Ronald and Michele Riggi are replacing their lavish Halloween celebration with something much more scaled down.
For 15 years, the couple staged a Halloween festival complete with free food and live animals on the front lawn of their North Broadway mansion. It has drawn hundreds, if not thousands, of attendees.
“Now it’s time for all of the wonderful people that have donated their time to help put our Halloween extravaganza on to enjoy their families,” Michele Riggi said in an email responding to a query about the event. “I will be handing out candy this year as Michele Riggi.”
The socialite and philanthropist used to dress as Cinderella and give chocolate bars to local children, who with their parents waited in a line that inevitably stretched up the block. Each year, a handful of the candy bars contained $100 bills.
While they waited, adults and children ate cider doughnuts the Riggis bought from Fo’Castle Farms in Burnt Hills — 2,400 of them in 2014, according to past Gazette coverage — and visited with ponies and other animals outside the multimillion-dollar stone mansion, which was always decked out with fall flowers and pumpkins for the occasion.
The Riggis also donated a family YMCA membership to the person who guessed the closest to the actual weight of a large pumpkin at the celebration. Ron Riggi serves on the Board of Trustees of the Saratoga Regional YMCA and the couple has been “great supporters” of the YMCA, said Kelly Armer, chief operations officer.
“We’ve always been very supportive of the Riggis in terms of them giving out a membership as a prize,” Armer said.
Local families looking for a Halloween event may attend the YMCA’s Monster Bash at its Wilton branch on Oct. 21, Armer said. The field house will be seasonally decorated with stations that families can tour, and it is open to everyone, not just YMCA members.
Michele Riggi has said in the past that the Cinderella costume was symbolic for her. Riggi grew up with modest means in Broadalbin, studied dance and musical theater and performed in off-Broadway productions in New York City before meeting and marrying Ron Riggi, who is CEO of Turbine Services Ltd.
The Riggis have been a high-profile and at times controversial couple in Saratoga Springs, praised for donating millions of dollars to community causes and criticized for buying and tearing down a historic house adjacent to their property in 2010. They own more than 30 toy breed dogs, who live a luxury lifestyle complete with their own full-time caretaker and heated yard.
In 2013, the E! cable channel announced it was developing a reality TV show about the Riggis, but a few months later Michele Riggi said she had terminated the deal.