This is the 26th year for the Milford St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade will kick off at 1 p.m., Saturday, March 12 in downtown Milford, starting at the Parsons Government Center and making its way to the Broad Street green.

The leaders of the 2016 Milford St. Patrick’s Day Parade have been duly crowned and sashed in preparation for the city’s biggest parade of the year, which will take place March 12 in downtown Milford.

Kelly Scianna, a senior at Jonathan Law High School, was honored as this year’s Miss Emerald Isle, and School Supt. Dr. Elizabeth Feser as this year’s grand marshal, during a celebratory dinner at Aldario’s Restaurant on a recent Sunday evening.

Kelly, 17, has coveted the Miss Emerald Isle crown since she was a small child, watching Miss Emerald wave to the crowds as she rode through the parade with her crown and sash.

“I wanted this since I was five, when I saw her in the parade,” Kelly said, “And I always worked toward it.”

Her great great grandmother on her mother’s side hails from County Cork in Ireland, and wall hangings of Irish blessings and sayings have been part of this young woman’s household growing up. She wears a Claddagh ring, and she’s been an Irish dancer since she was young. Kelly started Irish dancing with Mulkerin School of Irish Dance when she was just four years old.

She started out doing tap, jazz and ballet, but when she realized it just wasn’t for her, her mother signed her up for Irish dancing and she loved it.

Kelly is the daughter of Patricia Francis and Gary Scianna, and she has a brother, Sean, who sat beside her at the celebratory dinner. Kelly wore a handmade green velvet gown with antique lace, made by a family friend, and she will wear the gown in the parade in March.

Kelly is very active at school. She is captain of the swim team, plays lacrosse, and she is a member of the National Honor Society.

Parade Chairman Marty Hardiman said her achievements and community involvement were some of the elements that made her the choice for Miss Emerald Isle, out of a candidate pool of seven very qualified young women, he said.

Kelly plans to study dentistry in college.

Dr. Feser, Milford’s superintendent of schools, was a natural for grand marshal, Hardiman said, telling attendees at Sunday’s event that not only has she been named a school superintendent of the year and worked hard for Milford’s children, she is also half Irish.

Feser said her mother was Irish — her mother’s maiden name was Moraghan and she came from County Mayo. Growing up with Irish roots was important, Dr. Feser said, recalling Irish music and a festive St. Patrick’s Day Parade each year as she grew up in Cleveland, Ohio.

She said she had no idea she had been tapped to be this year’s grand marshal and she was really honored when Hardiman presented her with the news.

Hardiman said, “It was great to see the look on her face when I told her. She is a great lady.”

“I’m really humbled and honored,” Feser said after accepting her grand marshal sash. “I will do Milford proud...and Irish.”

This is the 26th year for the Milford St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade will kick off at 1 p.m. March 12 in downtown Milford, starting at the Parsons Government Center and making its way to the Broad Street green.

State Rep. Kim Rose, who was on hand to offer state citations to this year’s grand marshal and Miss Emerald Isle, called it “the greatest parade in the State of Connecticut.”

The parade is one of the biggest in the area, attracting an estimated 20,000 spectators each year.

Hardiman expects a good turnout of marching bands, floats, civic groups and other marchers again this year: He said he’s already sent out 80 applications to regular parade participants.

The parade costs about $15,000 to run each year, and local businesses and individuals help make the event possible.

People who would like to donate to the parade can send a check to the Milford St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, P.O. Box 2154, Devon Station, Ct. 06460.

For information on any parade events, call Marty Hardiman at 203-878-2865.