Reminder–Scenic Seaside Park To Host Barnum Festival Parade Sunday

Barfest parade route
Aerial of Seaside Park parade route.

Barnum Festival planners are launching something different this year, transferring the Great Street Parade to Seaside Park whose land was donated by P.T. Barnum. The parade has had some different routes over the 70 years of its existence, but in recent years primarily traveling north on Park Avenue. This year it will be confined to the park on July 1 that includes a full day of festivities with parade, music, food trucks and fireworks capping the night at 9:15. The parade starts 11 a.m. Why the change? Cost factor. Police presence is a fortune. Also, Seaside Park is a spectacular venue. On a sunny Sunday it features the largest assemblage of people in the city.

According to festival organizers the parade will start at West Beach at the lighthouse end of the park and travel east to the Perry Memorial Arch on Park Avenue. Everyone can salute Mr. Barnum’s statue overlooking the waterfront.

While West Beach is permit parking only on that day, festival organizers and the city have identified areas of free parking along the eastern portion of the park as well as free parking on the UB campus lots. Organizers will direct parade spectators to free parking areas.

There is some community meowing about the change, but the reality is the parade crowds have thinned out over the the years. Police security costs have stretched the parade budget. This is also a way to introduce the Barnum Festival to a cross section of the city that utilizes the park.

From the festival Facebook page:

We close out the Festival season with a real showstopper–the annual Great Street Parade! Join us as a procession of firetrucks, bands, floats, clowns, performers, and community members travel around Bridgeport’s scenic Seaside Park.

Bring the whole family to celebrate and support the city of Bridgeport and surrounding communities.

Join us for a full day of fun and celebration of the city of Bridgeport and surrounding communities at the main event, BarnumPalooza! We’ll have food trucks, live music, and plenty of carnival rides for kids.

Any purchases made throughout the day will benefit Barnum Festival Activities and scholarships.

The festival launched in 1948, led by industrialist Herman Steinkraus, to celebrate the contributions of showman Barnum who made Bridgeport his home.



  1. *** The city could also cut some of the parade traffic by having bus shuttles at different locations like the blue-fish parking areas, and other available parking sites on the north, east & west areas of Bpt. Cutting down on the traffic would help first responders move about the festivities easier.***

  2. Why was this parade route ever changed in the first place? In 2004 the Barnum Festival Ringmaster Peter F. Hurst changed the route of the parade to this route but then the following year it was changed in not going south into Seaside Park. I questioned why the parade wasn’t going to Seaside Park and I was told because the large balloons couldn’t go under the train viaduct on Railroad Ave., suggested could turn on Railroad Ave and that would be end of the parade just for the balloons and the parade would still continue into Seaside Park, needless to say I got no answer. Bridgeport is the Park City and what better time to showoff Seaside Park than the Great Street Parade to Seaside Park whose land was donated by P.T. Barnum and where Barnum’s statue is located. Yes, the starting place has changed over the years but it always had Seaside Park at the end or the beginning of the Great Street Parade.

  3. Mixed feelings on this,I’m all for saving money, but I think the fabric of this parade is how it reaches the city as a whole, limiting to just seaside park is a mistake, a lot of the seniors and families aren’t going to go. Just my opinion.

  4. How are they missing the parade? We should be celebrating Seaside Park, and the importance of PT Barnum for the Barnum Festival Great Street Parade, remember, Barnum. There’s nothing in the North End that celebrates PT Barnum. The park is a great place for parade goers to visit the park after the parade, at the football stadium what do you do after the parade?

    1. Ron, I agree that Seaside is a beautiful park and should be utilized to its fullest,but IMO, having the parade there may Not be the best idea.The latest route, North to Park, to Capital, to Lincoln Blvd, was a very dense, populated are, families and seniors would walk out there houses and enjoy. Now they will have to find parking( which is really limited down there),carry chairs and possibly refreshments who knows how far etc.And as far as bussing people in,how will that work with all the lawn chairs etc people will have with them?.I mean, maybe I’m wrong,we’ll see I guess.

          1. But maybe Harvey you and Mojo are right and I took it the wrong because because of my lack of understanding history of families and seniors and forgot you know families and seniors hate the park,beach, ride food vendors, entertainment, not to mention all Bridgeport families and seniors live on upper Park Ave and Capital Ave to Lincoln Blvd. SMH

  5. *** For many whites, its easier to forget past dark evil events provided that they didn’t happen to you or yours, no? Well, maybe reading & understanding some past american history may help people in general recognize the possibilities of certain negative past events from either being disguised for what they were or attempts made in the future to repeat these events. History is not entirely understanding or recognizing of the plight & input of different ethic groups new to white america. Depending when & where different ethic groups arrived in america & if america was fighting a war @ the time would account on the amount & type of prejudice abuse one may encounter as new immigrants. But it is fair to say that the lighter your skin color along with caucasian type facial features, the easier it was to get by so to speak. As time passed in america, different ethic groups finally were able to settle down in the new world. Yet some were never able to settle in or allowed to like the rest. For 400+ years, blacks have been brought over in chains as slaves, beaten & sold like personal property to work for the white man as free laborers. Not allowed to use there real names, or learn how to read & write. Not allowed to use the same bathrooms, water-wells, stores or own property. Forced to walk or ride on the back of a truck or bus, etc… And any violation of anyone of these do’s & don’ts could get you beaten, or lynched! A civil war was fought behind the right to own slaves for free labor in the south & a U.S President killed aswell. Things like freedom, education, civil & human rights & the ability to vote, all the things white america has had & takes for granted. Blacks have had to be beaten, lynched,shot & put in jail, organize boycotts & protest marches, etc… just to get a piece of american freedom & justice that blacks worked, fought & died for. Yet even today at times treated like 2nd class citizens! But many white american’s today say that slavery was a long time ago & blacks need to get over it and move on instead of complaining! But have the jews moved on from the memories of the holocaust, no. When dark evil deeds of the past scar your mental & physical memories from generation to generation like the blacks have endured; its not easy to forget nor should you. You learn & recognize the history of the past so you & yours will never forget & so that evil does not repeat its self in the future. ***

