Columbus Day Parade likely to be cut

    This year’s Columbus Day Parade in Philadelphia is likely to be the first parade to become a casualty of the city’s recent budget cuts.

    This year’s Columbus Day Parade in Philadelphia is likely to be the first parade to become a casualty of the city’s recent budget cuts.

    Fundraisers for the parade say they are canceling this year’s event to regroup and work on funding a 2010 return to the city streets. The city’s new policy of not contributing any money toward parades has forced the organizers’ hand.

    Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lindseywb/ / CC BY-SA 2.0

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    [audio: 090923tmparade.mp3]

    Other parade organizers are struggling to shoulder the entire cost of their events, which now include paying for police overtime and city cleanup services that result from the parades. Michael Blichasz is a member of Ethnic Americans United, a group of parade organizers. He says the extra charges are unfair.

    Blichasz: Parades are community events that are doing something very positive for the city all the efforts that are done before the parade and after the parade. It’s a lot of good will.

    The cost of police for the average parade runs about $20,000 dollars, which was just under half the budget for the Columbus Parade.

    And, organizers say, even if a big donor did come through at the last minute, it’s too late to pull together the event. There will still be a Columbus Day festival in South Philadelphia on October 12.

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