BRISTOL – On Wednesday, September 13th, Council Woman for the 2nd District, Jodi Zils Gagne announced on her City Council Facebook page, that the Battle of the Bell will continue it’s tradition at Muzzy Field. In her post, it read:
“As many may know, I raised the issue last year at the Park Board meeting, asking that the Turkey Game continue to be played at Muzzy Field, even though the high schools built two new beautiful fields. I wanted the City to respect the tradition of this cross-town rivalry and celebrate where the whole City can come together. I have received word and it is official. The Turkey Game between Eastern and Central will be at Muzzy Field this year! Can’t wait to attend this game!!”
Last year, around this time, there was talk that the traditional Thanksgiving game would begin to alternate between Bristol Central and Bristol Eastern High Schools because of the new synthetic fields that the City installed just over a year ago. Zils Gagne brought this matter to the attention of the Park Board and started the discussion before it was too late and decisions were made final without public knowledge. This talk stirred up controversy throughout the City which ended up being a topic of discussion at a monthly Park Board meeting on September 21, 2016, in which students voiced their opinions about continuing the annual tradition at the historic Muzzy Field. Student Connor Staubley stated that, “It is a special feeling to play on the field, knowing all the tradition behind it. It’s not only a special moment to play on the field for that one game, it is an event that brings the town together to watch the Battle of the Bell.”
Some of the arguments for not having the game at the high schools were that the fields are not handicap accessible, no concessions, there are not enough seats to hold the typical Thanksgiving Day crowd, no bathroom facilities to accommodate the crowd, etc.
The Park Board voted and it passed to continue the Thanksgiving tradition at Muzzy Field. The Park Board agreed to continue to fund the switching over of the field in order to play for the Battle of the Bell each year at Muzzy. This left it up to the Board of Education to make a decision on whether to have it at the high schools or keep it at Muzzy. Bristol Board of Education member, Jennifer Dube confirmed to Zils Gagne that this year’s game will be at Muzzy Field.