COVID, weather forecast cancels Branford’s first night celebration


BRANFORD – The city’s planned first night celebration, which included ice sculptures, a bonfire, food trucks and more, has been canceled due to a rise in COVID cases in the city and of the possibility of inclement weather on Friday, officials said.

Parks and Recreation Director Alex Palluzzi said Monday that while everyone wanted the event to happen, there were too many factors at play. Palluzzi spoke with event partners Monday after noon and they agreed that the cancellation was the right decision at the right time.

One of the main issues was security, but also the weather forecast. Branford could see snow, up to three inches, as well as winds of 10 to 20 mph.

“While it would be beautiful, we can’t with what’s going on with our emergency services, police, fire and public works,” Palluzzi said of the event’s cancellation. “They are an important partner for us and they have their own personnel issues and we didn’t want to add more pressure.”

The weather was the first consideration for the cancellation of the event, the second being COVID. Palluzzi said more than 700 people in Branford tested positive for the virus over the weekend.

“As much as we’d love to have it, because we want to start the new year off right and be excited about it and we’re putting a lot of effort into it. It’s been very successful. It’s just the wrong time,” said Paluzzi.

This specific event will not be rescheduled as it celebrates the start of the new year, but Palluzzi and his team already had ideas around an event to replace it.

There was discussion about possibly having an event closer to St. Patrick’s Day in March, but if possible, the city will have it sooner — depending on how COVID data evolves, Palluzzi said.

Parks and Recreation holds events throughout the year, with events taking place from April through October in 2021. The department has also held holiday events, but so much has changed since then, according to Palluzzi.

While events are usually scheduled a year later, his team has scheduled programs month by month when cases become high as they are now.

“We are going to fight with everyone and we are going to do our best safely,” said Palluzzi. “But we will continue to have activities until something holds us back.”


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