BRISTOL - In keeping with this year‚Äôs theme of ‚ÄúHome is Where the Heart Is,‚ÄĚ the Mum Festival Committee has named Bristol‚Äôs own Brittany Decker grand marshal of the 2017 festival.
Decker will cut the ribbon to open the festivities on Thursday, Sept. 21, at Memorial Boulevard Field, and will make special appearances throughout the weekend.
She will then lead the 56th annual Mum Festival Parade on Sunday, Sept. 24, beginning at 1:30 p.m. The parade is a highlight of the four-day festival weekend.
‚ÄúOn behalf of the all-volunteer Mum Festival Committee, we are so excited to welcome Brittany home to open the festivities and lead off the 2017 Mum Festival parade,‚ÄĚ said Jack Ferraro, Mum Festival chairman. ‚ÄúBrittany typifies what we mean when we say ‚ÄėHome is Where the Heart Is‚Äô and we are so honored that she will be a part of this year‚Äôs festival.‚ÄĚ
Raised in the city and a graduate of Bristol Eastern High School, Decker is currently pursuing her career as a news anchor in Birmingham, Ala. at WVTM NBC 13 news.
Prior to moving to the South, she worked as the morning anchor at WGGB ABC 40/Fox 6 and CBS 3 (Western Mass News) in Springfield, Mass., where she also reported out in the field and was a member of the First Warning Weather team. She started her television work at WTNH-TV and MyTV 9 in New Haven, where she won the 2011 ‚ÄúMyTV9 Star‚ÄĚ competition.
She was named Miss Connecticut 2010, and represented both Bristol and the state of Connecticut at the national Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas. Additionally, she served as host to Bristol‚Äôs Mum Festival in 2004 as Miss Chrysanthemum.
Locally, she was also involved with the United Way Youth Board, the Boys & Girls Club of Bristol Family Center as a member of the cast in the annual OM Show, and as well as many other service projects.
Decker is a graduate of Western New England University where she earned a bachelor‚Äôs degree in mass media communications. She recently completed courses at Mississippi State University for the broadcast meteorology program.
When she is not busy with the news, she enjoys music. In Western Massachusetts, she sang in an acoustic duo called Smith & Decker.
She has finished three full marathons and often pushes wheelchair athletes while running. She also has completed bicycle century rides, which are rides of 100 miles or more within 12 hours, to show support for fallen officers. For the past few years, she has traveled to Haiti with a team of doctors to run medical clinics in isolated villages in the country.
‚ÄúI am so honored to be part of this year‚Äôs Mum Festival,‚ÄĚ Decker said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs something that I grew up looking forward to each and every year with my family. I‚Äôm so very excited to see everyone in the city, both old friends and new, and to be part of all the festivities! I will always be proud to call Bristol my home.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúPlanning for this year‚Äôs Mum Festival is fully underway and this year promises to be bigger and better than ever,‚ÄĚ Ferraro said. ‚ÄúLook for more information to be released throughout the summer. And remember, ‚ÄėMum‚Äôs the Word!‚Äô‚ÄĚ
The festival schedule is as follows:
Thursday, Sept. 21, from 5 to 9 p.m., Art & Jazz Gala, food trucks, and live music night, with amusement rides and the midway opening at 6 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 22, from 5 to 10 p.m., food trucks, and live music night, with amusement rides and the midway opening at 6 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 23, from noon to 10 p.m., Mum Festival Day, with amusement rides and the midway opening at noon and wrist bands available.
Sunday, Sept. 24, from noon to 6 p.m., Mum Festival Day plus the parade at 1:30 p.m. The amusement rides and midway open at noon and will run until 7 p.m. with wrist bands available.
Vendor applications are now being accepted.
The Mum Festival & Parade is directed by the nonprofit Exchange Club of Bristol CT Inc., and is a City of Bristol sponsored event.
For more information on the 2017 Mum Festival & Parade, visit www.bristolmumfestival.com .
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.