The reloaded 2016 Mum Festival powered by Radio 104.1 thrilled audiences and exploded on social media as the re-visioned event drew rave reviews that harkened back to the glory days when thousands from all over Connecticut and New England would descend on Bristol. This year, under new leadership the Festival returned with a vengeance and may have even broken all-time weekend attendance records.
According to a press release, estimates from Mum Squad event organizers, made up of Bristol Exchange Club and Bristol All Heart volunteers, are tabbing the 4-day festival at approximately 700 attendees on Thursday for opening night, 2,000 to 3,000 visitors Friday, over 20,000 Saturday for major festivities, and another 10,000-15,000 at the Festival Sunday with another 15,000 on the parade route.
“It was overwhelming,” said Festival Chair Mark Walerysiak Jr. “To think we drew 40 or 50 thousand people to Bristol is surreal. We knew it would be good based on the camaraderie of our group and how wonderfully things were coming together, but we were blown away at the response. We want to thank all the many visitors for making the 2016 Mum Fest one to remember! We hope everyone had fun”
Vendor Chair & Festival Co-Chair Andrea “Andy” Adams and Mum Squad Vendor Subcommittee members were instrumental in recruiting the over 130+ vendors to the festival.
“The vendors were extremely complimentary saying this was one of the best run festivals they’ve ever been to, and they’ve been all over,” said Adams. “We were told to be very proud with what we pulled off. We had food vendors running out of food, many vendors telling us they had one of their biggest days ever. It was just incredible. We even have vendors already offering us money for next year.”
It was the perfect storm of great weather and appealing programming including tremendous bands with 20+ hours of live music headlined by local acts on Thursday and Friday and Saturday by the Balkun Brothers and The Zoo, and Sunday with Jamie Kent, plus a weekend of over 130 vendors, food trucks, an adult beverage garden, Car Show, Arts Walk, children’s programs including a massive Touch-a-Vehicle and carnival.
“This thing was over the top,” said Parade Chair & Festival Co-Chair Jack Ferraro. “I can’t remember the last :me seeing the festival crowds this large and parade route that packed. It was like the 1970s and 80s. The activities were wide-ranging and appealed to everyone and UConn’s Jonathan the Husky, Cheerleaders and Marching Band brought in tons of families and smiles from Husky fans. It was a great, great weekend for visitors at the Mum Fest and Parade, and for the City of Bristol.”
To pull off the epic 4-day fall event like no other, there was tremendous community support. With that, there is a long list of volunteers, individuals, sponsors, and partners to thank for their hard work and support of this year’s reloaded 2016 Mum Festival.
“People really don’t understand just how much work it is,” said Walerysiak. “We were working 15 hour days for weeks on end. Our significant others didn’t even know who we were anymore. It’s a consuming thing. My hearjelt thanks goes to all those on the Squad who were so committied to making this the success it was. In the end there are no individual titles, only team, and all credit goes to these wonderful people. I applaud their drive to give Bristol the best darn Mum Fest & Parade we could have imagined, and they pulled it off with flying colors. ”
“A lot to be proud of,” added Ferraro. “This is what community is all about. The Greater Bristol Exchange Club is thankful for so many dedicated and talented members. Special thanks to the Bristol Chamber of Commerce and the Bristol All Heart program for partnering with us to make this the best Mum Festival & Parade in the history of the event. A shout out to the City for all their support. It truly placed our City on the map as a destination for years to come.
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