Was a busy Saturday in Milford: Arts, fishing, a marathon and more

Saturday morning opened sunny and cool, the perfect day for a host of activities taking place in Milford.

Tents staked for the MAC Fest dotted the downtown green, and artists and crafters were setting up their wares while local agencies and groups set up their displays as well. Danielle Valenzano, Milford Children’s Library assistant, and Amy Edwards, who mans the Brain Station at the library, fiddled with two stands to hold a screen for their display. Library Director Christine Angeli stepped over to help, as musicians prepared to entertain, actors readied to perform short plays at the Milford Art Center, and a sidewalk was left clear for children to create chalk art.

Down at the harbor, wooden barricades closed part of the road to make way for runners in a Milford half marathon.

“The Gulf Beach Half Marathon is the most gorgeous and flattest Half Marathon in Connecticut,” according to an announcement about the event. Participants ran along “the beautiful beaches of Milford featuring the Silver Sands State Park Boardwalk.”

The runners also passed through downtown Milford, as nearby, young anglers baited fishing poles. Children and parents dotted the harbor around Lisman Landing for the annual Snapper Derby sponsored by the Milford Sport Fishing Association and the city. At the town dock, Julie Nash, Milford’s economic development director, fished with her family. By 9:30 a.m., nearly all the children in the group had reeled in a snapper, proudly displaying their catches.

At the end of the event two of the group, Max Nash, 8, and Sawyer Andres, 5, won trophies: Sawyer came in first with his 21.05 ounce total for five fish; Max came in third for his total catch of 17.95 ounces. Jack Friedman, 8, fishing with another group, placed second with his 20.20 ounces of fish.

Even if they didn’t get a trophy, all the children won a new fishing pole. Each child got a raffle ticket, and Cameron Hammond, president of the Milford Sport Fishing Association; Walt Kupson, vice president, and Ken Gabianelli, treasurer, patiently called off winning numbers and watched as the children realized they’d won and stepped up to choose a pole.

“All the children win,” one of the officials explained. “But it’s more exciting for them this way.”

At Lisman Landing, Operations Director Ray Swift scanned the anglers and the boats docked at the city marina. “This is a great September,” Swift said, noting that the marina was nearly full, and there were more big boats coming in later.

Just across the Hotchkiss Bridge, the Milford Irish Heritage Society was getting started on the second day of its annual Irish Festival. Friday night was the kickoff, and Irish Heritage Society founder Martin Hardiman said it was a perfect night, especially for drinking Irish beer: It wasn’t too hot.

Bands played throughout the event, there was Irish food to buy, children’s games, Irish sweaters and other Irish-themed merchandise to buy and more. Sunday would bring even more people to this very spot, for the annual Folks on Spokes/Folks on Foot bike ride and walk to raise money for Bridges, the area mental health agency located in Milford.

Not far away at Walnut Beach Saturday, the kick-off celebration for the sixth annual ‘Step by Step to a Healthier Milford’ took place. People gathered to walk and begin a six-week self-walking campaign, sponsored by the Milford Chamber of Commerce.

And at Jonathan Law High School, cancer survivors, caregivers and others gathered around the track to kick off the annual Relay for Life, which raises money and awareness to help in the fight against cancer.