Barnum Festival announces Barnum Festival Royal Court

Four area high school juniors were chosen recently as the new King, Queen, Prince, and Princess of the 2015 Barnum Festival during the King and Queen Coronation Ball held at the Bridgeport Holiday Inn. The Royal Court will play a key role in the 67th Barnum Festival, the annual salute to the life and achievements of P.T. Barnum — showman, entrepreneur and philanthropist, and former mayor of Bridgeport.

The King and Queen competition is sponsored by Bridgeport Hospital. A donation from the Ernest and Joan Trefz Foundation will provide scholarships to the Royal Court.

This year’s King is Matthew Winkler of Masuk High School in Monroe. Breiana Campbell of Bridgeport, a junior at Notre Dame High School, was crowned Queen.

Anthony Gonzalez of Derby High School and Victoria Fatovic of Bunnell High School in Stratford were named Prince and Princess. The new Royal Family was chosen from a group of 34 candidates who were nominated from the public, private and parochial schools in the Greater Bridgeport and lower Naugatuck Valley area.

“P.T. Barnum prided himself in nurturing young people to the call of civic duty, entrepreneurship and helping neighbors,” said 2015 Barnum Festival Ringmaster Fred Hall, vice president and general manager of the Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamboat Co. “Each of these candidates are inspiring and we can look forward to hearing great things about each of them now and in the future.”

“Regional diversity is one of the driving forces in the success of the competition,” said Barnum Festival Executive Director Elaine Ficarra. “P.T. Barnum and his talented discoveries performed in front of royalty, so it’s in keeping with the Barnum tradition to showcase regional talent.”

The contestants were interviewed by a panel of judges who chose the winners based on their records of academic leadership, enthusiasm and social skills. The judges were Carmen Colon, executive director of Alpha Community Services, YMCA, local attorney Dennis Bradley, David Weber, a vice president at People’s United Bank, and Shawna Hall, a critical care nurse at Bridgeport Hospital. Barnum was one of the founders of Bridgeport Hospital.

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