Jennings Beach a popular spot no matter the season
Published 12:00 am, Friday, November 10, 2017
FAIRFIELD — Jennings Beach is popular throughout the year. But is it maybe too popular?
The Parks and Recreation Commission recently considered a request from First Selectman Mike Tetreau that they not approve any new events for the beach. Commission members decided that while they respect Tetreau’s position, should neighbors of the beach have specific concerns, they should bring them directly to the commission.
In the meantime, they said they will continue to consider and approve or deny requests on an individual basis. In fact, they recently approved a November polar plunge, which is a fundraiser for an Easton school PTA, and a Dog and Owner Parade and Costume Contest held last month.
One of the draws of Jennings Beach is its expansive parking lot.
Tetreau said he’s been asking the commission to limit new events at Jennings for several years, due to the fact that a number of the events cause increased traffic, and the road races mean closed streets.
“You try to balance what we ask of each neighborhood,” Tetreau said. “The beach area is doing more than their fair share.”
He said he wasn’t asking that existing events be moved, but the commission be “cautious” of adding new ones.
“The commission wants to consider all events, so I agreed to keep bringing them forward as requested,” Recreation Director Anthony Calabrese said. He said the issue came up during a conversation between him and Tetreau about the number of events on the beach side of town. “I am in agreement that there are far more events in that area of town, so I would like to see new events take place in other parts of town.”
The town does not charge a usage fee to events that are fundraisers at the beach.
During the summer months, the only events held at Jennings are the annual fireworks display, as well as family dance and movie nights, and the annual half-marathon and 5K race in June. The most popular months for events at Jennings are are September, with six different events, and October, with seven.
The beach is a particular favorite for groups holding walks or runs. Walks or runs held at Jennings this year include the National MS Walk, Walk with Harold, the Cancer Care Walk for Hope, and the Only You Foundation 5K It was also the starting point for Bike the Beach and the site of the PAL Bicycle Safety Rodeo.
The McKinley Fair is held at Jennings Beach, and this year the property also played host to the Friends of the Fairfield Library Food Truck Festival, a Mid-Autumn Cultural Festival, and the Kennedy Center Autism Benefit. There was a polar plunge in January for Save the Children, and the Helen Keller School PTA Plunge coming up later this month.
Dogs are also allowed off-leash at Jennings Beach during the off season.
“There are events there almost every weekend until it gets too cold for people to be outside,” Calabrese said. “I am trying to get additional events in other parts of town — Lake Mohegan, Black Rock Turnpike, Southport, etc.”