A boisterous crowd filled downtown New Haven on Sunday for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, even as police cracked down on public drinking along the route.
New Haven Police Department spokesman David Hartman said around 40 people were arrested, predominantly for alcohol-related offenses. Eleven were arrested for breach of the peace, five for disorderly conduct and eight for interfering with police officers, Hartman said, noting that these numbers are roughly comparable to past parades.
“The crowd along the parade was generally well behaved, as expected, but those in the downtown bar areas were generally not well behaved,” he said. “We were pleased that in the wake of increased enforcement of laws prohibiting the public consumption of alcohol, there was a very noticeable increase in the number of younger children who lined the parade route with their families.”
In a press conference at Whitney Avenue bar Anna Liffey’s last Thursday, Hartman stressed the NHPD would be vigorously enforcing public drinking laws and issuing a $99 fine to offenders. To that end, the NHPD hired an additional 100 officers on Sunday to patrol the downtown area.
The policing of the event did not deter parade-goers from turning out in high numbers. Although Hartman said the parade “absolutely did not” draw the 300,000 people expected by Grand Marshal Kevin Smith, it was the most well attended parade he has seen.
“A sensible estimate of those revelers in the heart of the Downtown entertainment district would be more than 20,000 but fewer than 35,000 at any one time,” Hartman said.
Among the Elm City officials marching in the parade were Mayor John DeStefano Jr., NHPD Chief Dean Esserman and New Haven Fire Department Chief Michael Grant.
State politicians also appeared in the line-up: U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) marched alongside U.S. Representative Chris Murphy, who hopes to replace U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67 after he retires at the end of his term this year.
All up, the parade was slated to feature 3,600 marchers in 126 units, according to Smith.