Stratford News Stratford Festival designated a national historic event SHARE ON: Casey Kenny, staff Wednesday, Jun. 12th, 2019 Stratford Festival designated a national historic event. (Jamie Cottle, MyStratfordNow.com Staff). The Stratford Festival can now call itself a national historic event. It comes after the federal government designated the event as such with a ceremony taking place on Tuesday where a plaque was unveiled that features the designation. The ceremony took place on what would have been Stratford Festival founder Tom Patterson’s 99th birthday. Stratford Festival Executive Director Anita Gaffney says the plaque is a fitting tribute to the festival. “It will be something that the hundreds of people who walk through our gardens will be able to look at it and reflect on all that the Stratford Festival means to the community and this country and to artists.” The Stratford Festival started in 1953 as a six-week event.