BRISTOL â€“ Recognizing 60 years of history and celebrating Bristolâ€™s mum-cultivating heritage, the Mum Festival dominated Memorial Boulevard and the lands surrounding the Bristol Arts and Innovation Magnet School over the weekend with music, games, rides, art and more in the name of community spirit.
Jack Ferraro, Mum Festival Committee Chair, said despite a cooler Friday evening, he had received positive receptions from vendors and attributed part of the turnout of area residents to the eveningâ€™s entertainment with headline band Darik & The Funbags as well as a festival first, a laser light show.
â€śIt was a fantastic kickoff to the event,â€ť he said. â€śIt was probably one of the better Friday nights weâ€™ve had. I donâ€™t know if itâ€™s because itâ€™s post-pandemic or whatever. Weâ€™ll take it.â€ť
Saturdayâ€™s Mum Festival activities were covered in sunshine.Â
â€śWe have some great entertainment and we pull out all the stops,â€ť said Ferraro. Soul Sound Revue served as Saturday eveningâ€™s headline entertainment.
He noted the festival had looked to expand its amusement ride presence to also account for older enthusiasts as well as youth.
â€śIâ€™ve been exploring for the last few hours,â€ť said Mum Festival Grand Marshal Taylor Kinzler, NBC Connecticutâ€™s CT Live! host, at the festival Saturday. â€śConnecticut does festival season really well. This feels large but intimate, especially when you can walk by a lot of the tents. I feel like I can really interact with people without it being overwhelming.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m blown away by the amount of small businesses here and Iâ€™ve already set up some stories with some of the bakeries and food vendors,â€ť she continued. â€śItâ€™s just been a great way to get to see old friends but also new faces as well.â€ť
Kinzler said she was honored to get the opportunity to be part of the Mum Festival parade and it was her first time attending the event.
Bristol Historical Society member and Mum Memories exhibitor Tom Dickau was present to walk area residents and visitors through the history of the iconic Bristol event along with a revolving visual presentation of the celebrationâ€™s history, organized by Ronald Tessman.
â€śPeople are really interested in the Mum Festival. Theyâ€™re asking a lot about the history and some of the people from out of town are even asking where the mum fields were located,â€ť he said. â€śItâ€™s been a good venture for the historical society and weâ€™re happy to do it.â€ť
Married couple Jacinta Ruel and Archie Ruel said theyâ€™ve been attending the Mum Festival for around 50 years and had missed only two festivals since they started coming due to Archieâ€™s time serving as a marine.
â€śI just love it,â€ť said Archie on Saturday. â€śToday, weâ€™ve been here all day long and itâ€™s been a fabulous afternoon. Itâ€™s well worth it.â€ť
Jacinta said a highlight of Mum Festival for her was shopping among the various vendors.
â€śI got two Christmas presents,â€ť she said. â€śI would not find those anywhere else because those are unique. We also enjoy the music.â€ť