MILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — This weekend is the Milford Oyster Festival. It will look a little different this year due to Covid. The place where they hold it is going to look very different in years to come because of some improvements in the works, thanks to state bond money announced today.
After taking last year off due to Covid, the festival is back, but with a few changes. They’ve dropped the rides, because little kids still can’t get vaccinated. When the crowds come to the stage to hear Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, yes, they’re having a party, but they want to make sure nobody has the fever.
“We are going to require a vaccination proof, or a negative test within 72 hours,” said Ila Tokarz, the president of the Milford Oyster Festival.
Rapid tests will be available on site, so will the vaccine. As for Wilcox Park, where they hold the festival, it is about to change, as well.
The headliner for this year’s festival is Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.
“The state of Connecticut will be providing $.5 million to redesign the roadway and the parking lots here,” said Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz (D – Connecticut).
“They’ve reorganized the whole area,” said State Sen. Jim Maroney (D – Milford), pointing to maps of the site. “So right now, the road comes down and it curves through there. The road will go straight.”
Senator Maroney has been pushing for the changes. The riverfront itself will be more accessible to pedestrians, instead of cars.
“This will all become a walkway, so it will be narrower,” Maroney said. “There will be bumpouts for benches.”
That will bring the people, and the festival, even closer to the water and the oysters. It will also make things safer all year round.
“The way that this downtown hub is situated there is some danger because we have cars and pedestrians and a whole bunch of other factors,” said Mayor Ben Blake (D – Milford).
Not having the rides this year might actually be a good thing, because as soon as the festival is done Saturday night, they immediately have to pack up everything so it doesn’t blow away in Hurricane Henri on Sunday.