The 18th annual Mystic Irish Parade kicks off March 19

Photo of Jailene Cuevas

The 18th annual Mystic Irish Parade on Sunday, March 19, is led by grand marshal Phil Pavone, who has made it his mission to give others greater mobility.

The parade will begin at the Mystic Seaport Museum at 1 p.m., go through downtown and end at the Mystic Museum of Art. According to the Mystic Irish Parade Foundation, more than 30,000 people are expected to attend the parade.

The Grand Marshal is selected each year by the Mystic Irish Parade Foundation’s Board of Directors, according to a release. This year, Vietnam veteran Phil Pavone was selected as the grand marshal after donating more than 1,000 wheelchairs to residents with disabilities.

“Phil’s generosity and compassion make him a great choice for Grand Marshal,” said Neil Ryan, vice president of the Mystic Irish Parade Foundation. “People say it’s an honor to be selected as grand marshal, but given what Phil has done for others, it’s really an honor of us to have him lead the 2023 Mystic Irish Parade.”

Pavone is a Mystic resident and owner of AZ Pawn Shop in Norwich. He created “AZ Pawn Gift of Mobility" — a program in which he donates motorized wheelchairs — in 2009 after watching a disabled man crawl up a flight of stairs, according to the Mystic Irish Parade Foundation press release. 

Elizabeth Henderson will be this year’s Grand Colleen, which is a female of Irish descent who gives back to her community and is also academically successful. Henderson is a senior at Groton’s Fitch High School who has been volunteering in the parade for years.

A St. Patrick’s Day parade in Greenwich is also scheduled for Sunday.