The leaves are changing color and beginning to fall, the children are settled in their school routines, and there is finally a slight chill in the air.
Autumn is approaching fast and with it comes an annual event looked forward to by thousands of people here in town. The eagerly anticipated 13th annual Park Road Parade is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 1, and parade organizer Richard Patrissi is anticipating a record-breaking crowd in attendance.
“The Park Road Parade is family fun and a community event that brings smiles to everyone. The popularity of the parade is talked about year 'round. It makes me so excited to hear the repeated compliments from people who attend year after year,” Patrissi said.
The first parade was held to celebrate the completion of a year-and-a-half long renovation of Park Road that had seen the sidewalks and roads torn up and that disrupted all of the businesses lining the road.
Patrissi came up with the idea to hold the parade to draw people back to the street and he discussed his thoughts with members of the Park Road Association, a non-profit organization made up of businesses, property owners, residents and individuals.
The group’s main purpose is to advocate for the neighborhood and to act as an intermediary between state and local governments to benefit the neighborhood, and the members enthusiastically approved the parade. That first year the parade was small, but every year since then it has grown with many local organizations clamoring to march in it annually.
This year the parade will be led by Grand Marshall Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman. Celebrity guest, legendary WDRC radio personality Brad Davis, will also be marching.
Some of the organizations that will participate include the popular and colorful Parkville-area Portuguese dancers, the Shriners, the , The Steel Drum Band, and two fife and drum corps. Local high school bands will perform, vintage automobiles and town fire trucks will drive by, and colorful clowns led by West Hartford resident Karen Pierson will entertain young and old.
The ever-popular group of canine cutie pugs and their owners, sponsored by Elmwood restaurant , will be back. A fashion show, organized by Park Road’s newest tenant, consignment store Buttons and Bows, will be held after the parade in front of the store at 266 Park Road.
Patrissi is the former owner of on Ringgold Street, the vice president of the Park Road Association, and the “honorary mayor” of Park Road. He has been busily placing signs advertising the parade all over town.
Patrissi says that the full list of participants will not be complete until a few days before the event and there are always a few who decide the day before that they want to march.
As exhausting as the event might be to organize year in and year out, Patrissi feels a great pride in how well it all comes together and the tremendous benefit it proves to be for the street and the community to which he’s been devoted his entire life.
“It pleases me so much that more and more residents and people from other towns make this parade a ‘must do’ event. The Park Road business community is uplifted by the presence of the parade.”
The parade kicks off at 10 a.m. beginning at Ringgold Street and ending at South Quaker Lane. There is no rain date.