MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Some residents in Meriden are on a mission.
Members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) in Meriden are trying to rally the community to come up with enough green to save the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade — a day to celebrate Irish culture.
If it happens, this would be the 47th annual parade. But, the city cut funding for the parade a couple of years ago and this time around, the AOH said they need $5,000 in order to fund it.
“The city used to give us a generous donation every year,” said Jim Finley, co-chair of the parade. “A few years ago they had to cut our funding, so we’re self-funded now. All the musical groups that participate in the parade have to get paid.”
The AOH had this same problem last year until a chocolate-making business in town — Thompson Chocolate — came up with a sweet donation to save it.
That was then, this is now.
With just over a month until the parade is supposed to happen, AOH members are once again pounding the pavement and knocking on doors, hoping the luck of the Irish will shine one more time. They got good news at O’Brien’s Pub on Thursday, where the owner handed over a check.
“I’ve got the back of everybody that’s pushing for it,” said Ed O’Brien, owner of O’Brien’s Pub.
If you listen to his customers, you could hear just how much the parade means to the community in Meriden.
“Me being Irish, that’s part of my heritage,” said John Dunnighan. “I’m very proud of it.”
He’s also proud of the effort the members of the AOH put into trying to make it work.
“That’s always a good thing, but I think the city should also back it up a little bit with all the taxes we pay in this town,” Dunninghan said.
News 8 reached out to the mayor’s office but we did not hear back.
Finley is determined to make this year’s parade happen.
“We can do it,” he said. “We’re Irish. We can do it.”
The 47th annual parade is scheduled to take place on March 21 at 2 p.m. in downtown Meriden. The AOH said so far they’ve raised about $1,500. That means they need about $3,500 more.
Anyone who wants to make a donation is asked to write a check to Meriden AOH. Write “Parade” in the memo line. The address to send the check is: AOH, P.O. Box 751. Meriden, CT. 06450