20 Aug 2014
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Trumbull Day Commission Starts to Meet, Sets Tentative Fest Date

Trumbull's longstanding tradition, started in 1972 and cancelled in 2010, is in planning again. Serving alcohol at the festival is under discussion.

Trumbull Day Commission Starts to Meet, Sets Tentative Fest Date Trumbull Day Commission Starts to Meet, Sets Tentative Fest Date

Editor's note: Barbara Whetstone's title has been changed and the festival is planned for one day, not two. Patch regrets the errors.

Trumbull Day is back, tentatively.

As one of its first steps, the Trumbull Day Commission voted to set June 29 as the date for Trumbull Day, the festival started in 1972 that drew crowds from all over Connecticut at its height.

It is planned to include fireworks, food and rides.

After a festival held at the Westfield Trumbull Mall in 2011 and several cancelled concerts, the Trumbull Day Commission has been reactivated to restore the festival begun to celebrate Trumbull's 175th anniversary. Many people felt Trumbull Day could only be held at Hillcrest School.

According to Barbara Whetstone, who is co-managing Trumbull Day public relations, the first one attracted 10,000 people. In the following years, under First Selectman James Butler, it "grew by leaps and bounds," and was planned by many neighborhood groups and volunteers.

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The first festival included fireworks. The Fourth of July Fireworks were often launched at the Nichols Improvement Association field, organized independently by local residents.

"Actor Will Geer, a one-time Nichols resident, traveled from California each year just to see the fireworks. By the 1970s the large midway was introduced to Trumbull Day," according to the committee's meeting minutes.

Paid groups provided entertainment and the event drew from all over. "By the late 1970s crowds of over 35,000 were very common and Trumbull Day had become a major event in the area. In the 1980s Trumbull Day had exploded in popularity and the crowds often exceeded 40,000. As many as 100 volunteers year-round were required to plan, run and organize Trumbull Day," the minutes state.

In 1993, the Guinness Book of World Records gave Trumbull a nod for the largest saxophone band in history, assembled to honor President Bill Clinton.

The Trumbull Day Commission also established a food court with restaurants in the midway that year. By the late 1990s crowds exceeded 50,000 people for this event. Trumbull Day had become the largest single day event in Fairfield County.

But shrinking revenue and growing costs were cited in 2010 and Trumbull Day was not held at Hillcrest Middle School for the first time in its history.

Also, for the last eight years, Trumbull added concerts at Indian Ledge Park to the mix, but those were cancelled in 2011 and 2012 and town officials are re-evaluating if the town can afford to stage concerts. Successful acts included the Beach Boys and Train.

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