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Greenwich Steps Off In Style With St. Patrick's Day Parade

The Irish flag is carried proudly in the St. Patrick's Day parade Sunday in Greenwich.
The Irish flag is carried proudly in the St. Patrick's Day parade Sunday in Greenwich. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
The harp and the Irish flag, a pair of symbols representing Ireland at the St. Patrick's Day parade in Greenwich on Sunday.
The harp and the Irish flag, a pair of symbols representing Ireland at the St. Patrick's Day parade in Greenwich on Sunday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
A member of the Port Chester Marching Band can be seen through a trombone at the Greenwich St. Patrick's Day parade Sunday.
A member of the Port Chester Marching Band can be seen through a trombone at the Greenwich St. Patrick's Day parade Sunday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
The Wells Fargo team of horses in the Greenwich St. Patrick's Day parade on Sunday.
The Wells Fargo team of horses in the Greenwich St. Patrick's Day parade on Sunday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
The Murphy family at the St. Patrick's Day Parade. Matthew Murphy owns Fred D. Knapp Funeral Home. He is with his wife Sharon and their son Connor, 10. Their daughter, Rebecca, 11, was dancing in the parade with Anam Cara Irish Dance School.
The Murphy family at the St. Patrick's Day Parade. Matthew Murphy owns Fred D. Knapp Funeral Home. He is with his wife Sharon and their son Connor, 10. Their daughter, Rebecca, 11, was dancing in the parade with Anam Cara Irish Dance School. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Greenwich St. Patrick's Day parade Grand Marshal Brian O'Connor and his wife Maura.
Greenwich St. Patrick's Day parade Grand Marshal Brian O'Connor and his wife Maura. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Cristy Heffernan, left, her daughter Rylie, 10, and friend Linda McDermott, all from Port Chester, N.Y., enjoy the St. Patrick's Day parade Sunday.
Cristy Heffernan, left, her daughter Rylie, 10, and friend Linda McDermott, all from Port Chester, N.Y., enjoy the St. Patrick's Day parade Sunday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Dancers from the Lynn Academy of Irish Dance at the St. Patrick's Day parade Sunday in Greenwich.
Dancers from the Lynn Academy of Irish Dance at the St. Patrick's Day parade Sunday in Greenwich. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Brian O'Connor, right, grand marshal of the St. Patrick's Day parade.
Brian O'Connor, right, grand marshal of the St. Patrick's Day parade. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
St. Patrick is honored at the St. Patrick's Day parade in Greenwich on Sunday.
St. Patrick is honored at the St. Patrick's Day parade in Greenwich on Sunday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

GREENWICH, Conn. -- Thousands of people lined the streets of downtown Greenwich to watch the 41st edition of the town's St. Patrick's Day parade on a sunny but chilly and windy Sunday.

The parade, which occurred a few days after the official St. Patrick's Day, began at Town Hall and continued past the library on West Putnam Avenue before taking a turn down Greenwich Avenue. Irish flags were out on a day that celebrates Irish culture and pride. This year's grand marshal has been heavily involved in promoting Irish culture.

Brian O'Connor has deep Irish roots as does his wife, Maura, whose maiden name is Flynn. He has been active in charitable causes and has been president of The Wild Geese, an Irish-American cultural organization. But he said he never expected to be named grand marshal.

"I was shocked to be honest," O'Connor said minutes before the parade stepped off.

Although Brian O'Connor never expected the honor, Maura O'Connor said she wasn't surprised.

"He has done a tremendous amount of Irish cultural promotion, and he is deserving of it," she said.

The couple, who are from New Haven, moved to Greenwich in 1968, the same year they got married when she was a public school teacher and he was developing his law practice. The couple have two daughters, Deirdre and Sarah, and three grandchildren, who were all present at the parade.

"It is a very important day to celebrate our Irish heritage and to see all this wonderful people here happy as can be at the beginning of spring," he said.

Cristy Heffernan and her friend Linda McDermott, from Port Chester, N.Y., attended the parade to cheer on their children, Ryan Heffernan, 13, and Darby McDermott, 13, as they took part with the Port Chester Marching Band. Also standing with them was Cristy's daughter Rylie, 10.

For McDermott, it was her first time at the parade, but Heffernan has attended before.

Heffernan said she enjoys the parade because of its friendly nature.

"It is a family event, you don't see rough activity or fights," she said.

Sharon and Matthew Murphy were watching the parade along with their son Connor, 10, from the street in front of his business, Fred D. Knapp Funeral Home. Also with them was Nick Healy from the funeral home. The Murphys were watching for their daughter Rebecca, 11, who was dancing in the parade as a member of Anam Cara Irish Dance School.

They regularly attend the parade.

"It's a great event for the community and it brings the community together," Matthew Murphy said.

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