    1. *** Correction, not 400+ as only slaves but also 2nd class citizens. *** So when celebrating the 4th of July & the freedom and independence it represents, remember the blood, sweat & tears it cost some more than others.***

    2. Mojo for many Black Africans and Latinos it’s just as ease to forget the dark past of history’s evil events. What about the history and the discovery of the new world in its total context regarding the indigenous people. What about the Black Africans who went out caught and capture other African and sold them to white European countries? Or the Blacks who owned other black in America? Or the White “indenture servants” brought over to the new world. Let’s not forget South of the of the Rio Grande. The Spanish Slaughtered the indigenous Indians which is why every country from Mexico to Argentina speaks some form of Spanish. Including the “Brazil” While we can debate the original color of the Hebrew Jews. What color were the Jews at the time of the Holocaust? So, when you say, “You learn & recognize the history of the past so you & yours will never forget & so that evil does not repeat its self in the future.” Remember regardless what Louis Farrakhan says Evil has not color, surely the Rwandan genocide was an evil event in human history. John 3:20

      Back on topic I think this is excellent Idea and should be permanent. The potent is for Barnum event can develop into a daylong festival extravaganza that promotes the city is awesome. The parade route should go all the way down Sound View Dr to the new power plant. (I’m still pissed off about that SPEG plant. The company and company in the long run is going to regret that decision, make my words) Events and actives are limitless, well to it potential. Shuttle buses are needed to shuttle people for the Arena parking garage, stuff like that, ending the day with firework. #possibilities

  6. The ever changing demographic landscape of our city has contributed to this dilemma. I think it’s a good dilemma and an opportunity for a pivot point for The Festival to reflect and celebrate our diversity

    It’s primary beneficiary over the two decades was the late Betty Pfriem. In a post-industrialist era, without Captains of Industry to underwrite a full blown Festival , consolidation is the only answer.

    Barnumpalooza will prevent the Festival from becoming a Barnumpaloser!

      1. I believe the shuttle could possibly work. Maybe the city can put temporary bleachers thruout the park which could help eliminate some of the lawn chairs

  7. Ethnic diversity is a trait or characteristic that can lead to intentional isolation and fragmentation or determined specialization and strength.
    But Economic nationalism is the winner trait that conquers all, wins wars and/or leads to global dominance.
    All armies have overkill. It’s our economy-both personal and national-that ensures our security / survival.
    All together now!

    1. When speaking of economies, it can’t be both personal and national that ensures the security and survival and that conquers all, because they are each traits and characteristics of their own intentional isolation. Personal (capitalize) and nationalism (Socialism) economics are like midichlorians and humans they work for and against each other for their own individual survival or else they would be over taken by their wing lurking in the back.

      Capitalism without Socialism leads to Fascism and Socialism without Capitalism leads to Communism. If Global dominance is what you seek than the traits and characteristics is not solely neither on personal and national economics nor nationalism, those bonds are not strong enough.

      If you seek survival than compassion, understanding are the traits and characteristics needed, for all nations and armies have won and lost wars.

  8. *** Upper Park Ave & Capital Ave. is not the entire parade route! Through-out the years, more & more minorities in Bpt. have moved further north in what was years ago middle-class areas. Where you had more Italian, Portuguese, or Irish families, etc. However being the first year of the change, hopefully the Barnum Festival will iron out the negatives and make it better for all who attend, no? ***

    1. Aren’t whites the minorities though? Other than the houses in front of the parade route who held 4th of July parties like my uncle or house off one of the side streets leading up to it, like where I grow up, off Park Ave. There’s really is no down side to any city resident, beside parking, and Sikorsky’s parking lot can take care of that. Parking is an easy fix to any major event held at the park. They have the dead space. It’s more attractive to not just Bridgeport residents but out of towner too. The Barnum Festival will not have to iron out any negatives impacts regarding the change of the parade route to Seaside Park. The weather will have more of a determination of success than any route will ever have. The success of Barnumpolooza will be based, well on the weather of course, but also on how well it’s organized, and what’s put into it. The potential route in the park is far greater than any city route, on every aspect of enjoyment including profitability.

  9. Everyone is ignoring the other issue – why was a police officer needed at every intersection along the parade route – Public Facilities sets up the horses blocking off the streets – if the police “donated” their time along the parade route the cost would go away – or using police cadets – NO – its all outside overtime increasing the cost of a civic event. I’m not disparaging the police but there might be more cost effective ways to do it. And I have “donated” my time and talent to many organizations in the City.

  10. I thought this posting was about a change in the parade route?

    As usual, it gets steered into a false narrative about race.

    The real issue is about the cost of police overtime.

    1. *** Blog postings can be about whats ever on your mine at the time, its not written in stone to blog about something that also needs to be remembered during the 4th of July festivities which is celebrating America’s freedom & the blood, sweat & tears that were shed by all to get it & keep it! Why are whites always so uncomfortable with anything that deals with race in America? ***

  11. Ok if the purpose is to save money, what is going to happen to the Puerto Rican Day Parade? Based on the article they still owe from last year but are tying to work it out.

    This is the problem with these venues, you can’t let people slide. The police showed up and did their service so it’s time to pay up. Like anything else you get the goods when you pay up.

    It’s things like this that hurts because you know someone is going to call someone else and say they will pay, just let them have the parade.

    There is a set price for the cops so pay up or hold the parade somewhere else.

    These things are one of the reasons the city is in the red.


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