The New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which had to raise an additional $30,000 this year to run Connecticut’s largest parade successfully, has received the bailout they needed just in time for their big day on March 15. Brian Enright, the 2009 grand marshal, told the Irish Voice some weeks back that due to budget restraints, the city of New Haven couldn’t afford to pay overtime to police officers, a necessary presence on the streets for a safe parade, so they had to come up with an additional $30,000 or the parade was in serious jeopardy. “We are in really good shape. I think we are actually at our target. Although we are still down an actual $20,000 we have commitments for that so we are delighted,” said Enright on Monday. Connecticut’s largest parade has been marching up Chapel Street for the past 54 years, and thanks to the generous donations of the local Irish community and parade supporters in New Haven, it will survive another year. The New Haven Parade Committee, of which Enright was the chairman of in 2008, has to raise $80,000 to get the event off the ground every year, but when the Irish Voice caught up with Enright at his office a few weeks ago, he said the committee was under severe pressure trying to raise money now that an additional $30,000 had to be found from somewhere. Enright, attorney and president of Gorman Enright & Butler, told the Irish Voice in February, “If we can get everyone that comes to see the parade to donate just $5 then we can run this parade for a very long time.” That, said Enright, is exactly what happened. “We did get some $1,000 donations but a lot of people gave $10 and $25 donations and that was really encouraging,” he said. “All those small donations have really added up.” The 3,500 participants in the parade, which usually draws between 250,000 and 300,000 spectators every year, is the largest single day spectator day event in Connecticut, the sixth oldest parade in the country and the largest between New York and Boston. One of the biggest money earners for the parade was a “Save the Parade” fundraiser that took place on Thursday, February 19 at the Knights of St. Patrick in New Haven. The event was organized by the New Haven police and fire department chiefs and union representatives from around the state. “We received $7,400 in donations that day. People were just wonderful. Police and firemen came out of the woodwork to save our parade,” said Enright, who is a past president of the Knights of St. Patrick. Now Enright and the committee are less than two weeks away from their big event and they “just can’t wait.” Also feeling the punch from the economic blowout was the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which is also scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 15. Michael Callahan, president of the parade committee, told the Irish Voice in early February that the committee was informed by the city that they could no longer provide funds for policing and sanitation, leaving them with a whopping $60,000 bill, money they simply didn’t have. The Philadelphia parade, the second oldest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the country, usually costs about $70,000 to get off the ground, but this year the committee were faced with raising nearly double that amount. However after word got out on the street that the parade was in serious trouble, people began to dig deep into their pockets and give what they could to save the parade. “The bugle was blown and the Irish community in the greater Philadelphia area came to life,” said Callahan. “There has been a lot of generous contributions from a lot of small businesses and individuals. When you get a $25 check from an 86 year old couple in the suburbs of Philadelphia saying they have been watching the parade for years and they wanted to help out, it really means a lot.” After hearing that his own parade was in financial trouble, publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer Brian Tierney, through his company Philadelphia Newspapers Inc., pledged a large sum of money if the public came up with $20,000. However, Callahan told the Irish Voice on Monday that the committee has yet to see a penny from Tierney. “His promise is still pending,” said Callahan. According to Callahan, after Tierney promised help with the bailout, the Philadelphia Newspapers Inc., the owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News filed bankruptcy, citing debts of $390 million due to the downward spiral of advertising revenue and circulation, coupled with rising debts. Although not in the green yet — the Philadelphia Parade Committee still has to raise about $20,000 — Callahan is hopeful that all the money will be raised in order for the parade to be a success, despite a shorter route imposed by the city this year. “It’s good in one way because we don’t have to give all the money to the city by March 15. We will have a year to pay it all off, but this is not something we can do every year,” said Callahan worried. Raising such a large sum of money to run a parade was a huge undertaking this year and Callahan said he would be looking towards getting a major sponsor involved in the upcoming years. “I guess it’s the way forward,” he said. On Sunday March 8, a fundraiser will take place with the famous Irish group Blackthorn at the Springfield Country Club. Tickets for $25 are available at the door. Meanwhile, the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade has not been affected by the city’s economic woes, or sponsorship. Ford Motor Company, one of the biggest parade sponsors, told the Irish Voice that despite their recent financial woes, they are very much a part of this year’s parade and have not scaled back their funding or vehicle participation on Fifth Avenue on Tuesday, March 17. Lisa Fleming, at the Ford Motor Company New York communications office, told the Irish Voice that New York City is a strong market for Ford and “the St. Patrick’s Day Parade has a long standing tradition in New York and Ford has always been proud to be a part of it and will be doing so again this year.” “What Ford gets out of it, in addition of celebrating with the community, is showcasing new products like the 2010 Ford Fusion that is coming out, and the new Mustang that will lead the parade.”

Guinness-march2019