After initially hoping to reschedule the canceled Daffodil Festival, organizers have given up and are now looking ahead to 2021.
Parade chairman Mark Zebora said the festival committee wanted to hold a makeup event sometime in the fall but couldn’t find a weekend that wouldn’t conflict with other fall festivals in the region, including Wallingford’s 350th anniversary jubilee celebration, which was just rescheduled from June to September due to concerns about spreading the coronavirus.
Uncertainty over when it will be OK to hold large events again, Zebora added, also makes rescheduling difficult because he needs a firm date to give vendors and suppliers. Event organizers made the decision not to reschedule after talking it through this week.
“I hate to cancel, it’s not in my blood,” Zebora said, “but this was something that was a different animal … we’ve braved rain and cold and ice but never had a virus until now.”
Zebora said organizers plan to announce dates for the 2021 festival as soon as possible
The city announced the Daffodil Festival cancelation on March 13 one day after Gov. Ned Lamont issued an executive order banning gatherings of more than 250 people through at least April 30. The annual festival at Hubbard Park, which had been scheduled this year for April 26-27, attracts upwards of 50,000 people from around Connecticut and other states.
The Daffodil Festival, the city’s hallmark community event, has been held in Meriden for more than 40 years and is considered the kickoff to the spring and summer festival season for the region.
“It (represents) such an iconic change of seasons and brings people together in the community and highlights the city for people outside of our community,” City Council Majority Leader David Lowell said. He added that the community will have to find other ways to come together in light of this cancellation and many others.
“We have to find ways to pick ourselves up as a community by our bootstraps,” Lowell said. “While we might not hold some of these significant events, we need to find a way, as we emerge from this ... to come back together and highlight the city.”