St. Patrick’s Day Parade In Downtown Fargo Cancelled

The F-M St. Patrick's Day parade committee made the announcement on their Facebook page.

FARGO, ND — The group behind the annual F-M St. Patrick’s Day parade announced they have cancelled the 2019 event.

They said a lack of funds to cover insurance and security lead the decision.

Below is the full announcement from the group from their Facebook page:

The committee has announced that we will not be organizing and hosting the parade like it has for the past 21 years. It was after much consideration and debate that the committee made the decision to not host the parade like it has for so many years in the community.

The parade has a long history in our community starting with a grassroots movement by holding a much smaller parade. The parade slowly grew, migrating to downtown Fargo where it has called home ever since.

The committee consists of an all-volunteer group that has gone out soliciting for donations that support the operations of the parade. All money went towards insurance, small barricades to block streets, tape to keep the spectators back, flags to line Broadway, and other expenses. Over the past few years, expenses have been increasing due to normal inflation but as the crowds increased the need for additional expenses to keep everyone safe and secure has exploded. As the committee relies solely on donations to cover operation costs of the parade, the committee simply cannot continue financially with the budget that is needed to host the parade of this magnitude.

In the past, the parade committee was able to meet the needs to host the parade on a limited budget, but many factors have increased in the past few years creating a critical imbalance and fear for the safety and security of those who not only are in the parade but who attend and watch the parade. At first, the parades were smaller in number of parade entrants and spectators, but the parade has increased its attendance on both sides, creating an imbalance that the committee can’t maintain as the committee places safety and security at the top of the list.

The FM St. Pat’s committee has identified two main areas of concern and cannot move forward until both have been addressed in order to host another parade.

The first concern is the lack of financial support to purchase insurance and proper barricades to ensure the safety and security of the ever increasing crowds that attend the parade each year. In the past the committee has used caution tape to keep crowds behind the parade lines, but the committee has been receiving complaints from families that this style of barrier is not safe and could result in harm to spectators. An attempt to replace the tape with bike rack style barricades was identified as a safer and more secure barrier. This barrier, however, is extremely costly and there just aren’t enough in the community to satisfy what is needed on the route. Options were to purchase all the barricades which is cost prohibitive or rent which is also cost prohibitive. Not only costs for either purchasing/renting but labor costs to set up and remove the barricades is cost prohibitive.

The second concern is the lack of human resources to provide staff for critical infrastructure in organizing, setting up the route, marshalling route, and tearing down and cleaning of the route. The committee attempted to get additional volunteers to help marshal the parade lines to keep spectators behind the tape but cannot get enough volunteers to assist on parade day. The committee is responsible for placing no parking signs the night before the parade, placing the Irish Flags the week of the parade as well as removing them, setting up all the previous barricades and removing them once the parade was done, and finally cleaning up the parade route. The committee as it grows smaller in numbers can no longer perform all those duties and have to rely on paying others to do those duties which inflates the parade budget.

We want to thank all of our supporters over the years who have made it possible for the parade to happen year after year. All of those who have volunteered on the committee, who gave countless hours of their own time organizing, weathering the elements directing traffic, putting up flags, parking signs, and helping to clean streets. Those who went out and raised money to support the operations, going door to door sometimes. Those who help administer our social media and website pages to keep the community informed. Those who helped register parade entrants or get them in line at the parade so the parade could run smoothly. The parade couldn’t go on without you; you are the backbone of the parade!

To our community who has so generously donated financially over the years. Your generosity made the parade happen each year. Your unfailing commitment donating year after year allowed posters, buttons and advertisments to help get the word out to the community and be our voice. We thank you so very much from the bottom of our hearts.

As we look for the future we are optimistic and committed to making the parade return to the community! We look forward to working with local governments, public safety, community organizations, fraternal organizations and businesses to help us achieve that goal to provide a safer and secure parade that everyone can enjoy.

FM St. Pat’s Parade Committee

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