Thousands watch Milford's St. Patrick's Day Parade

It was a great day to be Irish in downtown Milford Saturday, when the annual Milford St. Patrick’s Day Parade filled the streets with marching bands, Irish dancers, a fire breathing dragon and lots of parade watchers.

The parade was originally scheduled for March 11 but was postponed to March 18 due to snow and cold temperatures. While this Saturday’s forecast predicted some wet snow, the weather held out, to the pleasure of local families and St. Patrick’s Day Parade regulars.

The Mansy family attends the parade every year and this year was no different. Lee Mansy said he was very happy the snow and rain stayed away because he was worried bad weather might rain on the parade.

His children thought the parade was as good as ever.

“It was cool,” said Ty Mansy, who said a fire breathing dragon and castle floats created by J&J Custom Builders and Twin Electric were his favorite parts of the parade.

His brother, Bret, liked the last unit the best, the Milford St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee backed by a band playing on a flatbed.

If the typical St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Milford attracts 20,000 people, this year’s probably drew between 10,000 and 12,000: The crowds were deep, but not as deep as usual.

It was still a great turnout, seeing the weather had been threatening and the parade had been delayed from last week, said Parade Chairman Marty Hardiman.

“The parade went off really well,” Hardiman said.

Sue DiMaio and her friends, who marched with their dogs in the parade, representing Bark Avenue Pethouse, said this year’s parade was as good as ever. They too thought the weather might be a hindrance, but it wasn’t. DiMaio said the crowd along the parade route was sizable and everyone looked like they were enjoying themselves.

Elizabeth Richetelli was watching the parade with friends. She and her friend Jennifer Susi said the dragon float took the show, while Kimberly Manginelli said she really loved the Irish dancers in their traditional Irish sweaters.

Mayor Ben Blake said the parade was fantastic.

“Weather can’t keep a good parade down,” Blake said.

He said the city had cleared some of the snow from the green before the event, and cleaned sidewalks, allowing for more standing room along the parade route.