Veterans Day parade in jeopardy

A sluggish economy shares blame for the threat to the 13-year tradition.

By Jackie Ripley Times Staff Writer
Published October 19, 2007

The Veterans Day parade has become so much a part of this community that it's hard to imagine Armistice Day without its overwhelming presence.

But there's always a first time. Money problems, organizers say, could sideline this year's event.

"We've talked about it, but we're not going to throw in the towel yet," said Brian Boyle, parade chairman. "We have faith that the community will come through."

Town 'N Country has hosted the area's Veterans Day parade for the past 13 years, and each year the event has grown. Last year's parade drew thousands of spectators and 2,400 participants. In fact, not since 2001 has the parade been in jeopardy.

"We came close to sidelining it six years ago for the same reason," Boyle said.

That's the year the New York Yankees stepped in as a major contributor and paid for the whole parade.

It costs between $8,000 and $9,000 to stage the parade, which is Nov. 10 this year.

The handful of volunteers who organize it start preparing for the next year's parade almost before the current one crosses the finish line.

And except for annual increases in the cost of insurance, expenditures have generally remained the same.

Boyle said that renting school buses to transport band members to and from the parade is the event's largest single expenditure.

"Last year it cost us more than $4,000," he said.

And an insurance policy is purchased annually to protect organizers from personal lawsuits. The cost last year was $1,500.

Boyle cites a sluggish economy for much of this year's financial problems.

In fact, organizers are considering putting the parade out to bid for naming rights, a plan that potentially could garner $10,000 a year.

"I don't know how you put a value on something like that," Boyle said. "But I'm open to talking to anyone who's serious."

Jackie Ripley can be reached at ripley@sptimes.com or at 813 269-5308.



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