A midsummer night and Shakespeare in the park in Shelton

Walter and Cheryl Gaffney, above, enjoy a picnic meal and some wine while waiting to watch the Valley Shakespeare Festival production of “Much Ado About Nothing” on Thursday, the opening night, at Shelton’s Veterans Memorial Park (the Riverwalk).

Their daughter, Megan Emery Gaffney, has one of the lead roles in the outdoor play.

Opening night attracted a large crowd, with people bringing blankets and lawn chairs as well as food and refreshments. The weather is supposed to be ideal for the two remaining shows as well, with low humidity and comfortable temperatures.

Performances continue Friday and Saturday, July 11 and 12, at 8 p.m. at the park in downtown Shelton. The park opens for picnicking at 6:30.

Admission is free, with a suggested $10 donation.

Jessica Recce of Shelton was among those venturing out to see the opening night show, arriving with friends.

“I’m excited to see the play,” said Recce, an English major at Marist College in New York. She said it would be nice to see the William Shakespeare comedy brought to life on stage, rather than just read it on a page.