Sunday’s skies were mostly overcast, with temperatures struggling to break out the 30-degree range, but New London still loves a parade.
Residents lined a parade route along Bank Street, State Street, and Washington Street, bundled up against the cold, as dozens of marchers passed by in the New London St. Patrick's Day Parade. Bands played on floats, dancers and motorcyclists showed off a few tricks, and participants handed out candy and information about their organizations.
Parade organizer Barbara Neff said more than 500 people took part in the parade, which ended with all marchers getting a meal at the Elks Lodge. Neff has organized the Sailfest event for several years, and said she found that easier to run than the parade since this was her first time putting such an event together.
“It’s just a lot of coordination,” she said. “My Sailfest committee is 40 strong. This is a brand new committee. We had maybe 10 people.”
Neff said factors that have to be considered in organizing a parade include factors such as arranging a variety of entertainment and making sure marchers are not placed behind vehicles emitting diesel fumes.
The new parade committee was organized after a dispute between the city administration and the New London Irish Parade over permit fees for the use of city services under an executive order by Mayor Daryl Finizio. Last week, the New London Irish Parade—which organized five St. Patrick’s Day processions—announced that it was dissolving its nonprofit corporation. Marie Friess-McSparran, president of the New London Irish Parade and a city councilor, marched in this year's parade alongisde other members of the City Council.
Neff said the New London St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee chose to do a shorter route, the same one used by the New London Irish Parade in 2011, to keep the fees in an affordable range. She said the total fee came to slightly under $6,000.
Did you take any photos or video at the parade? Add them to the gallery above.