Essex (WTNH) - An annual festival dedicated to a national treasure may nothappen this year but people are still flocking to a smallConnecticut community to get a glimpse of a bald eagle.
It would have been the 10th year for the Eaglefest in Essex butthe tough economic times have grounded that event.
You don't often think of taking a river boat ride in the middleof 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 byboat is by far the best way to do it. We can get relatively closeto them."
The bald eagle is a national symbol and a year round residentalong the lower Connecticut River.
"Just a regal bird that exudes power and strength," Griswoldsaid.
When the eagles fly in so do the eagle watchers. On an averageEaglefest weekend in February between ten and fifteen thousandpeople flock to the river with binoculars in hand.
"Because of hard economic times for many of our sponsors we'vehad to postpone that til things get better," Griswold said.
For now, stores like Toys Ahoy will miss the added visitorssqueezing through these fun-filled aisles.
"It is a disappointment like I say, it's something that was onthe calendar for many years," said Allen Divoli from Toys Ahoy.
The eagle boats will still sail and many will tell you - youdon't need an Eaglefest to see the eagles.
"If you're a true bird lover they're out there, you just have tokind of be a little more aware. We're not all gathered around tosee them together," said Lisa Sodergren of Killingworth.
The eagle boats run tours up the Connecticut River for six weeksstarting the first weekend in February.
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