UConn parade, rally steps off Saturday morning, Blumenthal breaks leg

Published: Apr. 4, 2023 at 3:51 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 8, 2023 at 9:58 PM EDT
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – A championship parade for the UConn men’s basketball team took place Saturday in Hartford.

Senator Blumenthal fractured his femur while at the parade.

“Senator Blumenthal suffered a fracture when another parade goer tripped and fell onto the Senator from behind. He will have routine surgery on Sunday and anticipates a full, strong recovery.”

Blumenthal spokesperson

Senator Chris Murphy praised Blumenthal for finishing the parade.

The parade took off just before a Hartford Yard Goats game, so city officials urged people who need to travel into or through the city to plan ahead.

Gov. Ned Lamont announced the parade will start at 11:30 a.m.

“The parade will begin at 11:30 a.m. and will step off from the State Capitol building at the intersection of Trinity Street and Elm Street,” Lamont’s office said. “From there, it will proceed north on Trinity Street, go through the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Arch, turn right (east) onto Jewell Street, turn left (north) onto Trumbull Street, and end at the intersection of Asylum Street and Trumbull Street.”

A victory parade for the UConn men's basketball team was set for April 8 in Hartford.
A victory parade for the UConn men's basketball team was set for April 8 in Hartford.(City of Hartford)

A rally then began around 12 p.m. outside the XL Center’s main entrance on Trumbull Street, officials said. Players and coaches gave speeches.

The last UConn parade was held for when the UConn women’s basketball team won in 2016.

“We can’t wait to welcome the national champions and to welcome fans from all across the state to come together and celebrate the big win and also a lot of Connecticut pride,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.

City officials said there will be various road closures in the downtown area from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Additional Parade resources can be found at www.hartford.com/uconn.

The Yard Goats play the Bowie Baysox in an opening weekend game on Saturday, with a first pitch time of 1:10 p.m. Dunkin’ Park gates open at 11:30 a.m.

As a result of the two events, there will be heavier than usual vehicle and pedestrian traffic throughout the downtown area, city officials warned. Traffic delays will likely occur due to the amount of attendees expected for both the parade and the baseball game.

“We ask that you please plan accordingly, arrive early and celebrate both UConn’s victory, as well as the return of the Yard Goats Baseball,” officials said in a news release.

Rally area closure: 9 a.m. to approximately 3 p.m.

  • Trumbull Street to Church Street.
  • Hartford 21 residents can utilize its garage until 11 a.m.
  • Trumbull Street is a “no parking” area. Illegally parked vehicles will be towed.

Capitol area closures: 10:30 a.m. to approximately 3 p.m.

  • Trinity Street from Capitol/Elm, Elm Street from Pulaski Circle

Parade route Closures: 11 a.m. to approximately 2 p.m.

  • State Capitol to Trinity Street, North on Trinity Street, East on Jewell Street, north on Trumbull Street, to the front of the XL Center.
  • Roads adjacent to the Parade Route will have closures.
  • Parade route is a “No Parking” area. Illegally parked vehicles will be towed.

Championship parades have traditionally come on Sundays. This year, they put it on Saturday due to the Easter holiday. Organizers have only a few days to get it together.

“Congrats to UConn, this is an amazing win, it’s great for the state, it’s great for the city. There’s a yard Goats game that afternoon as well, so it’s a great sports day in Hartford. We’re really looking forward to it,” said Chip McCabe, Director of Placemaking and Events for the Hartford Business Improvement District.

“Five national titles, like just feels so great to be in Connecticut, to be a UConn alumni, really excited to see the team come through tomorrow,” said Bennett Cognato.

It’s going to be a busy day all around the capital city.

The Yard Goats are on deck right after the parade and the annual Medical Education Conference at the Connecticut Convention Center is sold out this weekend.

If you’re heading to Hartford this weekend, officials said you should plan ahead and give yourself some extra time to get where you need to go.

Volunteers have come forward, and they relied on donations and business sponsorships to finance it.

Organizers said on Friday that the state’s business community quickly came through with funding. The money was raised in less than three days.

They said that as in previous years, the 2023 event will be produced by the Hartford Business Improvement District in collaboration with the State of Connecticut and City of Hartford, as well as a number of civic and business organizations. There were a wide range of costs and services associated with an event of this size that included police, fire and ambulance services, public works and sanitation, staging and production for the rally, permits and insurance, and labor hours for event set-up, management and take-down.

No state or city funding is being used, according to city officials.

The following businesses contributed funds for the parade:

  • Mohegan Sun;
  • UConn Health;
  • Eversource;
  • Bear’s Smokehouse Barbecue;
  • LAZ Parking;
  • Hartford HealthCare;
  • Key Bank;
  • Coca-Cola;
  • New England Honda;
  • Powerstation Events;
  • Hartford Distributors, Inc.;
  • PeoplesBank;
  • CT Realtors;
  • CT Army National Guard;
  • Fine Fettle Dispensary;
  • Two Roads Brewing;
  • Miller Lite; and
  • Delta Dental.

These businesses provided substantial in-kind services:

  • Manafort Brothers;
  • The Hartford Courant;
  • Mitchell Auto Group;
  • XL Color;
  • Dunkin Donuts;
  • XL Center; and
  • Peter Pan Bus Lines.

Parade preps began on Tuesday, and organizers said everything ran smoothly.

“I think it may be worth a stop. Definitely. We are here for the medical convention that’s nearby but just to see the parade,” said Joe Morrow, Chicago, IL. “Definitely cool to go to.”

The Huskies won their fifth national championship with a 76-59 victory over San Diego State Monday night.

“The UConn Huskies men’s basketball team has been a dominating force in the NCAA tournament, and it will be an honor for us to welcome the coaches and the players to downtown Hartford and give them the celebration they deserve,” Lamont said.

“To see the nation is just going crazy right now, that’s what feels great,” said Lissette Rosario, UConn fan.

“It’s such a big accomplishment for our school and gives recognition,” said Riana Prevella, UConn student. “It’s a great school.”

Bear’s Smokehouse is the official BBQ for the UConn Huskies and is a parade sponsor.

“It’s something we have tried to do since the beginning to support everything we can locally, whether our local schools, local charities – just giving back to the community,” said Jamie McDonald, Owner, Bear’s BBQ.

Across the street, El Pollo Guapo is also preparing to make a lot of food.

“I am hoping that it’s going to be great. I know the parade route is nearby. I am not too certain about the timing, but we are open until 8,” said Bruce Bradley, Manager, El Pollo Guapo. “The cities got momentum again and I think we were stuck for a little during the pandemic, but now it’s full steam ahead and everybody is in great form. We’re looking forward to tomorrow.”