On March 10, the Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Parade Committee will stage its 57th celebration of their Irish‑American heritage. The centerpiece of this annual commemoration is the St. Patrick's Day Parade led by Grand Marshal, Joseph Michael Lynch.
Lynch, a Branford resident and last year’s Parade Chairman, carries on a proud family tradition and establishes a new historical first for the parade – being the first Grand Marshal in the parade's history to bear a father-son relationship. His dad, the late Michael V. Lynch, formerly the Registrar of Vital Statistics for the City of New Haven, led the 1982 parade as Grand Marshal. Additionally, his aunt, Eileen Sullivan Donadio, was the parade’s Grand Marshal in 2004.
"This year’s parade holds an extra special meaning for me as the 2013 Grand Marshal," said Lynch. "Not only do I share the tradition with my father and aunt as Grand Marshals of the parade, but March 10 is also my mother's birthday. You couldn't have planned this better if you tried."
Lynch has been a member of the parade committee since 2002 and is responsible for much of its technical and social media advancement in the past several years.
Once again parade organizers expect over 300,000 spectators, making it the largest single-day spectator event in the state. As the sixth-oldest parade in the nation, its fame was recognized by the Library of Congress in 1999. This keepsake of New Haven’s Irish community became a national keepsake when the Library of Congress selected the Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade as an outstanding example of American folk life. The Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade is sponsored by The Associated Irish Societies consisting of the Knights of St. Patrick, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the West Haven Irish American Club, and the New Haven Gaelic Football and Hurling Club.
First-time Parade Coordinator, Briana Conway, said she was honored to have been selected by the parade executive board to continue the efforts of parade committee volunteers who have served in the position before her.
“Every March, with the promise of spring lingering in the air, the St. Patrick’s Day parade brings the entire community together in joy and celebration. This year’s parade of 3,000 participants will entertain with a variety of family-pleasing attractions," said Conway. "The 2013 parade will feature colorful bagpipers, fifes and drums corps, Irish dancers, motorized cars, and clowns along with introducing the official Parade Queen Fiona Stewart and her Honor Attendant, Kate Thompson, to the delight of adults and children alike.”
The parade starts at 1:30 p.m. and a two-hour live broadcast will begin on the FOX television sister station, WCCT-TV at 2 pm. The parade will be rebroadcasted on the same station on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, at 2 p.m. Parade organizers have been working since late summer to ensure a well-organized event. Every year parade committee members are outfitted in the official attire of the day, black top hat, formal morning suit, blackthorn stick, and tri-color sash. This year parade committee members will wear a green and white ribbon on their lapel in memory and support of Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Spectators can watch the parade along the parade route from Chapel to Church Streets ending at Grove and Orange Streets. The corner of Church and Chapel Streets will be named “John A. Quinn Boulevard” for the day in recognition of Quinn’s long association with the parade committee. He was one of the early organizers at the time of the rebirth of the parade in 1955. He served as the parade committee's public relations director for 12 years as well as a committee member for many more years! For over 30 years, he was the editor of the popular column, Elm City Clarion, in the New Haven Register until his death in 2008.
For more information, such as parade maps, city information, parking sites and parade orders, visit the official parade website at www.stpatricksdayparade.org and click on "parade day."
Information courtesy of St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee