a group of people walking down a street in front of a crowd

Milford Lady Bug Festival canceled because people can’t social distance

Charlie Megginson Business, Headlines

a group of people walking down a street in front of a crowd

Part of the crowd at the 2019 Milford Lady Bug Festival. Because the event is free, there’s no way to social distance.

 

Milford’s annual Ladybug Festival has been canceled for the second year after organizers determined COVID-19 safety protocols could not be sufficiently observed.

The event was scheduled for Oct. 2, 2021 and would have been held throughout the downtown area.

“With this event being open and free to attend, it’s not possible to check vaccination status, or recent COVID tests,” said Downtown Milford Inc. and Gable Music Ventures in a press release. “The approved layout of the event also makes social distancing very challenging. For the safety of everyone involved, we have decided to postpone it to 2022.”

The event would have featured musical acts, food trucks, local breweries and arts and crafts vendors.

“It would have been held on Walnut Street right in the downtown area,” said Gayle Dillman, CEO of Gable Music Ventures, by phone. “That’s a bottleneck for people, which is great fun when we don’t have to worry about breathing on each other, but it’s a free event so there’s no checkpoint where we could check people in and there’s no tickets to it so there’s no way to maintain the crowd size.”

Dillman said that although she’s disappointed that Milford won’t see a Ladybug Festival this year, she’s excited for next year’s event, which she hopes will be held in early September.

She said she is optimistic that by next year COVID will be under control and will have less impact on larger events.

“We love Milford and we love the Ladybug Festival. We couldn’t do it in Wilmington and we were hopeful that we were going to be able to do it in Milford, but it just isn’t in the cards this year,” Dillman said.

The cancellation comes after the city provided Downtown Milford Inc. a $30,000 grant for the long-awaited return of the beloved event.

Peggy Reilly, then president of DMI, requested the funds in a late-June city council meeting.

“We are going to have 35 artists, food trucks and vendors,” Reilly said during her presentation to council. “We had originally planned to move it to the park where we could spread out, but since we will be completely open as a state on July 13, we are moving it back to Walnut Street. We are holding it during daylight hours this year but are encouraging restaurants and taverns to offer Ladybug After Party events after the festival ends.”

The group has returned all of the money to the city with the exception of the deposit made to Gable Music Ventures.

DMI is a 501(c)3 volunteer-driven community organization that promotes the quality development of the traditional central business district of Milford in order to preserve the area’s rich historic heritage and bring new life and purpose to the downtown area.

Milford LIVE reporter Terry Rogers contributed to this report.

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