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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Scene from Mum Festival Parade
Scene from the Mum Festival Parade

Mum Festival

Since 1962 this annual fall festival has been a time-honored community tradition, established by the chamber of commerce to focus attention on the positive aspects of the city of Bristol. The first festival featured a parade, a chrysanthemum ball, and the first Miss Bristol competition. The following year, the festival's name was changed to the Bristol Chrysanthemum Festival to celebrate the abundant chrysanthemum crop, for which the area is known as "Mum City, U.S.A."

The crowning of the Mum Queen (for ages 17 to 24) and Miss Mum (for teens 14 to 16) kicks off the festival. The two-week gala accentuates the arts, including theater, music, and dance, and athletics. Among the activities are live entertainment; fashion, art and auto shows; a food fest; and a "mumathon" run. Weekend festivities are held at three farms that include a Civil War re-enactment, train rides and hay rides. During the festival period, museums and other community facilities hold open house or provide reduced admission.

From late September through October, more than 80,000 plants bloom in the Bristol area. Many of these blooms were developed by Bristol Nurseries, where five to seven new varieties were introduced for many years until 1986. The nurseries' annual mums display attracted thousands of visitors annually, and was the inspiration for the theme of the "mum" festival.

Documentation comprises four color and three black-and-white snapshots, a section on the Mum Festival from the Hartford Courant, a 1997 Mum Festival program, a Mum Festival map, a brochure from the 1999 event, and a booklet on the Greater Bristol Chamber of Commerce.

Originally submitted by: Nancy Johnson, Representative (6th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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