NEW LONDON — The 43rd Sailfest will not be taking place this year.
The popular annual celebration, which was scheduled to take place in new London July 10-12, has been canceled. The event had been held continuously since 1993, organizers said in a press release, but will not be held in 2020 due to concerns regarding crowd size and an inability to properly enforce social distancing.
The event is hosted through a partnership between the cities of New London and Groton, the Downtown New London Association, and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.
“Sailfest is one of the most beloved annual summer traditions in the state. We’re all very disappointed, but we collectively understand the need to be extra cautious for the sake of our communities and visitors,” said New London Mayor Michael Passero said.
The annual event was expected to draw thousands to the region, and was expected to include 200 vendors, amusement rides, free entertainment, boats and the Mashantucket Pequot Fireworks, which were to be sponsored by Foxwoods Resort Casino.
The Saturday night fireworks extravaganza has been a long-standing tradition, with more than two generations of outdoor BBQ and backyard parties, officials said.
Barbara Neff, executive director of the Downtown New London Association’s Sailfest Committee, said the association is disappointed but looks forward to celebrating Sailfest from July 9–11 in 2021.
In the meantime, the organization is planning to still hold a Virtual 5K Road Race this year. Information about the virtual running event can be found on the Sailfest website, www.sailfest.org.
— Jason Vallee