CINCINNATI (TDB) -- No blarney. The annual St. Patrick's Day Parade that draws thousands to downtown Cincinnati almost moved across the Ohio River to Kentucky this year. A site switch would have been a huge embarrassment, especially since the theme of this year's March 17 procession is "Celebrating Cincinnati's Rebirth."
Details about the parade and its history are HERE.
Insiders with the Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish social club that started the parade 41 years ago, credit Cincinnati's Democratic Mayor Mark Mallory with intervening 10 days ago after city officials demanded almost $14,000 in fees from the parade's sponsors, the Cincinnati St. Patrick Parade Committee. The group didn't have the cash and began scouting for alternate sites, including a route in Northern Kentucky near the Ohio River waterfront. Cincinnati wanted $1,896 for traffic engineering, $8,831 for public services, $1,741 for the fire department and $1,060 for police. Mallory got nearly $11,ooo of the fees trimmed in a deal that is supposed to be approved at City Hall today. Council members David Crowley, an Irishman, and Jim Tarbell, also were involved in saving the parade.
An insider with the parade committee confirmed to The Daily Bellwether that there was a flurry of behind-the-scenes activity to keep the parade in Cincinnati. "We got hit with the bombshell about the money about 10 days ago," said Gary Schlegel, a parade committee member. "Right away, the mayor said 'we can't lose the St. Patrick's Day Parade' and he wanted to find a solution. He went to work and did it. We plan to march downtown. He did a great job."