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04/13/2024 07:34 AM

Celebrating Moms, Dads, and 40 Years of the Branford Festival

As part of its 40th anniversary year, the Branford Festival invites the community to help celebrate moms and dads, or make a contribution to help the all-volunteer group to raise its $40,000 fundraising goal. The 40th annual Branford Festival will fill the Branford Green Friday, June 14 through Sunday, June 16. Image courtesy Branford Festival

Community members of all ages can get involved now to help celebrate moms, dads, and 40 years of the Branford Festival. Kids can enter one or both festival essay contests celebrating moms and dads; and community members are always welcome to make a donation at any time to support this beloved Branford tradition.

The 40th annual Branford Festival will fill the Branford Green this year for three days beginning Friday, June 14 through Sunday, June 16. Organized entirely by tireless community volunteers, each year, the Branford Festival depends on contributions from individuals, businesses and sponsors to continue to put on Branford’s largest community event.

It in its 40th anniversary year of 2024, Branford Festival Board president Maria Schilder and president-elect Colin Sheehan are leading the effort to mark the milestone by raising $40,000 to keep the festival going well into the future. Donations are welcome online at The festival website is also packed with information about this year’s Branford Festival, such as the exciting live music lineup including headliners LoVeSeXy Tribute to Prince; and Live & Let Die: A Tribute to Paul McCartney.

For 40 years, the Branford Festival has also been synonymous with Father’s Day weekend. This year, Branford moms over the years will also be celebrated, with the Branford Festival’s Mother’s Day campaign, “Moms of the Decades.” Branford students are also encouraged not to miss their opportunity to help the ‘fest celebrate its annual “Father of the Year” by submitting a essay about their father or father figure. Entry details and recognition awards for both programs appear below.

Moms of the Decades

Submissions celebrating moms of all ages welcome, from new moms to great-grandmothers. Share what makes your Branford mom or mother figure special, and how they have impacted the lives of others. Photos are encouraged. The Branford Festival will select 40 “Moms of the Decades” and their loved ones to be honored at a special event on Thursday, May 2 at Thimble Island Brewing Company.

Submissions are being accepted now through April 26 and may be made to or email

Father of the Year

Branford students in kindergarten through grade 8 have the opportunity to write an essay about why their father or father figure should be recognized as the Branford Festival‘s Father of the Year. The winning essay will be announced on the Main Stage on Saturday, June 15, at the Branford Festival.

The essayist and Father of the Year selected for this year’s honor will be the recipients of a children’s bicycle and an adult bicycle, courtesy of Branford Community Foundation and Zane’s Cycles; dinner at Lenny’s Indian Head Inn; an adult watch from Branford Jewelers; a family photo session with Tricia Bohan Photography; and a Branford Festival T-shirt for the student essayist and their Father of the Year.

The contest rules allow for essays of no more than 500 words written by Branford residents who are students in kindergarten through grade 8, with the child’s name, address, school, grade and a contact phone number included. Completed essays are being accepted now through June 1 and may be dropped off at the James Blackstone Memorial Library, given to a Branford Public Schools teacher, or emailed to