Focusing on parade, club ponders taking on lead for Mum Fest

By LISA CAPOBIANCO
STAFF WRITER
While the Bristol Exchange Club will continue producing the Mum Parade, the discussion has started on the possibility of continuing the Mum Festival events.
Last week, the Mum Festival Committee announced that it will no longer continue organizing the annual tradition, but the Bristol Exchange Club will continue the Mum Parade, as it has for over 50 years.
During a meeting with Mayor Ken Cockayne and executive officers of the Mum Festival Committee, the Exchange Club also agreed to look into the possibility of continuing the Mum Festival events. The Exchange Club’s Board of Directors planned to meet this week to discuss what role, if any, the club would play in the Mum Festival.
Exchange Club President Jack Ferraro posted an announcement on the Exchange Club’s Facebook page, stating that the Mum Parade is a “huge undertaking” that involves planning at the end of January, and no decisions have been made yet on taking on the festival events.
“The festival events are also a major undertaking, and there are significant costs involved which takes some major fund raising efforts,” stated Ferraro. “The Exchange Club will be meeting, and will discuss all options, including partnering with other organizations (like the Chamber of Commerce) to come up with a solid plan, especially one that sustains it going forward.”
Although the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce has not released any information on its possible involvement in the Mum Festival, Branding and Marketing Manager Mark Walerysiak said they are looking into different ideas.
“There is a lot of time and effort that goes behind it,” said Walerysiak. “In any case, it’s going to be important to preserve at least aspects of the actual festival itself. I think it should be honored in any form that it evolves into.”
Meanwhile, the Bristol Exchange Club is excited to see the Mum Parade continue in its 55th year, as the annual tradition will continue receiving support from the city through a grant. The club also will receive any financial contributions that the Mum Festival Committee has left over for the parade. Letters will be sent out in February to different local organizations that may be interested in participating.
“We have been involved for such a long time,” said Ferraro, adding that the Exchange Club also will have to raise funds for the parade. “The parade is woven into the fabric of our community.”
Cockayne has expressed his support for the sustainability of the Mum Parade and the possibility of the Exchange Club taking over the festival events. Cockayne said during his meeting with members of the Exchange Club and the Mum Festival Committee, they discussed different ideas to continue a festival on the Memorial Boulevard.
“It’s great to see the Exchange Club step up,” said Cockayne. “They have my commitment as mayor that the city will help in any way it can.”
Anyone who is interested in getting involved with the Mum Parade and the festival can reach out to the Bristol Exchange Club. For updates on the Mum Festival, visit the Exchange Club’s Facebook page.
Comments? Email lcapobianco@BristolObserver.com.