Sailfest is returning to New London's waterfront after a two-year hiatus during the pandemic. The three-day event begins Friday afternoon.
"It is very exciting. It is going to be a great weekend. The weather is going to be awesome and we want families to come out and actually enjoy the event," said Barbara Neff with Neff Productions.
Sailfest 2022 will feature food trucks, hundreds of vendors, rides and live entertainment. On Saturday night, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation is sponsoring a fireworks show. To view a full event schedule, click here.
The event is expected to draw about 250,000 people to downtown New London. Local businesses are excited for the traffic.
Roderick Cornish, owner of Hot Rod Cafe, said his team is ready.
“It’s always been our biggest day of the year so we are pretty excited," Cornish said. "Part of the reason we built this rooftop deck is for Sailfest and to have a better view of the river and everything. We have been waiting for that. We are prepared."
While many are excited for the event, some are concerned about safety. New London's police union sent a letter to city leaders months ago raising concerns over their ability to safely staff the event. Now with the event one day away, and after responding to several shootings this week, the union's leadership said their concerns are even greater than before.
Despite the concerns from the police union, Mayor Michael Passero said that he is confident in safety plans for Sailfest.
“Safety is the biggest part of our planning. We have worked with federal, state and local agencies," Passero said. "We are very, very comfortable that we have the resources and that we will be able to, as always with over 40 years of experience, we will be able to handle this.”
New London Police will be conducting light bag screenings at the entrances to City Pier.
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