MILFORD — City Council got official word Monday that, for the second time, Downtown Milford Inc.’s Bug & Bud Festival and its annual St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl have been canceled due to COVID-19.
“It is with great reluctance, but the Parks and Recreation Department in conjunction with Downtown Milford, Inc. have made the decision to cancel the seventeenth annual Bug and Bud Festival,” Parks & Rec Director Brad Dennehy said in a letter to council.
“The merchants are desperate for us to find reasons for people to come back downtown,” said Nina Pletcher, the head of DMI’s Promotions Committee, but, “at the same time, we don’t want to be the headline on Monday morning for the super-spreader event in Delaware.
“There’s no point in having these things if you can only have 50 people,” she added.
Mr. Dennehy said planning usually begins in January for the April event but didn’t this year.
“We have delayed the initial planning as long as possible to ‘wait and see’ what would happen with the pandemic and the associated restrictions imposed by the Governor of Delaware,” Mr. Dennehy said.
“At this time, it does not appear the restrictions for large gatherings of people will be lifted anytime soon,” he said. “To be fair to our vendors, volunteers and to the public at large we have made the decision to cancel. We look forward to bringing this event back bigger and better in 2022.”
Cat Perfetti, DMI’s executive director, also confirmed in a Tuesday press release that Bug & Bud has been canceled for the second year in a row.
“Due to the amount of planning, fundraising, volunteer time and uncertainty of Gov. John Carney lifting his state of emergency restrictions, the two organizations believed this to be the best course of action,” the press release said.
Ms. Pletcher, who works in health care, said she personally doesn’t take issue with the governor’s course of action, despite her disappointment about the cancellations.
“I’m totally OK with the governor following the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines, as far as how quickly the restrictions are being rolled back,” she said.
“I was just having this conversation about the number of people who I think are — I want to say — not well-informed,” she said. “They just really have no clue about what it means to get put in the hospital on a ventilator and die.”
Ms. Pletcher said that “if you lose one person to this stuff, it’s the real deal. It’s not fake news.”
She got her second vaccine Saturday. However, “that, in no way, shape or form, gives me free (rein) to be around people without social distancing and a mask.”
On Tuesday afternoon, DMI confirmed in a Facebook post that the annual St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl for 2021 has also been called off.
“Cat has been getting lots of calls about the pub crawl,” Ms. Pletcher said. “That doesn’t surprise me because that’s just one big party.”
The Facebook post goes on to say that “DMI and Milford Parks and Recreation Department will begin planning the 2022 Bug and Bud Festival, scheduled for Saturday, April 23, later this year.”
One commenter wanted to know if the organization was beginning plans for the 2022 pub crawl, too.
“We certainly hope to be able to hold the Pub Crawl in 2022,” the DMI Facebook page responded. “Planning for that event begins later this year as well.”
Ms. Pletcher said the cancellation of these events will have a negative impact on DMI, which draws a lot of its funds from sales and donations tied to the activities.
For information about either of these events and how to support DMI, call its office at 839-1180.