Find Your Favorite Parade Spot

Tom McCarthy St Pats
City Council President Tom McCarthy is this year’s St. Pat’s grand marshal.

What began in 1983 under Italian-American Mayor Lenny Paoletta has flourished into a rite of passage for city supporters, an event to plan an entire day of good cheer, camaraderie, rumor mongering and a libation or two or three (call Uber please.) Bridgeport’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade commences at noon Friday. Marchers will start at Harbor Yard, continue north on Broad Street, east to Fairfield Avenue, then south on Main Street returning to Harbor Yard.

Friday’s forecast calls for sun in the low 40s. What’s your favorite spot? For some it’s Broad and Fairfield, others enjoy McLevy Green. For the sanctuary of indoors, it’s a window seat in Ralph & Rich’s on Main Street. Get there early, the bar is generally jammed. Parking Downtown is free for the day.

Nothing like ribbing your favorite pol navigating the parade route. City Council President Tom McCarthy, who gives as good as he takes, is the grand marshal. Being the son of a master butcher comes in handy.

Lenny Paoletta
Former Mayor Lenny Paoletta.

See parade history here.

8:00 a.m. Mass at Saint Augustine Cathedral

9:15 a.m. Flag raising at City Hall

10:00 a.m. Grand Marshal’s Breakfast, Grand Ballroom, Bridgeport Holiday Inn

12:00 p.m. Parade Kick-off with 2017 Grand Marshal, Thomas McCarthy

1:30 p.m. Post Parade Luncheon and Awards Ceremony, Grand Ballroom, Bridgeport Holiday Inn



  1. I always thought they should’ve kept the post parade celebration in Baldwin Plaza. Although the post parade luncheon brings the Holiday Inn alive, it is a bit stodgy and I would support a street operation that supports the small bars and restaurants. Murphie’s is fun either widespread infusion of various fire and police departments along with awesome bagpiping groups performing! Sad getting older though and missing a lot of familiar Irish faces and miss the camaraderie of the first parades.
    Good thing Mayor Lenny had me Housing Site Director, we used my office in the old bus station for our first meetings!

  2. One cannot look at any City activity without thinking about City finances……assuming that one has studied below the surface of revenues and expenses based on “City policy” for some time.

    So a parade for the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day may be a first application of what would seem to be a 50/50 expense splitting of Police Department expense announced some months ago. The specific formulae for such policy has not been made public I suspect but this will be an opportunity to see whether green paint, the length of the parade, the duration of hours of overtime are booked by PD, the size of the crowds in attendance, etc. come into the reckoning. Naturally, the other parades upcoming through the balance of 2017 will look for the same fair, just and reasonable practice derived from an understanding of the policy specifics? Time will tell.

    1. Bob,
      If you restrict your view to the one photo shown by OIB of a parade scene, you are correct. But what about other parades in the community that celebrate Barnum Festival, Juneteenth celebration, Puerto Rican parade, and more? Perhaps there is some wisdom to parades in warmer weather. Time will tell.

  3. Leprechauns, beware! Bob Keeley will be scoping out the festivities and patrolling with his new Leprechaun net.

    And next year’s Grand Marshall, former, long-time State Rep. Bob Keeley (one of the few state reps to prowl the halls of the Capitol for a lengthy period of time and remain capable of maintaining a reputation for a sharp sense of humor). (Bob was to the delegation what Warren Blunt was to the city council in that regard.)

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