Norwalk Oyster Fest Goes On After Storm Break

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Thrill seekers enjoy the amusements Friday at the Norwalk Seaport Association Oyster Festival. No one was riding there Saturday Night as the festival shut down in the face of severe weather forecasts.
Thrill seekers enjoy the amusements Friday at the Norwalk Seaport Association Oyster Festival. No one was riding there Saturday Night as the festival shut down in the face of severe weather forecasts. Photo Credit: Nancy Guenther Chapman

NORWALK, Conn. – The Norwalk Seaport Association Oyster Festival was closed Saturday evening because of the forecast for severe weather.

Photo Album Norwalk Oyster Festival

The gates closed at 5:45 p.m., according to a release from the Seaport Association. It will reopen at 11 a.m. Sunday.

"They're not taking any chances," Norwalk Fire Department Deputy Chief Ed Prescott said at 5 p.m. With two tornado sightings Saturday morning in New York City and a forecast calling for heavy winds of up to 70 miles an hour and heavy rain, organizers wanted to get everyone off the festival grounds before the weather hits, he said.

"The safety of our attendees is our most important concern, and, with the real possibility of severe weather, we've taken the prudent step of shutting down the festival this evening," said Jerry Toni, Oyster Festival Chairman in the statement.

The storm came through with little more than heavy rain, a Norwalk Police officer said at 7:30 p.m.

None of the entertainment acts scheduled for Saturday night, including The Village People, will be rescheduled, according to Carolyn Ripp, public relations person for the festival.

Sunday's lineup Sunday includes Lou Gramm at 4 p.m. on the main stage. Regional bands and singers will perform on the Heineken stage, including Tuna Squad and Bob Square.

Local dignitaries will compete in the annual oyster slurping contest at 2 p.m.

Updated, 7:30 p.m.

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Comments (19)

I have not been to one where there was no rain. Sort of expected at this point!

Pony Tail Steve who lives in a cardboard box is concerned about rain

As I recall, weather has played a fairly consistent role over the years with soggy sod to plod through. Perhaps the organizers should consider rescheduling the event a couple weeks earlier; better yet the last week of August before school starts. And how about adding a fried clam strips eating contest (I would be the first in line to compete!) to make it our version of Nathan's Coney Island hot dog eating competition.

Would there be a belly clam division? Count me in ! Generally the colder the water the better the oyster. The old rule is to harvest oysters for eating in the months that contain 'R's

I think that they SHOULD reschedule the acts, have them come back in the future and play at the City Hall or somewhere. I mean, they paid them already, didnt they?

A good call it was,the damage in Ny was nothing compared to what is happening in the storms path coming this way.

Timing of the fest should be looked at,the way its run also by High Road from VA may be a factor,enough time today to get the headline show on(Village People) but doesn't help with beer sales if the show goes on any earlier than near closing so maybe a little greed seems to have seeped in.There is money selling beer just ask anyone in Sono.Families could of seen the top headliners today before they closed without a doubt.

We all have to feel for the organizations and vendors in the past Seaport takes the insurance money on a shutdown yet never in the past does the vendor see any compansation.I have no idea if Seaport was insured this year for a rain out if they were they usaually don't lose only the vendors and church groups and etc.

Its odd where that land sits in East Norwalk by Norden that parcel that stays dry during most storms would be a great place to have a fest,plenty of parking three or four times the land and parking could be on site.Our teams wouldn't lose a month or so at vets park and yes East Norwalk could make some good money

You have to wonder how much High Roads gets for the Norwalk Oyster fest,in another fest for a day they get good money for a few hours for a one day event.If your giving someone thousands of dollars of profit to run the Oyster fest is the return worth it?

In Mamaroneck

The Board of Trustees authorized a contract with High Road Inc. for event planning and consulting services for the June 5 street fair. The cost will not exceed $18,000 and will be paid from event revenue, not from village funds.(if this is true Norwalk Seaport is paying big money for a contract for three days)

Maybe its time for Seaport to take back the Oyster fest and run it themselves,most of the contractors that came to set up things in Norwalk were not local they were from NY.Same with the beer its an exclusive contract with so many hooks and loopholes you would think by design Seaport wouldn't see a dime of it.

