Milford Irish Festival canceled for second consecutive year

Photo of Brian Gioiele
The last Milford Irish Festival on Sept. 5, 2019. This year’s festival is cancelled.

The last Milford Irish Festival on Sept. 5, 2019. This year’s festival is cancelled.

Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

MILFORD - The annual Irish Festival that was planned to be held later this month has been canceled.

Organizers, in a statement on Facebook, cited concerns over increasing COVID-19 cases and additional restrictions in deciding to cancel the event, which was to be held Sept. 17 and Sept. 18 at Fowler Field.

“This was a difficult decision to make,” Milford Irish Heritage Society President Tim McNamara stated on Facebook, “But with all of the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 situation, along with increased pressure to put multiple restrictions on the event, we came to the conclusion that this was the appropriate action.”

McNamara went on to praise the efforts of the executive board and membership, which had been preparing to hold the event as normal.

The Milford Irish Festival has been a staple of the community for more than a dozen years. The event also was canceled last year due to the pandemic.

Marty Hardiman and his partner started the city’s Irish Club 16 years ago, and the following year, they decided to do a festival.

“What we did is we bring in food, corned beef and cabbage dinners and sandwiches,” said Hardiman. “The first year, we were just underneath the pavilion, and then we grew from then. Now we can take over almost the whole park. It’s grown quite a bit. We’ve always had Irish music, we try to bring in Irish food, but we also bring other dishes because not everyone eats corned beef.”

As the festival grew, Hardiman said the event began to include more things like vendors, and it also expanded to a two-day festival.