Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Saint Pat Leases the Carroll Building

The last time we had a parade in downtown Norwich was for Winterfest and look at the snow and cold around us. Now I’m not suggesting cause and effect but I mention that because Norwich’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is this Sunday and I’m concerned we might have large numbers of very short bearded men with pots of gold and shillelaghs that we won’t be able to get rid of until Memorial Day. It’s a risk I’m willing to take, but I wanted you to know the possibility is out there.

Weather permitting (a phrase we’ve used almost every day for the last seven weeks or so), the Norwich Saint Patrick's Day Parade steps off at one from Ferry Street, makes its way around Franklin Square and up Franklin Street and then uses Willow Street to march to Chestnut and then, in turn, Broadway before making a left at the Wauregan onto Main Street and finishing up at City Landing.

Here’s the website, complete with a printable map of the entire route and a listing of many of the other activities going on in and around the parade itself. Last year’s parade was a great success especially as an inaugural event, not just in terms of marchers but also for cosa a chur ar an tsráid (putting feet on the street) across downtown.

Think of the Parade as another reason to stop and visit somewhere far too many of us too often simply drive through on our way to someplace else sometimes complaining how ‘there’s never anything to do in Norwich.’ Which, I agree, can be true except when it’s not, such as this Sunday.

I was happily surprised last year by the number of people I met who do not live in Norwich but heard about the parade and the family-oriented crafts festival afterwards together with authentic food and beverages (both adult and unadulterated) who decided to try it on for size and were very pleased that they had come.      

Everyone is welcome to march, or mush depending on how much (more) snow we’ve had by Sunday and it’s really more of a brisk walk than a march in terms of distance-so you can smile and wave without breaking a sweat.  And you won’t be alone.

Others scheduled to march include all/some/part of the Norwich City Council and the Mayor, members of the Norwich Police Department and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Police, joined by the Yantic Fire Department, staff of the Harp and Dragon Pub, New London Currach Rowers, as well as the New London Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Fields Memorial School Marching Band, staffers from American Ambulance and Macara Vehicle Services, Connecticut Tigers and the New Haven Police Emerald Society.

When Irish Eyes are Smiling, let’s hope they brighten and warm up Sunday afternoon enough to allow both the wearing of the green and the marching of the feet. And though it’s technically early, it’s right on time for Sunday: Beannachtam na Feile Padraig "Happy St. Patrick's Day!"
-bill kenny

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