About the Festival

The Barnum Festival was founded in 1948 as a way to build community spirit as well as to honor Bridgeport's most famous resident, Phineas Taylor Barnum ' world-renowned showman, businessman and community leader. P.T. Barnum was above all an entertainer; he celebrated hoaxes and founded the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

The Barnum Festival celebrates this great showman with our annual celebration from mid-May thru June and in true Barnum tradition, a Ringmaster is appointed each year to entertain us, while also promoting the Greater Bridgeport region.

The festival focuses on many of Barnum's imaginative concepts such as the Jenny Lind Concert, Champions on Parade, a Children's Wing Ding Parade, the Great Barnum Street Parade, and concludes with a spectacular fireworks display at Seaside Park.


The Festival is a celebration of people and 'communities united.'?? Come celebrate a great tradition with events throughout May and June, including the culmination of the festival with fireworks and a parade for the community.

The mission of the Barnum Festival is to preserve and promote the influence of P.T. Barnum — showman, philanthropist and entrepreneur, by creating economic development and education; driving visitors, developing entrepreneurs and civic leaders, and engaging the community’s young people and their families in fun and no-and-low-cost activities that span arts, culture and entertainment.

The Barnum Festival is a 501(c)3 nonprofit recognized by the IRS and accepts donations, both monetary and in-kind. The Festival produces arts, cultural and entertainment events for the benefit of the community at large.