Pour one out for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in the District. The nonprofit group that organizes the annual event—the all-volunteer-run St. Patrick’s Parade Committee—says it is “distraught” to announce that the 2019 parade is canceled on account of high security costs.
Although the committee plans each of its parades in coordination with both local and federal officials, it says “government-related” expenses for street closures and other security matters have grown beyond its immediate financial capabilities. A security grant from the District has not kept up with the increase in costs of putting on the parade yearly, according to the group.
“After the 2016 tragedy in Nice, France, the government of the District of Columbia has significantly increased preventative security requirements for public gatherings such as the St. Patrick’s Parade,” the committee says, referring to the fatal truck attack that killed dozens of people on Bastille Day. “The corresponding rapid increase in overhead, in combination with relatively stagnant funding, have put the Committee in a precarious financial position.”
Recently, the organizers of the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle ride in D.C. also said they were ending their event, after 2019, in part because of rising security costs. The St. Patrick’s Parade Committee says it will continue fundraising for the 2020 parade—planned to be the event’s 50th anniversary and scheduled for March 15 that year. St. Patrick’s Day parades will still happen in 2019 in Baltimore and Annapolis, Maryland, both on March 10, per the group.
“Members of the Committee proudly carry the torch of the original Committee members who conceived of such a parade at a local watering hole in the late 1960s and produced the first-ever St. Patrick’s Parade in Washington in 1971,” the committee notes in its announcement.