Madison Mahoney

The Connecticut Folk Festival & Green Expo featured musical acts, food trucks and craft booths throughout the day Saturday in Hamden’s Edgerton Park.

The festival aims to provide performance opportunities for artists and to support social and civic issues in the local community, according to the organization’s website, which estimates the festival attracts 1,000 to 5,000 visitors annually. This weekend’s event marked the fifth year the festival was free to the public.

Since the festival’s founding in 1989, a number of notable folk singers have headlined the event, including Tom Paxton, Arlo Guthrie and Judy Collins. This year, University President Peter Salovey, who serves on the festival’s advisory board, performed with his band, the Professors of Bluegrass.

The Green Expo component of the festival began in 2005 and featured booths and exhibitions focused on sustainability and environmental conservation.

“We’ve found that the people at this festival are really receptive to the work we do,” said Chad Crocker, an employee of Earthlight Technologies, a Connecticut-based solar energy provider with a booth at the festival. “Most people we talk to here are pushing for green alternatives to oil.”

Other booths were run by groups like Connecticut Votes for Animals and the New Haven Bird Club, as well as vendors like Massaro Community Farm and American Hemp Co.

Karen Shapiro, a financial advisor with Progressive Asset Management, said her company has attended the festival for a number of years.

“We like to come to festivals with an environmental theme,” Shapiro said. “Our company works to invest finances in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, and the people festivals like this one attract tend to align with those values.”

Another vendor, Denise Dunham, said that she felt very welcomed at this year’s festival — the first she has attended. Her company, BlueCow Designs, sells illustrations of farm animals.

The festival is one of three folk festivals held annually in Connecticut. The others take place in Mystic and Milford in June and October, respectively. The Green Expo is the largest in the state, with more than 75 exhibitors.

The festival was sponsored in part by Yale, as well as Trader Joe’s and the Greater New Haven Green Fund.

Edgerton Park is a 25-acre public park on the border of Hamden and New Haven. The park was originally owned by Eli Whitney.

Madison Mahoney |