The Norwalk Seaport Association was founded in 1978 by a group of local citizens who had the vision to revitalize South Norwalk and preserve Norwalk’s maritime heritage. The first Oyster Festival was planned to increase awareness of Norwalk harbor and as a fundraiser for the new organization. The Association received IRS 501(C) (3) status in March 1980.
The Seaport became the catalyst in the drive for a maritime center, now the Maritime Aquarium of Norwalk, which sparked the resurgence in South Norwalk that continues to this day. The Norwalk Seaport Association is a founding member of the Maritime Aquarium and has a seat on its Board of Directors.
With the goal of building a maritime center accomplished, the Norwalk Seaport Association continued to fulfill its mission through the purchase of the Sheffield Island Lighthouse and Keeper’s Cottage in 1986. The Lighthouse and Cottage were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.
The annual Oyster Festival, sponsored by the Norwalk Seaport Association, is an integral part of the culture of Norwalk, has evolved into a community service event, where over $200,000 is raised by various community groups to be distributed throughout the region in fulfillment of their missions.