The 16th annual Park Road Parade went off without a hitch on Saturday morning, which is exactly how its beloved founder would have wanted it.
Indeed, Richard Patrissi, who was affectionately known as the Mayor of Park Road, started the parade in 1997 as a way to highlight the great things that Park Road had to offer.
And, despite Patrissi’s passing in March at the age of 76, the parade continues to shine a spotlight on all of the positive aspects of the Park Road community.
“This has been an emotional year,” said parade co-Chair Tony Landino. “He had such an impact, it’s been a hard act to follow. Sometimes with larger-than-life figures, these kinds of events can go one of two ways. They can become memories or we can pick up and move on.”
So, the parade with humble beginnings had Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, every town councilor and board of education member and myriad community groups marching in it this year.
Parade co-Chair John Paindiris, the owner of Effie’s Place on Park Road, said that despite Patrissi’s absence, it was not a bittersweet day.
“We miss him,” he said. “This was his baby.”
Paindiris said that some concessions were made with Patrissi in mind.
Patrissi, according to Paindiris, loved a balloon arch that spanned the road at the end of the parade. The problem was that the wind would knock the arch - which cost hundreds of dollars - down before the parade even got started, Paindiris said.
This year, with a nod to Patrissi, the organizers ordered two large balloon columns that flanked the parade stage.“We made it work,” Paindiris said.
Check out the photos to see the scenes.
Were you there? Feel free to add your photos here.