As legend and history tells us, St. Patrick drove the snakes
out of Ireland and used the shamrock to teach about the Holy Trinity. Hailed
as one of the most beloved Saints, St. Patrick’s memory is commemorated annually
around the globe with celebration and pageantry and New Haven is certainly no
exception. Since its inception in March
of 1842, The Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade has held fast to Irish
pride, tradition and family.
New Haven’s Parade is the 6th oldest parade in
the nation and the single largest spectator event in Connecticut. As the hours and minutes tick closer to
step-off time, New Haven’s streets hum and buzz with the anticipation and
excitement of over 300,000 parade-goers, each eager to see what the marching
units will bring. Elected officials,
honorees, police and fire departments, marching bands, dancers and more fife
and drum corps than one could count can be seen marching with pride, connecting
to their community and sharing in the joy of the day.
Leading the units this year is Parade Grand Marshal Kelly
Canning Ruickoldt, a New Haven native whose grandparents made the brave journey
in 1906 from County Leitrim in Ireland to the shores of America. Ruickoldt is a member of the West Haven Irish
American Club and has held the positions of Secretary and Vice-President before
becoming President in 2008. She has been
active each year with various parade events since joining the committee in
2002. Kelly’s warmth and generosity is reflected
in her personal motto “Peace and love” which she shares each day with all those
she encounters. Ruickoldt is married to Doug Ruickoldt and is the proud mother
to Rebecca Sage, Melinda Kate and Michael Joseph Enright. Kelly is also very proud to be the “bonus
mom” to Douglas and Nicholas Ruickoldt.
She and her husband reside in West Haven.
The Parade is sponsored by the Associated Irish Societies
comprised of The Knights of St. Patrick, the Ancient Order of Hibernions, The
West Haven Irish American Club and The New Haven Gaelic Football and Hurling Club. Parade committee members can easily be spied
on parade day by their signature top hat and tails, blackthorn walking sticks
and tri-colored sash. By their tireless
efforts throughout the year, they make the parade vision a reality.
The 2014 Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicks
off Sunday, March 16 at 1:30PM and live coverage begins at 2:00PM on your local
FOX station. The parade route begins at
the intersection of Edgewood and Sherman Avenues, continues down Edgewood to
Howe St., then onto Chapel St., turning at the Green to Church St., continuing
onto Grove St. and ending at the intersection of Grove and Orange St.
For further information such as parade maps, FAQs, parking
sites and parade marching orders, please visit the official parade website at www.stpatricksdayparade.org.