There is no greater place to be Irish than New Haven. Since its inception in March of 1842, The Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade has held fast to Irish pride, tradition and family. Before the parade hits the streets on March 16, 2014, a long-celebrated event precedes its pageantry; The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade Ball.
Often considered the social highlight of parade season, the Ball officially introduces the Parade Grand Marshal, The Queen, the Committee and the Honorees to the community in a formal event shaped throughout the evening with flavors and heraldry reminiscent of grand days past.
This year, the Parade honors Grand Marshal Kelly Canning Ruickoldt, a New Haven native whose grandparents made the brave journey in 1906 from County Leitrim in Ireland to the shores of America. Ruickoldt is a member of the West Haven Irish American Club and has held the positions of Secretary and Vice-President before becoming President in 2008. She has been active each year with various parade events since joining the committee in 2002. She has chaired several diverse committees over the years and is responsible for inaugurating two popular parade events: Tip A Past Grand Marshal and Ladies’ Night. Ruickoldt is married to Doug Ruickoldt and is the proud mother to Rebecca Sage, Melinda Kate and Michael Joseph Enright. Kelly is also very proud to be the “bonus mom” to Douglas and Nicholas Ruickoldt. She and her husband reside in West Haven.
Celebrating alongside the Grand Marshal are distinguished honorees Michael Shaw, Martin B. Hardiman and Audrey Shea Gallogly. Michael Shaw, a native of East Haven, is the recipient of The James J. Dinnan Distinguished Service Award for his unselfish dedication and contributions to his fellow Americans. Shaw is a member of Quinnipiac University's Presidents Council and Parents Council. He founded "Friends and Families of Quinnipiac's Women's Soccer." In 2013 “Friends and Families” raised $20,000 to make improvements to Quinnipiac University's soccer fields.
Martin B. Hardiman, resident and Alderman in the Third District of Milford, is recognized this year with The Cornelius Driscoll Award for his outstanding public service demonstrated by his having served for 31 of his 40 years as a Milford resident as either an elected official or appointee to a city board.
Audrey Shea Gallogly, a resident of North Branford, is the recipient of this year’s esteemed Appreciation Award for her efforts and contributions to Irish culture and community. Along with being heavily involved in her hometown of North Branford politically and with her church parish, Gallogly became involved in the Irish Community in recognition of her family heritage. Like her father-in-law, William Gallogly, Sr. who was a founding member and General Chairman of the revitalized 1956 parade, and her husband, William Gallogly, Jr., a parade committee member until his death in 2001, she has been there behind the scenes, throughout the years, every step of the way. She continues with this support as her son, Timothy, is serving as the 2014 Parade Chairman. She will have the unique distinction this year to walk into the ball on the arm of her son, just as she escorted her father-in-law, William Sr. to the Ball 58 years ago.
Making their very first formal public appearances will be Parade Queen Alexis Wheway of Hamden and Honor Attendant Morgan Hildebrandt. Alexis, is the daughter of Candice Boyle Whalen and the late Joseph Wheway. Morgan, daughter of Anna Malone and John Hildebrandt. Both are members of the New Haven Gaelic Football and Hurling Club.The Parade Ball will be held at Yale Commons on Saturday, March 8, 2014 and will no doubt be a night to remember not only for the Honorees, but for the entire Irish Community. For further information, visit the Parade website at www.stpatricksdayparade.org