will be given to a department that has developed or renovated an exceptional facility within the last 2 years. The director of the department/organization must be a current CRPA member.

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Outstanding Professional Award – November 2021

Congratulations to our very own Fairfield Parks & Recreation Director, Anthony Calabrese, for winning the Connecticut Recreation & Parks Association (CRPA) Outstanding Professional Award! This award is given to a CRPA member who has made outstanding contributions to the parks and recreation profession, over a period of 10 years or more.

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Best Restored Beaches Award - May 2020

RACE Coastal Engineering’s award-winning South Benson Marina Dredging & Beach Nourishment Project.

In May 2020, the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) announced Jennings Beach in Fairfield, CT as a winner of the America’s 2020 Best Restored Beaches Award. The award comes following the more than 27,000 cubic yards of sand that was hydraulically pumped onto the beach this past winter as part of a maintenance dredging project for the adjacent South Benson Marina. The national award highlights the crucial role that beach restoration projects like this play to local recreation, economies, ecosystems and shoreline protection.

“This year’s Best Restored Beach winners represent a wide variety of beach types that offer unique and varied attributes. I congratulate the winners for their hard work and for the beautiful beaches they have protected and enhanced,” said ASBPA President Tony Pratt. “For more than 50 years, beach restoration has been the preferred method of shore protection in coastal communities. Beach restoration is the process of placing beach-quality sand on dwindling beaches to reverse or offset the effects of erosion.”

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Town Vibe Reader's Choice - Best Party Venue - January 2020
We are pleased to announce that Penfield Pavilion was designated "Best Party Venue" in 2020 through the Town Vibe (now, Moffly Media) Reader's Choice Awards! Thank you to everyone who voted and showed their love for our local businesses.   vibe
Facility of Merit Award - November 2017

Parks & Recreation Director, Anthony Calabrese, accepted the 2017 Facility of Merit Award for Penfield Pavilion from the Connecticut Recreation and Parks Association, Inc. at their 57th annual banquet at Mohegan Sun. This award will be given to a department that has developed or renovated an exceptional facility within the last 2 years. The director of the department/organization must be a current CRPA member.

 
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Municipal Golf Course of the Year - December 2015
Smith Richardson Golf Course was named as the state’s “Golf Course of the Year” by the Connecticut State Golf Association, the first time the award has been bestowed on a municipal course, according to town Recreation Director, Gerry Lombardo.

“This just came out of the blue,” said Jim Alexander, the head golf pro at the golf course. Lombardo, who attended the annual dinner Dec. 3 with Alexander, said, “It was quite an honor to get this.”

The association began presenting the award in 2001. Alexander said he believes the conditions and layout of Smith Richardson contributed to its selection.

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Our Core Values
Our Committment to Health & Wellness

Fairfield Parks and Recreation plays a crucial role in promoting community health and well-being for several reasons:

  1. Physical Health:
    • We provide spaces for physical activities such as walking, jogging, cycling and sports, contributing to improved cardiovascular health and overall fitness.
    • Our programs often offer fitness classes, sports leagues and other activities that encourage regular exercise.

  2. Mental Health:
    • Natural environments, like those found in parks, have been linked to reduced stress, anxiety and depression. Access to green spaces can positively impact mental well-being.
    • Recreational activities, events and social gatherings foster a sense of community, reducing feelings of isolation and promoting mental resilience.

  3. Social Well-being:
    • Our facilities serve as common ground for community members to connect, interact and build relationships.
    • Our community events and programs provide opportunities for social engagement, creating a sense of belonging and community cohesion.

  4. Family Bonding:
    • We offer family-friendly spaces for parents and children to spend quality time together, promoting family bonding and creating positive memories.
    • Family-oriented recreation programs and events strengthen family ties and contribute to a supportive community environment.

  5. Community Engagement:
    • Our activities encourage participation and community involvement. Residents engaging in these activities often develop a sense of pride and ownership in their community.
    • Our Community bring diverse groups of people together, fostering a stronger sense of unity.

