WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s a milestone year. Four women hold the key officer positions on this year’s Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee.
“Very empowering. I feel so proud of the fact that the parade originally started in 1842, and we’ve come a long way,” said Cathleen Steinhau Buckheit, the current parade secretary. “I’ve just been going to the parade forever.”
Showing her Irish pride is a tradition. That’s also true for chief of staff, Fiona Stewart, celebrating her 10th anniversary of being Queen.
“I’ve grown up in the past ten years,” she said. “It’s a big transition from 23 to 33.”
The all-female slate of officers for the parade, which draws thousands to the streets of New Haven, also includes Chairwoman Bernadette Canning.
“Part of the job is mentoring people for the future,” Canning said. “We have a volunteer organization. Some people have been on the parade committee for a long time, and some are new.”
Over the past three years, when COVID-19 greatly impacted parade season, these officers came together, working hard, and finding ways to adapt.
“We’ve tried to modernize what we’re doing, we work well together as a team,” Canning said. “We’re working together to further our visions.”
“The females, we really understand where we’re coming from, in fact, I call her Ying, she calls me Yang,” said Joanne Conlan, who serves as the face of the event, the grand marshal.
Her walk in the parade was delayed due to the pandemic.
“It was a long time, a lot of work, and I’m thrilled to be here,” she said, flanked by her team at Duffy’s Tavern in West Haven.
All four will greet the crowds on Sunday, March 12, with so much pride in their hearts for their heritage and for this ground-breaking moment.
“It is remarkable that this is the first time there’s four of us who are female,” Canning said.
“I think it’s a sign of things to come, sign of the times,” Stewart added.
Learn more about the 2023 Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade here.