Category: Archive

Philly parade saved by donations

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

But after a major newspaper publisher opened his checkbook and donations from the public poured in after an appeal by parade organizers, the parade, which traces its origins to 1771, will step off as planned on Broad Street on Sunday, March 15.
The grand marshal of this year’s parade will be James Coyne, the man who led the effort for an Irish memorial at Penn’s Landing in the city.
The parade appeared to be in jeopardy when it became known that the city would not be providing certain free services, mostly policing and cleaning up, to the parade as in previous years.
That left the organizers, the St. Patrick’s Day Observance Association, having to come up with $40,000 at short notice.
“Every year, organizers normally raise $70,000 for the parade. But because of Philadelphia’s budget crisis, city officials told organizers about a month ago they would have to pay for police, sanitation, and other city services that had been free in the past,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
“These are tough economic times but you have to maintain traditions. You just can’t lose stuff like that,” Tierney told the paper after reading its report on the parade’s financial problem.
“While the city representatives could not have been nicer or more understanding, there is just no pot to draw from, and it has left us in a huge hole.” That’s how parade director Michael Bradley described the situation facing the parade in the Irish Edition newspaper.
While there was no pot, there was, as it turned out, somebody.
Inquirer publisher Brian Tierney, through his company Philadelphia Media Holdings, promised to cover half the shortfall if donors from the public pledged $20,000.
The donors duly stepped up. Money came in from those who could only afford a dollar, and those who could afford thousands of them. The parade’s website was this week still seeking donations that can be sent to the Saint Patrick’s Day Observance Association, PO Box 32158, Philadelphia, PA 19146.
Now there will be a parade, albeit on a shortened route, and Philadelphia will maintain its position as second oldest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the U.S. after New York.
Details on the Philadelphia parade, which is televised by the city’s CBS affiliate, are available at www.philadelphiastpatsparade.com.

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