MERIDEN — Organizers of the 46th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade say they’re close to raising enough money to hold the event next month.
Organizers have received about $3,000 in donations, according to parade co-chair Jim Finley from the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Irish-American organization that runs the parade.
“We’re close, but we still need about another $1,000 in contributions, and we’ll be ready to roll,” Finley said.
The AOH needs to raise money for the parade because the City Council voted last summer to cut the special events line in the budget following a budget referendum, meaning city funding was cut for several annual events. Other events cut include the Easter Egg Hunt on the Meriden Green, Christmas in the Village and the city's Three Kings Day celebration.
The $3,000 in donations consist of a recent $2,500 contribution from city-based Thompson Chocolate and $500 from individuals, Finley said.
Thompson Chocolate is looking to partner with other organizations in the community for its 140th anniversary this year, said Mayor Kevin Scarpati, director of marketing and sales for the company.
“This (cause) stuck out as one that would be great to get involved with and support,” Scarpati said.
“The Meriden AOH is so appreciative that (Thompson Chocolate), a Meriden mainstay for 140 years, has led the way in giving their generous financial support,” Finley said in a press release. “… Thompson Chocolate has singlehandedly brought us halfway to our $5,000 funding goal. The Meriden AOH asks other members of the business community to step up and help us save the parade.”
Finley said the AOH’s goal is to raise $5,000 through donations, but added $4,000 would be enough to make the parade happen. The annual parade normally takes about $8,000 to run, most of which goes to paying the drum corps and bagpipe bands that play in the parade.
Finley said anyone interested can donate by making a check out to the Meriden AOH, with “Parade” in the reference line. Checks should be mailed to the Anchient Order of Hibernians, P.O. Box 751, Meriden, CT 06450, Finley said. Anyone with questions can contact Finley at 203 804-6895 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The parade would occur March 23 downtown, beginning at the corner of East Main Street and Parker Avenue, continuing through downtown Meriden and concluding at the corner of West Main Street and Bradley Avenue.
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