By LISA CAPOBIANCO
Members of the community are getting ready to showcase everything they love about Bristol in the 54th annual Mum Parade, which takes place on Sept. 27.
The theme of this year’s Mum Festival is “What Do You Love About Bristol,” which will be reflected by the variety of hand-crafted floats by schools, churches, local civic groups and organizations participating in the parade. The parade will begin at 1:30 p.m. rain or shine.
Logistics and General Parade Chair Jack Ferraro said this year’s theme definitely ties into the city’s new All-Heart brand. The city has continued to serve as a sponsor of the parade.
“It’s a great theme,” said Ferraro, who has served as parade chair for the last four seasons. “It is most definitely a city of all-heart.”
Last year marked the largest parade on record, said Ferraro, adding the same will hold true this year.
This year, Tim Maynard and Maria Salice have been selected as Parade Master of Ceremonies. A Bristol resident for 51 years before moving to Cape Cod for work, Maynard was the owner of California Sound DJ for at least 30 years. His first connection with the Mum Festival took place in the 1970s when he volunteered to take pictures of the event’s festivities. Maynard then became the Mum Photographer, producing the Mum Slide Show for 50 years. After California Sound DJ emerged, Maynard provided sound and music for the festival, and has been doing so since 1985.
Lifelong Bristol resident Maria Salice has been a soloist in the annual OM show for the past 30 years. As a child, her first solo performances took place in the theater of the former Memorial Boulevard School during productions of “Melody Time.” Salice has been musical director of the Holiday Showcase of Stars for 11 years now, and is considered to be to have one of the best voices to ever come out of Bristol. Salice has passed on her talent to her 15-year-old son who has been singing since age five.
Meanwhile, Rick Muntean, general manager of the Bristol Blues baseball team has been selected as parade marshal. A baseball pitcher in college, Muntean has a degree in radio and television from Ohio University. BB, the new mascot of the Blues who is the saxophone-playing wolf in a blue suit, will accompany Muntean in the parade, along with
Although he felt shocked to be chosen as parade marshal, Muntean said he is excited to be a part of the Mum Festival for the first time. He looks forward to thanking the countless fans who attended the games at Muzzy Field, where they brought excitement and cheers for the Bristol Blues. By the end of June to the beginning of July, the attendance rate increased immensely, as crowds of over 2,000 people flocked to Muzzy to watch the Blues play ball. Muntean said he was thrilled to see the way the team responded with the fans and vice versa.
“People were so proud of this team,” said Muntean, adding how the ball park was even more filled during the last two games of the season. “We wanted to earn their respect, and we did it one fan at a time.”
Muntean said the Bristol Blues will return next season, and plans to stay here for a long time. Out of all the 13 different cities he has lived in U.S., Muntean said Bristol is the place he has seen the most people with a passion and love for baseball. Noting Bristol’s long and rich history of baseball, Muntean said he is thrilled at the way the community knows and talks about the sport.
“What a beautiful place to be,” said Muntean.
Ferraro said Muntean has done much for the community, promoting not only the baseball team, but also what is best about Bristol.
“It’s tremendous,” said Ferraro, adding how it was easy to choose Muntean as the parade marshal. “[Muntean] has been an outstanding influence for the community, and especially for the kids.”
Looking back on his childhood, Ferraro recalled how he and his family never missed the Mum Parade. After he graduated from high school, Ferraro began volunteering for the Mum Festival committee. Over the past couple of years, Ferraro said he wanted to bring back things from the past, including parade marshals, clowns, jugglers, cyclists and stilt walkers.
Last year’s parade featured stilt walkers, which were well received by the community, said Ferraro. He hopes to continue bringing back features that were part of the parade in previous years.
“Those are the kinds of things that bring out the community,” said Ferraro, adding that jugglers and clowns will return to this year’s parade.
Ferraro added that the committee hopes more veterans will participate in the parade.
“We used to have a fairly large military presence,” said Ferraro. “We want to make sure that we honor our military, and that’s really important to us.”
The Mum Parade will begin Sunday, Sept. 27, 1:30 p.m. on Race Street and will end at Bristol City Hall.
For more information, visit bristolmumfestival.org/mumfestival/default.asp.
By LISA CAPOBIANCO