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Terry O’Connor Named Barnum Festival Ringmaster

September 24th, 2016 · 14 Comments · Best of Bridgeport, News and Events

Ringmaster O'Connor

Pat and Frank J. Carroll, with 2017 Barnum Ringmaster Terry O’Connor and his wife Mary Ann O’Connor and Cindy and Mike Niedermeier at the ringmaster announcement at the Aquarion Water Company in Bridgeport, Conn. on Thursday, September 22, 2016. O’Connor of Trumbull, 69, is the Executive Director of Cardinal Shehan Center and McGivney Community Center and the 69th Ringmaster of the Barnum Festival.

From Jim Shay, CT Post:

Terry O’Connor, executive director of the Cardinal Shehan Center and McGivney Community Center, has been named the 2017 Ringmaster of the Barnum Festival.
[...]
“It’s an honor to be named ringmaster and follow in the footsteps of 68 other distinguished Ringmasters, especially Herman Steinkraus, creator of the Barnum Festival and the president and board chairman of the Bridgeport Brass Company,” said O’Connor. “The building the Cardinal Shehan Center has called home for over 50 years was also the home of Bridgeport Brass Company. Being named the 69th ringmaster is especially exciting for me because five past Shehan Center board members were also ringmasters, George Santa, Corty Phillips, Paul Miller, Mike Bisceglia and Mike Niedermeier, as well as longtime friend and supporter of the Shehan Center David D’Addario,” said O’Connor, who is 69 years old.


See the full story here.

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14 Comments so far ↓

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Another out-of-towner.

  • Ron Mackey

    Mr. Peter Hurst is the only black to serve as the Barnum Festival Ringmaster in the 69 Barnum Festival Ringmasters, one out of 69, but they can go out of town to named a Ringmaster but they can’t seem to find one in Bridgeport.

  • Frank Underwood

    Another old, crusty white man. Definitely representative of Connecticut’s Largest City.

  • Grin Ripper

    Betty Pfriem served as the Ringmaster in 1986. Yes, there have been many out-of-towners. However, most of them had strong roots to Bridgeport through their companies or civic service.

    One of the challenges is to find a person who is capable to basically self-fund their being the Ringmaster. You pretty much have to be on the hook to raise at least $65k through your network coupled with corporate and fundraising activities. No easy task in a city with a shrinking economic base.

    Pony up your nominees with $65k to $75k or STFU!

    • Ron Mackey

      So one of the challenges of selecting the Barnum Festival Ringmaster is to find a person who is capable to basically self-fund their being the Ringmaster. You pretty much have to be on the hook to raise at least $65k through your network coupled with corporate and fundraising activities. Are those requirements made known to the public and those who might to be involved or is this a roadblock to deny people?

  • Frank Underwood

    So you basically need to have white privilege?

    • Grin Ripper

      No, you basically have to go out and support a person who can keep the financially starved Festival in the black!

      How about the years of diversity in the Festival’s Royal Family? That ain’t all white, is it? It’s all about the Benjamins, to be perfectly Frank!

  • Frank Gyure

    I have always felt the Barnum Festival AND PT Barnum are an integral part of Bridgeport. It is a “diamond in the rough” and can bring all Bridgeporters together with something we can be proud of. I’ve always felt the festival is underutilized and under-promoted. I have felt this festival can become a huge draw from people within Bridgeport and outside of Bridgeport. Maybe it needs a new infusion of perspective. Of course, it needs money. But I always have felt PT Barnum and the Barnum Festival have huge potential and it is underutilized.

  • Jeff Kohut

    I just have the sense if Barnum were alive, he would make it a point to be on the road with the circus during The Festival. I believe he would have considered the Barnum Festival as just so much “humbug” promoted by ineffectual, self-serving, pseudo-businessmen and two-bit politicians.

  • John Kleps

    Grin Ripper, on the money, as always.

  • John Kleps

    This is a guy working every day in the city helping inner-city youth and he is being called an out-of-towner. Wow, go ask the kids at the Shehan Center what they think of this “out-of-towner.” You guys just need to complain about everything.

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