NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The Grand Marshal of the New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a man with a deep connection to the city. News 8’s Sarah Cody sat down with Patrick Smith at Christopher Martin’s Restaurant, a neighborhood meeting spot.
“I feel excited, I feel humble,” says Smith, who grew up in the East Rock section of the city. “It’s the best neighborhood in New Haven, hands down.”
He attended area schools and Albertus Magnus College. Smith now works at Yale University.
“We’re a wonderful small city with a big heart and it’s all about community – very diverse,” he says. “I wouldn’t have wanted to grow up anywhere else.”
The upcoming gathering is a vibrant reminder of Smith’s Irish heritage.
“Our spunk, we don’t quit, don’t give up,” he says with pride. “We’re loyal.”
Smith will be marching alongside a very special guy. His son, Declan, who is 3-year- old.
“He understands a little bit, he knows something big is going on,” he says. “He has a top hat and a little sash his grandmother made him.”
Smith says the parade is the unofficial start of spring. A time to honor culture, family and community.
“If it’s raining, I won’t feel it,” he says, looking forward to March 11th. “I’ll be walking between the drops or floating down the street. It’s just going to be pure elation.”
News 8 is your home for All Things Irish. Tune into our live special coverage of the Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 11th. Coverage begins at 1pm on News 8.