Trumbull public works director is 2023 Barnum Festival ringmaster

Photo of Amanda Cuda
Trumbull public works director George Estrada with First Selectmn Vicki Tesoro. Estrada was named the Barnum Festival Ringmaster for 2023.

Trumbull public works director George Estrada with First Selectmn Vicki Tesoro. Estrada was named the Barnum Festival Ringmaster for 2023.

Stuart Walls, Woodstock Studios / Contributed photo

TRUMBULL — George Estrada has had a lifelong love affair with the Barnum Festival.

Estrada, Trumbull’s public works director, said he grew up on North Avenue in Bridgeport and used to camp out on the street as a kid to watch the festival’s annual parade. As an adult, Estrada has been volunteering with the festival since 1992.

On Tuesday he was named ringmaster for the 2023 Barnum Festival.

“It’s really near and dear to me,” Estrada said of the festival.

The coming festival will mark the 75th Anniversary of the Barnum Festival, a seasonal celebration of Greater Bridgeport. The event debuted in 1948 and now includes weeks of events, including a fireworks display and the Great Street Parade.

The bulk of the events take place in spring and summer.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival went on hiatus for three years. It returned in 2022 with a partial slate of events, including the parade, fireworks and a car show. The 2023 Barnum Festival is expected to have a full schedule of events, according to organizers.

Estrada has been director of Trumbull public works since January 2020. Prior to that, he served as the vice president of facilities at the University of Bridgeport, and before that was director of public facilities for the City of Bridgeport.

He said he’s pleased to be a part of this next chapter in the festival, and that reviving it in this manner is true to the original spirit of the event.

Estrada said the festival in large part began as a way to revive people’s spirits in the wake of World War II. Today’s Bridgeport citizens are also in need of a boost, he said.

“We have been through a pandemic, and there’s so much anxiety (in today’s world),” he said. “We need a distraction where families can come together.”

For more about the Barnum Festival, visit www.barnumfestival.com.