Mystic Irish Parade Announces Grand Marshals, Clydesdales Coming to Town & More Events in Preparation of 2018 Parade Day!

The annual Mystic Irish Parade, on Sunday March 25th, celebrates its’ fifteenth year in 2018!  The festivities will begin at the Mystic Seaport at 1:00 p.m. sharp and journey downtown until concluding at the Mystic Arts Center. In attendance, there will be more than 30,000 guests from near and far celebrating the ‘Wearin’ of the Green’ together. 

“The 2018 Grand Marshals, father and son duo Bob & Rob Valenti of the Valenti dealerships, continuously give back to their local community year after year and it is an honor to have them lead this year’s parade,” says Neil Ryan, Vice President of the Mystic Irish Parade Foundation. 

The Grand Marshal is carefully selected each year by the Mystic Irish Parade Foundation’s Board of Directors. Regardless of their heritage, the primary prerequisite for leading the parade in this role is honoring, supporting and being a positive, contributing member in the Southeastern Connecticut community. 

Known for their exceptional customer service and catchy advertising campaigns, the Valenti family opened their first automobile dealership in the 1920’s. In 1973, Bob Valenti opened the second dealer location in Mystic, CT.  Bob’s son, Rob Valenti, joined the business in 1986, carrying on a tradition and company culture that began 65 years prior. They currently own and operate seven Valenti locations. 

Locally owned, the Valenti’s treat their clients the same way they treat their staff, like family! They are committed to providing an exceptional experience and operate their dealerships with integrity, honesty and are passionately dedicated to giving back to their community. The parade truly is honored to have them as the 2018 Grand Marshals. 

“Upwards of 30,000 people come to see the parade,” said Ryan. “All the favorites will participate, including nearly a dozen bagpipe bands, children’s groups, floats developed by local businesses, high school bands, dancing groups, Boy Scout and Girl Scout Clubs and much more.”

Arriving Tuesday, March 20th, and departing Monday, March 26th, the community welcomes the infamous Budweiser Clydesdales returning to Mystic this year as well! This remarkable team of ten horses  will be on display at Mystic Seaport during the week and visitors will be able to see the horses in person. On Sunday March 25th, they will also be spotlighted by marching in the annual parade for the entire Southeastern Connecticut community to see. 

“The Clydesdales are unforgettable. These are the horses that make appearances during the Super Bowl and they are in our local parade. It doesn’t get much better than bringing these classic animals to Mystic,” says Neil Ryan, Vice President of the Mystic Irish Parade Foundation. 

These horses stand approximately six feet tall and on average, weigh two thousand pounds. Chestnut, brown or black in color, the Clydesdales are most known for the long, white hair growing around their ankles called feathering. These gentle giants have docile personalities, making them extremely family friendly. 

Levine Distributing Co., a major sponsor of the parade, was able to secure the Clydesdales for the parade and the Mystic Irish Parade Foundation worked with Mystic Seaport to host the Clydesdales during their stay. “The Clydesdales last visit to Mystic was 10 years ago and Mystic Seaport Hosted them at that time as well. The Seaport had a fantastic turn out and it was the largest parade in our 15 year history,” says Ryan. 

The Clydesdales will be housed in a temporary stable constructed on the grounds of Mystic Seaport. The Clydesdales will be available for viewing during their stay both before and after the parade. Specific viewing times and details will be make available in future releases. (For information on viewing times at Mystic Seaport please visit MysticSeaport.org)

The parade is the biggest single day event in Mystic each year and it is just part of the Irish themed festivities that acknowledge St. Patrick’s Day! The countdown continues with an exciting lineup of fun events and activities, including a Meet & Greet with Grand Marshals on Friday, March 23rd, the Mystic Irish 5K on Saturday March 17th, and the Awards Party & Raffle Drawing on April 8th, after the parade. 

Please visit www.MysticIrishParade.org for a detailed list of events. 

This festive celebration, as well as many other annual area events, are planned and supported by the Mystic Irish Parade Foundation. The Mystic Irish Parade Foundation is 100% volunteer driven, supported by team members dedicated to promoting Irish heritage and organizing a spectacular parade for the community.  The MIPF is a registered 501c3 nonprofit organization and all donations are tax deductible and directly help fund local charities, as well as the annual parade. Excess funds raised are donated to local nonprofit organizations. Please mark your calendars and we look forward to seeing you at these local events!