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Irish parade organizers seek fundraising boost

An excited Amber Richard 21 Burbank smiles near start South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade Chicago Illinois Sunday March

An excited Amber Richard, 21, of Burbank, smiles near the start of the South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade in Chicago, Illinois, Sunday, March, 11, 2012. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 6, 2013 6:22AM



Some of the folks who will be wearin’ the green Sunday are needin’ some green.

Sales of raffle tickets that help support the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade are lagging this year, organizers said Monday. They even posted a plea for help on the parade’s Facebook page.

Not to worry, though: The parade, scheduled for noon Sunday in Chicago’s 19th Ward, will go on as planned even if the parade committee’s goal of 1,000 tickets sold is not reached, parade spokeswoman Ellyn Caruso said.

“We will still have a parade. This is to offset the costs of security and permits and cleanup, all the good stuff that goes on with having a parade of this size. This is a big endeavor,” Caruso said.

About 500 tickets — half the goal — had been sold as of Monday, Caruso said.

“We definitely need help in selling the raffle tickets,” Caruso said.

Parade committee co-chairman Joe Connelly said the late drive to sell tickets is not unusual.

“Last year we were in a similar position. But by the end of the week, all the tickets were sold,” he said.

It costs the committee about $200,000 to present the parade, Connelly said.

“About half of that is for city fees and the use of an outside security firm. And then there are all sorts of odds and ends. Most of the bands, we have to pay something toward their travel costs, then we have insurance and we put about 200 porta-potties out along Western Avenue. Those all add up,” Connelly said.

The Facebook item posted Monday read:

“This is an unusual post and request. We all love the parade, that is why we are here. The parade committee works year round to raise money so the parade can be a fun, safe, family event. All the money we raise through parties, golf outing, raffles, banners, etc., goes to the parade. A big moneymaker is our raffle ticket sales, and frankly, we are behind. So here comes the unusual request ... ”

The post then gives directions to people who would like to buy a ticket.

Tickets are $50 for a chance to win a $10,000 grand prize, and 1,000 tickets will be sold, the posting said. There are nine smaller prizes, so each ticket has a 1 in 100 chance of winning something, it said.

People were responding. By late afternoon, more than a dozen had said they would buy tickets.

The grand prize winner will be announced Sunday, Caruso said.



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