NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — A longtime tradition is returning to the streets of Newport ahead of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Newport Mayor Xay Khamsyvoravong and Newport Fire Chief Harp Donnelly IV took part in the ceremonial painting of green stripes in the divider line on Broadway outside City Hall.

The parade traditionally steps off at Newport City Hall. While the entire length of the parade won’t be striped, the city will also be applying green paint to the divider line that runs down Thames Street in the historically Irish Fifth Ward neighborhood.

“The green stripe will run through the heart of the parade route,” Khamsyvoravong said.

Khamsyvoravong said this is the first year the city has painted the green stripe since the pandemic. The tradition was started by Donnelly’s father, former Newport Mayor Harp Donnelly III.

“Newport’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of our community’s great traditions and I am happy the City is able to bring back this portion of it,” Khamsyvoravong said.

Donnelly will be serving as the Grand Marshal of the parade this year.

“My grandfather came over as a boy from Ireland,” Donnelly said. “He had a son that grew up to be the Grand Marshal twice.”

Donnelly said he’s thrilled to be this year’s Grand Marshal and looks forward to leading the parade through the city.

“It means an awful lot, not just for my family, but families just like mine,” Donnelly said. “The immigrants that have come to Newport from all over.”

The parade steps off from Newport City Hall at 11 a.m. Saturday.