2016 Barnum Festival Royal Court Chosen
King, Queen, Prince and Princess named; will join 2016 Ringmaster Jason Julian in upcoming Festival events
(Bridgeport, CT, May 1, 2016) – Four area high school juniors were chosen Sunday as the new King, Queen, Prince and Princess of the 2016 Barnum Festival during the King & Queen Coronation Ball held at the Vazzy’s Four Seasons in Stratford. The Royal Court will play a key role in the 68th Barnum Festival, the annual salute to the life and achievements of P.T. Barnum — showman, entrepreneur and philanthropist, and former mayor of Bridgeport.
This year’s King is Michael Fedorko of Masuk High School in Monroe. Julia Astram of Milford and a junior at Foran was crowned Queen.
John Dytko of Derby High School and Kathryn Arena of Shelton High School were named Prince and Princess. The new Royal Family was chosen from a group of 28 candidates who were nominated from the public, private and parochial schools in the Greater Bridgeport and lower Naugatuck Valley area.
“P.T. Barnum prided himself in nurturing young people to the call of civic duty, entrepreneurship and helping neighbors,” said 2016 Barnum Festival Ringmaster Jason Julian, principle of Julian Enterprises, a real estate development firm based in Fairfield. “Each of these candidates are inspiring and we can look forward to hearing great things about each of them now and in the future. I am thrilled to have these four extremely accomplished students join my family – Tammy, my wife and my children, Madison and Logan, as the Festival Royal Family.”
“Regional diversity is one of the driving forces in the success of the competition,” says Barnum Festival Executive Director Elaine K. Ficarra. “P.T. Barnum and his talented discoveries performed in front of royalty so it’s in keeping with the Barnum tradition to showcase regional talent.”
The contestants were interviewed by a panel of judges who chose the winners based on their records of academic leadership, enthusiasm and social skills. The judges were Carmen Colon, executive director of Alpha Community Services, YMCA, Curtis Irby, vice president, financial services at People’s United Bank, Wendy Griffith, Bridgeport Hospital Employee of the Year, and Francisco Ribas, partner, Gannet Fleming.
The King and Queen competition includes the solicitation of schools in the Bridgeport region to provide one candidate for King and one candidate for Queen. Candidates must be from the Junior class (11th grade), scholastically in the upper 5th of their class, demonstrate solid leadership abilities, and develop alliances necessary to achieve goals, as well as support fellow students in their academic, non-academic, and/or social endeavors. The judges consider the participation of the candidate in their own school clubs and organizations as well as their participation in local community organizations. The extracurricular activities of the candidates are also considered, such as musical groups (bands, orchestra, choral groups, etc.) sports activities (teams, intramural, etc.) and other groups.