The New Haven Saint Patrick’s Day Parade comes home to News 8

- FILE - The Greater New Haven Saint Patrick's Day Parade (WTNH)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s one of the crown jewels of the City of New Haven, where lots of green is on display for tens of thousands of people every year, and you’ll be able to see the largest single-day spectator event in Connecticut right here on News 8.

“This means the world to us, because we are giving back to the Irish community. We are putting on a parade that’s not only for us Irish, but for all communities, and all ethnic groups,” said Coleman Walsh Junior, Executive Chairman of the Greater New Haven Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Committee.

It’s come a long way to its current home in downtown New Haven. The parade was born in the Elm City 175 years ago, with 90 members; and it sure has grown since 1842.

Courtney Lundgren Connors, Chairperson of the Greater New Haven Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, described her memories of what’s become a huge family event in Connecticut.

It was about family coming together. Being on the side of that parade and see everyone go through, I remember thinking everybody was clapping for my father, who was my hero, and to see them all clapping for him and all of the New Haven firefighters, it almost brings me to tears today to talk about it.”

And as much as the Irish pride flows during the annual event, News 8 is excited to be a part of it. With our parent company, Nexstar Media Group, News 8 is committed to bringing you local events right here in New Haven. We’re happy about this multi-year partnership to bring you this parade like you’ve never seen it before.

“It’s a very special event,” said WTNH-TV Vice President and General Manager Rich Graziano. “It really is part of the community, so we’re thrilled to have it back to channel 8.”

The parade committee, made up of all volunteers, is working on a few surprises for next year. You’ll like what you see at this family-friendly event.

“We have a family fun zone for the young kids to enjoy,” said Executive Chairman Walsh. “We have a lot of bands, we have a lot of pipe bands, high school [and] middle school groups.”

You’ll see all the parade traditions leading up to the big day on March 11, 2018. We’ll showcase Connecticut’s Irish community, including the history, and the stories.

“It’s very important,” Graziano said. “It’s a non-profit organization, so that’s why we’re utilizing the marketing and distribution of channel 8 to help promote this, and to help people get excited, and to underwrite this important imitative which showcases and celebrates and supports history, culture, and family.”

Executive Chairman Walsh said the parade has come a long way, and has a bridge future ahead.

I think we’re moving into more of a modern era with the parade; with a lot of corporate sponsors, a lot of individual sponsors, and of course, this. Coming back to WTNH is a prize all in itself for us.”

Chairperson Lundgren Connors described her pride in being a part of the parade committee.

On parade day, when you’re marching down that street, and you’re seeing all the people, the feeling that you have is indescribable. You can’t put it into words, it’s exactly how I feel. I can’t believe I had one small part in putting this together.

Over the next few months, we look forward to telling your stories about what it’s like to be Irish in Connecticut. As next March’s parade gets closer, you’ll see those stories right here on News 8, WTNH.com, and the News 8 App.

You can learn more about the Greater New Haven Saint Patrick’s Day Parade at their website, stpatricksdayparade.org