From traditional to modern – a look at the New Haven parade marching units

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This year, The New Haven St. Patrick’s Day parade will feature a huge variety of marching units.

The Nation Drill Squad and Drum Corp March to their own beat. New Haven teens coming together, showing discipline, determination.

"The drill team is an inner city youth program which I started in 1989 to give back to my community and keep kids off streets," said Douglas Bethea of the Nation Drill Squad & Drum Corp.

Irish Dancers from Sheeaun Academy have the same dedication, but a different style. Their school tries to put a new spin on traditional moves.

"Although it’s Irish step dancing, it’s kind of got a modern twist on it, sort of river dance inspired," said Frank Rupp of the Sheeaun Academy of Irish Dance.

Both of these groups will show off their skills at the New Haven St. Patrick’s Day parade, the largest spectator event in Connecticut, attracting 300,000 fans.

"Right now, we’re talking about 126 different marching units and that’s about 3000 individuals marching in the parade this year!" said Petisia Adger, parade coordinator.

She says organizers have made an effort to diversify to maximize anticipation and excitement. "We want a parade that just wows everybody when they’re coming in and they don’t know what’s coming next."

Last year marked the drill squad’s first appearance in the parade. Organizers donated money to cover the cost of a new drum for the group that’s won 15 national championships.