Malloy, Wyman help launch celebration of state, city’s maritime connections
New London — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman joined other state and local officials Thursday at a Fort Trumbull State Park ceremony marking the start of the 6th Annual Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival, which will continue through Sunday.
The USS Lassen, a guided-missile destroyer, provided the backdrop as a series of speakers stepped to a podium in sweltering heat. The ship, docked at Pier 7, arrived at 8 a.m., having cruised from its homeport in Jacksonville, Fla.
Nearly a dozen other Coast Guard ships, merchant marine vessels and an array of schooners were to begin arriving at downtown piers in preparation for a Parade of Ships along the waterfront, starting at 11 a.m. Friday.
Mayor Michael Passero said it was fitting that New London host the annual celebration of the state’s maritime history, and hailed Malloy’s support of the event and New London, in general, during his two terms as governor.
“The two of you have graced this city,” Passero said, addressing Malloy and Wyman, whom he said have visited the city more frequently than their predecessors. Neither is seeking re-election.
“You really need a residence in New London,” Passero said.
Malloy said that when he took office in 2010, New London “hadn’t gotten a fair shake in a long time,” a circumstance he said he’s sought to rectify through the state’s commitment to reviving the city as a commercial port.
“New London’s on the rise,” he said.
Navy Cmdr. Ryan Ventresca, commanding officer of the Lassen, said the ship’s 315-member crew was honored to participate in the festival.
All of the festival ships, including the Lassen, will be available for free tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Adults seeking to tour the Lassen will be required to provide a photo ID.