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The annual Barnum Festival is a seasonal celebration of the City of Bridgeport and its surrounding towns, including Monroe, Trumbull, Easton, Shelton, Stratford, and Fairfield. Dating back to 1948, the festival originated to help support local businesses and honor P.T. Barnum—a world-renowned showman and city leader. The Barnum Festival events span from late spring to early summer each year in an effort to build community spirit, foster philanthropy, and celebrate the many diverse cultures represented by residents. The festival culminates in a weekend-long Barnum Palooza that hosts parades, concerts, fireworks, and other family-friendly festivities.
Above all else, P.T. Barnum was an entertainer—he celebrated hoaxes and founded both the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus. In a nod to him, and in true Barnum tradition, a Ringmaster is appointed each year to head the Barnum Festival and help promote the Greater Bridgeport region.
With a strong focus on philanthropy, the Barnum Festival also strives to create economic development and education by driving visitors, developing entrepreneurs and civic leaders, and engaging the community’s youth and families.