Sophie Sonnenfeld, Contributing Photographer

Chapel Street roared with eager spectators in all shades of green on Sunday afternoon, as the 2022 Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s parade brought marching bands, flag bearers, costumed knights and more.

Dating back to 1842, the annual celebration has become a keepsake of the city’s Irish population, attracting residents of all ages and backgrounds to one of the most historic regions of the Downtown New Haven area. The parade is the sixth oldest of its kind in the nation and the oldest in New England, holding the title of being the “largest, single-day spectator event” in Connecticut, according to its website. This year’s parade featured first-generation Irish-American Seamus Bohan as its Grand Marshal, as well as thousands of marchers hailing from various states, nationalities and ethnocultures.

“My baby always watched this since he was one in the window from our house, [but] we walked to Downtown to watch everything,” said New Havener Tyhisha Penn, sporting a green hat and pointing to her son. “This parade — it means a lot to Irish families, but I just love the parades, period, because I’m a resident, so I love it when they do it, especially for the kids.”

For Penn, events like these are not only a way to spend time with family, but also to enjoy a “community spirit” in tandem with other families who attend them. She explained that going out to the parade also afforded the convenient opportunity to explore new places in the city, mentioning that she and her son were trying out the newly opened Korean hot dog place as parts of the parade were taking place.

In addition to featuring Irish culture through hand-drawn symbols, sayings and posters, this year’s commemoration also celebrated Black and LGBTQ+ communities. Spectators watched as trolleys decorated with paintings of African American history — along with a carriage bearing a giant rainbow pride wreath — traversed down Chapel. 

Abby Wells, who attended the parade, was especially grateful to see the celebration — along with its many sponsor organizations — up and running after its two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other visitors were thankful for the security measures taken during the celebration, noting the presence of guards and flatbed trucks that helped enforce community guidelines amid intense crowd participation. These measures are something that localer Ted Olinsky said not to take for granted as the city continues to make public events as accessible and family-friendly as possible during an enduring pandemic, he said.

Overall, the 2022 St. Patrick’s Day parade was more than a celebration of culture. It was a reminder of New Haven’s pre-pandemic vibrancy and the feeling of community that defined the city, exemplified by the many spectators that cheered on the marchers on Chapel Street this Sunday afternoon — the children donning green antlers and the grandparents holding their hands.

“We always look forward to coming,” said Bob Lambert, sitting beside Olinsky outside the Yale University Art Gallery at the conclusion of the parade. “A lot of fun — it’s always a win-win [and] a very nice time.”

This year’s parade started on Chapel Street at Sherman Avenue at 1:30 p.m., proceeding toward the Green, Church Street, Elm Street and finally Orange Street. 

Brian Zhang is Arts editor of the Yale Daily News and the third-year class president at Yale. Previously, he covered student life for the University desk. His writing can also be found in Insider Magazine, The Sacramento Bee, BrainPOP, New York Family and uInterview. Follow @briansnotebook on Instagram for more!