Hooker Day Parade, An Excuse For Fun, Is Saturday In Downtown Hartford
By JENNA CARLESSO
October 20, 2011
HARTFORD —— Splendidly dressed marchers and homemade floats will visit downtown Saturday for the Hooker Day Parade, a quirky city tradition dating to the early 1990s.
This year's event is expected to feature nearly twice as many participants as last year's, said Jordan Polon, director of marketing for the Hartford Business Improvement District. So far, about 50 units — featuring 10 to 20 people per unit — have signed up to march, up from 30 units last year. It will run from 2 to 3 p.m.
"The Hooker Day Parade is the weirdest, most made-up, rag-tag, cut loose, high-spirited, Mardi Gras bead and candy-filled parade in Hartford," according to the business improvement district, which organized the parade. "Its purpose is to celebrate ourselves, our city, our creativity and our people."
For the second year in a row, Mayor Pedro Segarra will march dressed as Thomas Hooker, the city's founder. Several neighborhood groups, representatives from city corporations and musical groups will also participate.
The Hartford Steel Symphony and Joseph A. Ferko String Band, among others, will perform. Local organizations and corporations marching include the SoDo Neighborhood Association, Frog Hollow Fools, Mid-Conn Neighborhood Team, TD Bank, Real Art Ways and MetroPCS.
Judges will vote on the best group and best solo participant. The best group will win $500, while the best solo participant will win $100.
Last year's parade drew roughly 600 to 700 people.
Former Mayor Mike Peters organized the first Hooker Day parade in the early 1990s, ostensibly as a tribute to Hooker, the Puritan minister who founded Hartford in 1636, but really just as way to have fun. The parade was discontinued in 2001, but was revived by the Hartford Business Improvement District in 2008.
Following the parade Saturday, a family party will be held outside on Allyn Street from 3 to 4 p.m.
In case of rain, the parade will be rescheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m.
The parade, which spans about a half mile, will begin at the intersection of High and Allyn streets, move east on Allyn Street, north on Ann Street, east on Church Street, south on Trumbull Street, west on Pearl Street and north on Ann Street before ending back on Allyn Street.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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