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Trumbull Man Earns Honor As 69th Ringmaster Of Barnum Festival

2017 Barnum Festival ringmaster Terry O’Connor with his wife, Mary Ann, and son, Ryan. Photo Credit: Jodie Delach
Terry O’Connor of Trumbull, executive director of Cardinal Shehan Center and McGivney Community Center, was announced as the 69th ringmaster of the Barnum Festival. O'Connor is third from the left. Photo Credit: Contributed

TRUMBULL, Conn. -- Trumbull resident Terry O’Connor, 69, executive director of Cardinal Shehan Center and McGivney Community Center in Bridgeport, recently was named the 69th ringmaster of the 2017 Barnum Festival.

"The Barnum Festival is proud and honored to have Terry O'Connor as the 2017 ringmaster," said Frank Carroll, president of the festival’s board of directors. "I know he will be as big an asset to the Barnum Festival as he has been to the City of Bridgeport."

The P.T. Barnum Foundation Inc. trustees and the Barnum Festival Board of Directors made the announcement last month at an event at Aquarion Water Company’s offices on Main Street in Bridgeport.

“It’s an honor to be named ringmaster and follow in the footsteps of 68 other distinguished ringmasters, especially Herman Steinkraus, creator of the Barnum Festival and the president and board chairman of the Bridgeport Brass Company," O'Connor said. "The building the Cardinal Shehan Center has called home for over 50 years was also the home of Bridgeport Brass Co.”

O'Connor added that being named the 69th ringmaster was especially exciting for him because five past Shehan Center board members have also been ringmasters.

O’Connor began his professional career in the field of athletics, coaching basketball and having administrative positions on the high school, collegiate and professional levels. In 1992, he was named the executive director of Cardinal Shehan Center.

Regarded as a top fundraising professional in the Bridgeport area, O’Connor has raised more than $25 million since arriving at the Shehan Center.

In 2012, O’Connor took on the added responsibility of executive director of the McGivney Community Center. In the four years since joining McGivney, O’Connor has overseen the renovation of the gym and numerous other rooms.

Throughout his professional career, O’Connor has served the community by sitting on boards and volunteering his time. He has received numerous awards throughout the years for his community and fundraising work.

O’Connor and his wife, Mary Ann, raised two sons, Paul and Ryan, in Trumbull.

The 2017 Barnum Festival will kick off its many activities next May, with the Great Street Parade set for June 26.

The Barnum Festival was founded in 1948 as a way to build community spirit as well as to honor Bridgeport’s most famous resident, Phineas Taylor Barnum – world-renowned showman, businessman and community leader. P.T. Barnum was the founder of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

The Barnum Festival celebrates this great showman with its annual celebration. In true Barnum tradition, a Ringmaster is appointed each year to entertain everyone while also promoting the Greater Bridgeport region.

Click here for more details on the Barnum Festival.

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