To those volunteers who give so much time as they did the past who knew how to run the fest why did it all end?Most of them still show up give countless hours to make it what it is so thanks to all those unpaid devoted great people who have so much pride in Norwalk thank you.

We all love the Oyster fest maybe its time its run by Seaport again and not an entertainment company whos decisions don't effect what they are paid but what Seaport makes for the community and gives back.

It rains in Oct too. I guess I understand the concern but alot of money was lost because it rained a little. I'v been there under much worse conditions more than once without it getting closed down.

You're saying that they don't buy insurance against inclement weather?

I'm sure they do, but I dont believe that helps the clubs & other vendors. If you are there trying to sell food you are just out of luck unless you buy your own insurance & I doubt most do.

Then the clubs who are at the mercy of the operator should have the operator ' offer ' some sort of umbrella policy to them. unless you're the pretzel vendor with 10 pretzels spinning on spokes in a hot box. I Know what you're are saying Ken. You Know this is the 35TH Fest. What's the learning curve,..seeing there have been so many years with poor weather. Oh I know what you're going to say,..they haven`t closed the event that often,.. well they haven't made much money those years either. No matter what they've never dreamed to keep it running one more day. Something that seems to take weeks to erect for 3 days. It needs a new venue and new time of year. Maybe just scrapped altogether. There was a time there was a few little carnival; type things going on in peoples own neighborhoods. Something maybe to have pride in your neighborhood about.At least the kids weren't armed during that brief scuffle. I aslo doubt very much that any of the trouble makers there paide their 5 bucks to get in either.

They use to buy insurance no reason to think they didn't this year,the vendors don't see a brake at least they never did before.

My suggestion was to plan on the headliner band to play early sat at 12 would of given them the band and then some.Having a band close at closing leaves no wiggle room,the band gets paid no matter what that is almost a rule in the music industry.

The way its run around beer drinking should be looked at its a familiy event not a beer fest.

What I did say was in the past no vendor got a break when they closed down the Fest,Seaport did get insurance but that was never passed on to the vendors.In part thats why the large craft tents left Milford came to Norwalk for years recruiting vendors that were upset over muddy fields and a poor policy in case of rain.It was a no brainer Milford was the place to go a week or two before Norwalk.Milford always seem to have good weather.I think Norwalks sports teams have a say when the Fest can take over Vets park for a month and its this time of year when its not used for sports.

I know this year sport organizations insisted the rides go to the tar and save the fields that meeting was last year but was never written about.

But I always marvel at the volunteers,each year some come from all over the country to help out and make it a special time for Norwalk.To those I always thank I met and worked with a lot of them all with passion for what Seaport does for the community.

There has to be a better way or place to do this once a year.Vets park is a landfill with poor drainage and many problems below grade.Oyster Park is another time bomb only other place would of been 95/7 shame it was sold for a sand lot.

Thanks you to Moccia the Moron

It was an excellent call - the wind was strong at 5p and the downpour at 6:30p confirmed it. The biggest shame was the people that showed up late in the afternoon and barely had a chance to enjoy anything (myself included). They should do something about that for tomorrow - I do feel a little burned.

I agree,..if they are going to announce closing, then they should be prepared at the exit to hand you something. If not at the gate due to ergency, then where ever your bus drops you.That stamp going in was a joke, it wore off before I got around the loop once. Listen to the radio, maybe they will do something.

Good Call Chief ! Vendors were having some trouble with their tarp and polls in the breeze at 1:00 PM and it's looks like it's going to be torential by 7:00 PM. I have to say there was much more turf than in years past when it was truly dust or mud. I guess that's because we have more sports teams playing down there 6+ months a year.

What a shame.....Maybe the Oyster Festival should be held in October....
September doesn't seem to be working out .....rain every year....

@ ddielsi.
The Boat Show dosen't seem to have the same black cloud hanging over it at the end of september.