Today's St. Patrick's Day Parade in Milford may be biggest yet

Today’s Milford St. Patrick’s Day Parade promises to be even bigger than it’s been in the past, with more businesses and organizations signing up to join the march.

The parade, which attracts thousands of spectators each year, will step off at 1 p.m. in downtown Milford.

Parade organizer Marty Hardiman said he’s gotten calls from businesses, like Rainbow Gardens in Milford, which plans to bring a float to this year’s parade, adding to the contingent of locally-made parade floats.

Several Irish dance groups also called to join the march, as did more of Milford’s service organizations.

“It just keeps growing,” Hardiman said.

Julia Gaul, a sophomore at Foran High School, is the 2014 Miss Emerald Isle, and Fire Commissioner Kevin McGrath is the grand marshal this year.

The parade starts at the Parsons Complex and travels through downtown past the gazebo on the green.

The parade typically keeps spectators glued to their viewing spots for about two hours. This year may be a bit longer, Hardiman said.

The parade usually has between 30 and 50 units marching, and this year the number has grown beyond that, he said.

Marchers and organizers are hoping for good, spring weather. At 8:30 a.m., things looked promising, with temperatures already in the 40s.

At a recent Board of Aldermen’s meeting, Mayor Ben Blake said he sees the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade as the first sign of spring here.

After a long and snowy winter, this is a good chance for residents to get outside, the mayor said.