Updated: Monday, 29 Dec 2008, 7:14 PM EST
Published : Monday, 29 Dec 2008, 6:19 PM EST
Essex (WTNH) - An annual festival dedicated to a national treasure may not happen this year but people are still flocking to a small Connecticut community to get a glimpse of a bald eagle.
It would have been the 10th year for the Eaglefest in Essex but the tough economic times have grounded that event.
You don't often think of taking a river boat ride in the middle of winter but in Essex it's the perfect time of the year.
"These set of large white pines is a favorite roosting site," said Andrew Griswold of CT Audubon Society. "Seeing the eagle by boat is by far the best way to do it. We can get relatively close to them."
The bald eagle is a national symbol and a year round resident along the lower Connecticut River.
"Just a regal bird that exudes power and strength," Griswold said.
When the eagles fly in so do the eagle watchers. On an average Eaglefest weekend in February between ten and fifteen thousand people flock to the river with binoculars in hand.
"Because of hard economic times for many of our sponsors we've had to postpone that til things get better," Griswold said.
For now, stores like Toys Ahoy will miss the added visitors squeezing through these fun-filled aisles.
"It is a disappointment like I say, it's something that was on the calendar for many years," said Allen Divoli from Toys Ahoy.
The eagle boats will still sail and many will tell you - you don't need an Eaglefest to see the eagles.
"If you're a true bird lover they're out there, you just have to kind of be a little more aware. We're not all gathered around to see them together," said Lisa Sodergren of Killingworth.
The eagle boats run tours up the Connecticut River for six weeks starting the first weekend in February.
Opinions that are derogatory, attack other users, offer unsubstantiated facts or are offensive in nature will be removed as defined by the Terms of Service. We reserve the right to remove any offensive or off-topic remark or thread. To mark a comment for review by a moderator, click "Report Abuse."