Parade Becomes A Family Affair, Again

Allan Appel Photo(Updated Monday 2:45 p.m.) More families appeared along the route this year, along with less drunken fighting and vomiting than in years past.

That was the verdict from police spokesman Officer David Hartman after the wrap up of the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New Haven Sunday. (Click here to read about the parade itself.)

The police worked with club and restaurant owners and others in town to limit drunken misbehavior.

It paid off, Hartman said.

“This wasn’t the wild, wild west we had five years ago. It certainly improved over the past several years,” he said. “It’s very steadily turning back into a family spectator event. People have been better behaved each year that we do this. We appreciate that. That’s what the parade should be.”

Officers made around two dozen arrests for disorderly conduct, “little fights and skirmishes,” no “street brawls” like in the bad old days, according to Hartman. They also issued “at least that many infraction” notices for underaged drinking and open containers.

Update: Hartman issued this statement Monday afternoon: “Officers responded to 84 parade-related incidents that resulted in about 20 people being taken into custody. Others received court summonses and infractions. 36 of those incidents involved the public consumption of alcohol beverages and underage drinking.  At least 40 people were transported by ambulance to local hospitals to be treated for consuming too much alcohol.

“On such a day, with tens of thousands of people in attendance, one must expect some disorderly conduct. We were prepared and kept the peace. Officers remarked at how much more cooperative people have become in recent years since public drinking has gone from something frowned upon to something that results in action. We’ve certainly seen an increase in the number of families who bring their young children to watch the parade. It’s once again a family friendly event.

“What we saw were the expected skirmishes between intoxicated green clad partiers. What we didn’t see were the bar brawls of several years past. An important newer practice has been popular not only amongst police, but liquor permit holders as well.”

One woman was arrested on Chapel Street after she allegedly pushed Officer Cherelle Carr and kicked a motorcycle, according to Lt. Jeff Hoffman. (The arrest is pictured at the top of the story.)

Owners of bars and restaurants that serve liquor agreed to close at 6 p.m. to help the police move along drunken people, as well. “We really appreciated the advance planning and the cooperation of those who have liquor permits,” Hartman said.

This year’s grand marshal, Timothy Gallogly, too, hailed the family-friendly atmosphere this year thanks in part to the continuing vigorous emphasis on no public drinking.

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posted by: robn on March 17, 2014  7:00am

Just curious about attendance estimates. Has anyone officially observed the numbers going up, down, or remaining about the same?

posted by: HewNaven on March 17, 2014  7:15am

Great example of a ‘photobomb’ on the bottom picture.

But, seriously, great job by the cops. This was much more enjoyable than in years past.

posted by: NHV Greenie on March 17, 2014  12:15pm

Police presence was strong and obviously effective.  Agree with op-ed that fences were overkill and just ugly.  Grateful that the bars agreed to close early, otherwise downtown would have been a total mess.  Really appreciate the speedy clean up by the Downtown Ambassadors - the green and surrounding areas looked great today.  Thank you!

posted by: TheNewZero on March 17, 2014  3:20pm

Family friendly? What a joke. I avoid this sad spectacle like the plague now, but distinctly recall attending in my youth only to see one of the marching exhibits be a guy dressed like Saddam Hussein in a bamboo cage, much to the cheering audiences delight. Barbarism begins at home. In my adult life I have witnessed many an afternoon post parade goer vomiting on themselves or stumbling in the street trying to light a cigarette backwards. This morning Crown street was still covered in large broken Jack Daniels and Hennessy bottles for all of NHPDs supposed valiant efforts. And can we get an informed estimate on attendees? 20,000 seems unlikely but saying tens of thousands sure makes the PD sound better in the face of failure. Why do we even endure this antiquated practice? The city should bring back First Night instead of wasting time and money on this debauchery.

posted by: michaelnogelo on March 17, 2014  3:48pm

TheNewZero: How can you comment on whether the “family friendly” description is accurate if you “avoid this sad spectacle like the plague”? Your judgement seems based on your previous experiences.  The point of the article was that the event is now more family-friendly than it was in past years.

posted by: TheNewZero on March 17, 2014  5:27pm

Although I would hope that this would be clear to my favorite ninja turtle, my point is the city is saying they’ve reared in the crowds bad behavior so families can enjoy those marching, I am questioning the merit of an event that would not see people putting other humans in cages and cheering in bad taste. As far as how I am able to witness the unfortunate aftermath of the parade, even though I try not to actively stand on a street corner in the hopes of the governor blowing me a kiss or seeing classic heroes from Irish mythology like Jarjar Binks as a resident of New Haven its impossible not to have the pleasure of seeing drunk couples fighting in the streets or urinating in doorways. I suppose if I don’t like it maybe I should move somewhere that St Patricks Day is a low key affair where the most celebrating people do is going to church and having dinner with the family, like, oh I don’t know, IRELAND.

posted by: robn on March 17, 2014  7:17pm


If you find it in bad taste to display humans in cages, to provide platforms for political demagoguery, to cross pollinate mythological and fantastical characters, and to view couples fighting in the streets then you’ve just eliminated the complete works of William Shakespeare from the realm of good taste.

posted by: dfgallo on March 17, 2014  8:59pm

@TheNewZero Don’t be mad at the parade for the issues in downtown.  Also for the most part the city does not fund this parade the parade committee hosts fundraisers and pays for police and what not.  While they do not pay for any police not on the parade route such as in the bar district that is an entirely different issue.  Why not have the city keep the bars closed up and open them later on? When the bars open at 9AM you are just asking for issues when the parade does not even start until 130.  If you don’t like the parade don’t go simple answer but they must be doing something right if it is still Connecticut’s largest single day event.

posted by: TheNewZero on March 18, 2014  9:38am

Robyn, although I usually find your views to be incredibly on point if not at times contrarian for the sake of it, I’m disappointed that you seem to basically be using the premise of “all the worlds a stage” to broadly rationalize any example of questionable behavior, like, ever. I sincerely hope that the parade, for you, is the equivalent of the penny pit at the globe, however as I have a fairly easy time suspending my disbelief I would rather see actors depicting the follies of human drama knowing that they are intentionally providing commentary on the human condition rather than unintentionally making complete asses of themselves in the street en masse. As far as the mass debauchery being an expression of the vox populi, I agree that this probably boils down to different strokes for different folks. I mean, a 13 year old rape victim was stoned in Somalia in 2008 in a packed football stadium and I wouldn’t likely attend that either, but its how the masses get their kicks so who am I to blow against the wind, right? And for the record, I think Shakespeare is overrated.

posted by: robn on March 18, 2014  10:30am


I was appalled at past parades. They’ve tried to strike a balance in the past few years so people can have fun but not scare children. I couldn’t make it downtown this year so I can’t comment on the results, but last year there was notably more civil behavior than in years past. After all the goal is good clean fun but neither of us can judge it if we weren’t there.