Chicopee Colleen Kinamarie Ayala and her court raise the Irish flag on March 8.
Reminder publishing photo by Tyler Garnet

CHICOPEE — In a celebration of Irish heritage and culture, the city hosted an Irish flag raising ceremony on March 8.

Local officials, the Chicopee St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee and residents gathered to watch the ceremony.

The ceremony also featured the raising of the Irish flag by the new 2024 Colleen Kinamarie Ayala and her court at the City Hall Flag Plaza, signifying the city’s recognition and celebration of its rich Irish heritage.

State Sen. Adam Gomez (D-Springfield) was at the event to recognize all the different cultures Chicopee celebrates.

“This great city has been extremely kind to myself and to my community which is the Puerto Rican community and also very vibrant. The Irish community has been gracious and has impacted this community through business, through its culture and through its community and awareness for standing up what is right,” Gomez said.

The event was filled with community spirit and honored the contributions of Irish Americans to Chicopee’s cultural tapestry.

State Sen. Jake Oliviera (D-Ludlow) also said he was there to show his support and show his excitement for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day events.

He added, “Mayor [John] Vieau always takes the time to recognize the patchwork of cultures that make up the city of Chicopee and Western Massachusetts. To those in the business community you joined who always help to celebrate these occasions when we raise a flag above City Hall but also to our colleens. You guys put in a lot of work and effort to get here today.”

Vieau said that this flag raising, like all of the other flag raisings, is a testament to the city’s ongoing commitment to celebrating its diverse cultural heritage and fostering unity among all its residents.

He added, “We are one of the largest, we are certainly one of the proudest and I am excited about parade day. I urge our citizens to join me in expressing appreciation for their work building our community and support in our city.”

Ayala and her court took turns having the honor of raising the Irish flag and Vieau presented the proclamation to the colleen.