BRISTOL - Home is where the heart is.
That is the motto for this year’s 56th annual Mum Festival and it was evident throughout the event.
Marketing and planning chairperson for the Mum Festival, Shannen Tack said the mum staff came up with the theme when thinking about what encompasses the Bristol community.
With Bristol native and former Miss Connecticut 2010 Brittany Decker returning for the weekend as the Mum Festival Grand Marshal - she currently lives and works in Birmingham, Alabama as a weekend anchor for NBC 13 - the festival really solidified its theme.
Although the festival initially began as a way to come out and see the fields of mums all in bloom for the fall season, it has now expanded to much more than that.
Last year the Mum Festival was revitalized as the Bristol Exchange Club and others took it over and continued to grow the event.
New this year is a kids zone area - called the Kids Depot - to keep young ones entertained all day with things like hay and pony rides.
In addition over 160 vendors all from local businesses, crafters, local producers, restaurants, food trucks, community organizations, nonprofits and museums were present.
Adults cooled off in the beer garden tent, while others sat at tables by the Community Outdoor Theater to listen to live music being played.
The four-day festival also features amusement rides, carnival games, an artists’ walk, car show, corn hole tournament and petting zoo.
People can still experience all the fun today as the festival concludes with the parade starting at 1:30 p.m.
Tiffany Lavoie and her boyfriend, Bruce Guilmette, both from Bristol, said they have been coming to the festival every year for as long as they can remember.
Guilmette, who brought his two daughters to join in on the tradition, said the festival is “nice to bring together the community.”
People not only from Bristol, but surrounding towns as well come out to enjoy the festivities.
For Kathryn Elliot of Southington, it was her first time at the festival. She came with her husband, David, who had grown up attending each year, and their daughter, Erica, who also experienced the fair for the first time Saturday.
“We like to hit different fairs,” Elliot said.
Compared to others her family has been to lately, Elliot and her daughter both agreed that the Mum Festival is organized and set up really well.
Last year Tack said they estimated 20,000 to 25,000 people made their way to the festival grounds over the course of the four days.
“Last year someone said ‘We don’t need to go to the Big E, we can just come here,’” said Tack. “It’s a lot closer to home, there’s so much to do. It’s a great community event.”
If You Go
What: Bristol Mum Festival
Where: 70 Memorial Blvd.
When: 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 24
Angie DeRosa can be reached at 860-801-5063 or firstname.lastname@example.org