Marty Hardiman stood at the head of the Milford St. Patrick’s Day Parade route Saturday as 1 p.m. drew close, holding a clipboard and checking off units as they marched by.
Milford’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 9, marked its 29th year, and Hardiman, parade chairman, has been at the front of the line for the past 21 years.
Parade day is a busy one for Hardiman and the rest of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, which runs the annual parade.
As more than 50 units lined up in and around the Wasson parking lot behind the Parson’s Government Center, many of the marchers stopped and asked Hardiman to point the way to their group. Megan Flaherty, a local teacher, asked for directions to her group of students from Harborside Middle School. Warren Pawlowski, a Milford Board of Education member, stopped to say hello, and to call out, “We all love you Marty.”
And then the local high school bands, civic groups, business members and community leaders — plus Governor Ned Lamont, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Senator Richard Blumenthal — started to roll out of the parking lot, toward River and Broad streets. This year’s Miss Emerald Isle Caitlyn Zawadski and Grand Marshal TJ Casey also helped lead the way.
Hardiman signaled them forward, keeping the line going.
There were 52 marching units this year, plus a couple of groups that showed up and asked to join the march.
“We have more than usual,” Hardiman said, maintaining his calm.
“I’m the one who keeps everyone calm,” he said with a smile as the parade, one of Milford’s biggest annual events, got underway.
Hardiman wasn’t even frazzled that the governor showed up, the first time he said he can remember that a governor has marched in the Milford St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Skies were sunny Saturday for the 1.5 hour-long parade, and temperatures were comfortable at about 50 degrees, according to the Milford Bank thermometer. There was snow on the green, but city workers had converged with shovels and other equipment in the days prior to make sure there was plenty of clear ground to stand on.