Planning underway for Connecticut’s Coast Guard Summer in New London
New London — About 45 representatives of the city, state, Coast Guard, Navy and community organizations gathered at Fort Trumbull on Tuesday morning to start filling the calendar with events for a summer-long celebration of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Beginning June 6, New London will be the epicenter of “Connecticut’s Coast Guard Summer,” an official designation from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to celebrate the Coast Guard’s 225th birthday, the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Coast Guard Academy and the planned National Coast Guard Museum in downtown New London.
“We are going to celebrate the Coast Guard this summer like never before,” said New London Director of Development and Planning Tammy Daugherty, who has organized the summer festivities with a group that includes the publisher of The Day.
In addition to the Coast Guard Academy, which was formally established in 1915, New London is home to Coast Guard Station New London, the Coast Guard Research and Development Center, the Marine Safety Lab and the International Ice Patrol.
The National Coast Guard Museum is set to open on the city’s downtown waterfront in 2018.
Connecticut’s Coast Guard Summer officially will begin June 6 with a concert of the Coast Guard Dixieland Jazz Band in New London and the Eastern Point Artisan Craft Show and Fair in Groton.
New London’s annual Sailfest festival, which is scheduled for July 10-12, formally will be dedicated to the Coast Guard, and the Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival, scheduled for Sept. 10-12, will serve as the finale of the summer-long Coast Guard celebration.
Private businesses and community groups were encouraged Tuesday to become part of the festivities by promoting any ties that may exist between their events or products and the Coast Guard and to contribute a portion of the proceeds to either the National Coast Guard Museum Association, the Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association or the Coast Guard Foundation.
Examples Daugherty offered included Safe Harbor Brewing Company — which will donate to the museum association $1 for every six pack of its 1790 Lager it sells — and events like the 10th annual Fish Tales, Tugs & Sails festival, which will include exhibits about the Coast Guard.
“We have more than a full plate,” said Bob Ross, executive director of the state’s Office of Military Affairs. “Even though it is Connecticut's Coast Guard Summer, we have to be honest about the fact that the concentration of the Coast Guard is here in New London.”
And by the time Connecticut’s Coast Guard Summer begins, New London could be recognized by Congress as a Coast Guard City, a distinction bestowed upon communities that “have made special efforts to acknowledge the professional work of the Coast Guard men and women assigned to their area” and make “Coast Guard men and women and their families feel at home in their home away from home,” according to the service's community relations branch.
In August, the City Council endorsed the 40-page application, which detailed partnerships between the city and Coast Guard, and included letters of support from elected officials, business owners, community leaders and clergy.
New London’s application currently is pending, though city and state officials said they expect it to be approved in coming weeks.
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“It gives me a chance to do what I love, which is bake and raise money for this very important cause,” Berryman said.