The Irene O'Connor 50th birthday parade draws participants, fans - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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The Irene O'Connor 50th birthday parade draws participants, fans from across the state

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The 50th birthday parade for Irene O'Connor stepped off around 7 a.m. on Monday. (WFSB) The 50th birthday parade for Irene O'Connor stepped off around 7 a.m. on Monday. (WFSB)
(WFSB) (WFSB)
ROCKY HILL, CT (WFSB) -

Channel 3 threw a 50th birthday parade for Eyewitness News This Morning anchor Irene O'Connor.

While it literally did rain on her parade, dozens of people came out to wish O'Connor the happiest of birthdays. 

Cake, on-air announcements and simple newsroom revelry seemed a bit underwhelming for a birthday celebration of this magnitude. That's why Eyewitness News decided to do something a little different to celebrate O'Connor's big birthday.

"I thought this was a complete joke," O'Connor said. 

So Irene's co-anchor Eric Parker decided to throw her a parade. 

"Oh it was a joke. We said anybody could throw a party for someone's 50th. Anybody could get a cake and have it on the desk," Parker said. "I said 'No. We're gonna throw a parade.'"

On Monday, the birthday parade stepped off from our Rocky Hill studios on Capital Boulevard around 7 a.m. and it was broadcast over Facebook and WFSB.com.

With a lineup featuring the Coogan School of Irish Dance, cheerleaders from Irene's alma mater, Northwest Catholic High School and the Shriners cruising down capital boulevard in their mini-jeeps. 

"Fifty is a big deal! We love Irene O'Connor," Aisling McCloskey, of Tolland, said. "She's a huge attribute to our school, so we're thrilled to come out and support her and bring are dancers with us."

However, the weather did not cooperate, so any parade goers were advised to grab their umbrellas before heading to the birthday. The rain was not enough to keep away the crowds though and many were given a Channel 3 poncho.  

"It's awesome," Anne Marie Canning, of Wallingford, said. "I think it's a great, fun idea! My daughter was so excited to come out this morning." 

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and state Sen. Paul Doyle also braved the rain. Doyle even proclaimed that on Thursday, her actual birthday, the State Capital would be renamed Irene’s castle.Her husband, Matt Fleury, who came out with their twin boys, Quilty and Bobby, said the whole production was worth seeing. 

"Because I know the team a little bit, I guess I was surprised, but not surprised," Fleury said. "One would expect they would come up with something and this is...this is pretty good."

O'Connor, who was overwhelmed, by the well wishes, was especially thankful to her TV family.

"We love each other and I think that it shows on the air when you can tell that you really get a long with the people that you work with," O'Connor said. 

O'Connor also talked about her actual birthday on Thursday. 

"I'm wondering what they're going to do for my actual birthday,"  O'Connor said while laughing. 

To see photos from the parade on your mobile device, click here

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