  6. Quality of Life:
    • Access to parks, green spaces and recreational facilities enhances the overall quality of life for residents. It provides a balance between work and leisure, contributing to a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle.

  7. Inclusivity and Accessibility:
    • We strive to make our facilities and programs inclusive, catering to individuals of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.
    • Accessibility to recreational opportunities ensures that everyone in the community can participate, promoting equity and social well-being.

In essence, Fairfield Parks & Recreation contributes to physical, mental, and social well-being, fostering healthier and happier communities. We provide spaces and activities that enhance the overall quality of life and contribute to the vitality of a community.

Our Committment to Conservation

Conservation is vital to Parks and Recreation for a variety of reasons, contributing to the overall health, sustainability, and quality of park environments. Key reasons include:

  1. Preservation of Natural Resources:
    • Preserving and protecting natural resources, including parks, forests, and waterways.
  1. Sustainable Land Management:
    • Implementing sustainable practices to minimize environmental impact and promote ecological resilience.
  1. Educational Opportunities:
    • Educating the community about the importance of environmental conservation and stewardship.
  1. Wildlife Habitat Protection:
    • Engaging in habitat restoration efforts to enhance biodiversity and ecosystem health.
  1. Civic Engagement and Stewardship:
    • Advocating for policies and initiatives that prioritize conservation and sustainable development.

In summary, conservation is essential to Fairfield Parks and Recreation because it ensures the sustainable use of our natural resources, supports biodiversity, enhances the quality of recreational experiences, and contributes to the overall well-being of both the environment and the community. Integrating conservation practices into park management is key to creating resilient, vibrant, and ecologically sound recreational spaces.

Our Commitment to Equity

Fairfield Parks and Recreation plays a vital role in promoting equity within the community for several reasons:

  1. Accessible Spaces:
    • We provide accessible and public spaces that are open to everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status. This ensures that individuals and families, regardless of their financial situation, have access to recreational opportunities and natural environments.
  2. Inclusive Programming:
    • We strive to offer a diverse range of programs and activities that cater to various interests, abilities and age groups. This inclusivity promotes equity by providing options that appeal to the entire community.
  3. Community Connection:
    • Our programs serve as a unifying force, bringing together people from different backgrounds and fostering a sense of community. This connection is essential for breaking down social barriers and promoting equity by creating a shared community experience.
  4. Public Health Benefits:
    • Access to parks and recreational facilities contributes to public health and making these spaces available to all promotes health equity. Physical activity opportunities, community events and wellness programs benefit individuals across diverse demographic groups.
  5. Youth Development:
    • Recreation programs for youth, such as sports leagues and educational activities, offer opportunities for skill development, mentorship and personal growth. These programs contribute to breaking down barriers that might limit opportunities for certain demographics.
  6. Safe and Inclusive Spaces:
    • Parks are often designed to be safe and inclusive environments. Well-maintained public spaces reduce the risk of crime and provide a welcoming atmosphere for everyone, fostering a sense of belonging and safety.
  7. Environmental Justice:
    • Access to green spaces and natural environments is crucial for mental and physical well-being. Ensuring that parks are distributed equitably across communities, helps address environmental justice concerns, preventing certain areas from being disproportionately deprived of these benefits.
  8. Cultural and Community Representation:
    • Our initiatives that celebrate and incorporate the cultural diversity of a community contribute to a sense of representation and inclusion. Events and programs that reflect the community's cultural richness help break down barriers and promote equity.
  9. Affordable Recreation:
    • Many parks and recreation departments aim to provide affordable or subsidized programs, making recreational opportunities accessible to a broader spectrum of residents. This helps prevent economic barriers to participation and promotes equity.
  10. Equitable Resource Allocation:
    • Ensuring that parks and recreational resources are distributed fairly across neighborhoods helps address disparities and promotes equity in resource allocation.

In summary, Fairfield Parks & Recreation shows our commitment to equity by providing accessible spaces, inclusive programs and fostering community connections that benefit individuals and families from all walks of life. These initiatives enhance the overall well-being and quality of life for diverse communities.