To know 2013 Barnum Festival Ringmaster John Stafstrom is to know someone who enjoys the good life. And it was a note he sounded as he donned the signature ringmaster’s red jacket sounding an enthusiastic theme about the city’s future and his year leading the 65th annual salute to P.T. Barnum, the 19th-century mayor, showman and industrial revolution leader who donated Seaside Park to the city and developed large tracts of land for newly arriving immigrants. Stafstrom was introduced Thursday evening at the downtown headquarters of Aquarion where Barnum served as president.
Stafstrom, the former Democratic Town Chair, brings to the table as ringmaster a cadre of political, governmental and business contacts from around the state to infuse excitement into a multi-month celebration with city neighborhoods and suburban neighbors. Stafstrom didn’t waste any time echoing his theme of future and fun. “This is one ringmaster’s ball you will not want to miss.”
Several former ringmasters, area business leaders, Mayor Bill Finch and Stafstrom’s spouse Dennis Murphy, deputy commissioner of the State Department of Labor, attended the announcement. Stafstrom background below provided by the festival:
John F. Stafstrom, Jr., a partner in the Bridgeport office of Pullman & Comley, LLC and longtime Bridgeport resident, was selected today by the Board of Directors of the Barnum Festival as the 2013 Ringmaster of the annual celebration.
Mr. Stafstrom was selected as the 65th Ringmaster of the organization, which was created in 1948 to commemorate the life and achievements of P.T. Barnum, world famous entrepreneur and former mayor of Bridgeport. Over the years, a veritable “who’s who” of regional and community leaders have held the position; Mr. Stafstrom succeeds 2012 Ringmaster Frank J. Carroll, International Vice President of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and 2011 Ringmaster Armando Goncalves, regional president of People’s United Bank.
“Both in his work as an attorney, and in his involvement in the community, John has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to Bridgeport and the local region,” said Festival President Ken Maloney. “We know he will bring a real energy and vitality to the ringmaster role as we celebrate the Barnum Festival’s 65th year.”
Mr. Stafstrom has been an attorney with Pullman & Comley LLC since 1981. He chairs the firm’s Public Finance Department, and has been involved in some of the city and state’s most exciting development projects, including Steel Point in Bridgeport; HarborPoint in Stamford; the new Jackson Laboratories facility at UConn Health Center and the Connecticut Airport Authority. In addition, he is a recognized leader in numerous community and civic activities. He is the former chair of the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee, and from 1987 through 1994, he served on the Bridgeport City Council, including serving as Chairman of the Budget and Appropriations Committee.
Mr. Stafstrom was a founder of Career Resources, Inc., a program that provides job placement assistance and career services to individuals on public assistance, returning veterans, and others in need. He is a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council and is a former trustee of Bridgeport’s Discovery Museum. Mr. Stafstrom serves on the National Leadership Council of Lambda Legal, a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.