New London Hosts 4th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade
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By Charlotte LeVasseur

Celtia is our country. Celtia lives in those of us with roots in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Galacia, Cornish England, the Isle of Man and Cape Breton. Celtic peoples have spread throughout the world and live just about everywhere. No matter what language they speak or where they call home, there is an undeniable kindred spirit. Now, Celtia doesn’t exist, physically, materially. You can’t buy a ticket and fly there. But if you have Celtic roots you don’t need to travel to reach it, in the conventional sense…..you are already there. It is a state of mind, heart and spirit and we feed that state of mind and spirit through the food, music and celebration of holidays. On March 17th at 3:00 PM, that state of mind, heart and spirit will be alive in all of us as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the 4th Annual St Patrick's Parade in downtown New London.

Marie Friess McSparran, President of the parade committee, along with Vice President Diarmuid Hanafin, Secretary Elizabeth Lilly Rivera, and Treasurer James Kelly, have worked hard with many people throughout the year to make this year’s parade bigger and better than ever. According to Marie, "We changed the start time in hopes that more public school children will be able to participate and be able to come and watch. After all, children really love parades. Our parade route is now Bank and State Streets where in previous years we only marched up State Street. Since we have more marchers, we estimate our parade will take about an hour." The parade route will start on Bank Street and travel to State where it will continue up State Street as far as Meridien Street. The Grand Marshall of this year’s parade is our very own Governor Dannel P. Malloy! He committed to being Grand Marshall last February while he was campaigning for his current post. Marie assures me that there are many surprises in store for the children this year. This year is the start of a parade program, the streets will be lined with Irish and American flags, and there will be a viewing stand at City Hall. Weather permitting, there will be a green stripe painted down the center of the street.

Please visit the website at www.nlirishparade.com for details. There are forms on the website that you can fill out and submit if you wish to march or become a financial supporter. New London Main Street is pulling together a group of marchers to be a part of the parade. If you wish to march with Main Street, pull out your Irish knit sweater, dust off your marching shoes and contact Joanne Gibson at volunteer@newlondonmainstreet.org for the details. Come on down and get into the spirit!!
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