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Thorpe agency interested in parade

Published September 08. 2018 07:54AM

The Jim Thorpe Tourism Agency has interest in organizing a scaled-back version of the town’s popular St. Patrick’s Day parade, but the clock is ticking for a committee chairperson to step forward.

JTTA Vice-President Michael Rivkin said Thursday the agency broached the idea with its membership and, although it received a mixed response, would be willing to help continue the event.

“The members that did wish to continue it, suggested that we scale it back to its roots,” Rivkin said. “When it started, the parade was smaller and had a more community-focused flavor. I think we would be looking to turn it into a small weekend event, maybe a festival with a smaller parade.”

For 21 years, the parade was organized by a committee which was a spinoff of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Alec Campbell Division 1, Carbon County, and the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, Mollie Maguire Division 1, Carbon County.

Earlier this year, organizers said the parade would not continue, citing physical and financial reasons.

“The committee has consisted of the same core members who have handled the details of fundraising, parade administration, logistics, traffic and crowd control, the Grand Marshal Dinner, and St. Patrick’s Mass, with no younger members joining the ranks,” said Ron Sheehan, parade committee member.

“We wanted to end the parade on a high note. It gets harder each year to raise money to cover the cost of the bands, police and public services expenses, insurance and other related costs.”

According to Rivkin, JTTA is already stretched-thin with the Fall Foliage Festival, Olde Time Christmas and Winterfest events it puts on in Jim Thorpe. The agency said it was looking for someone to come forward and chair a committee to organize the parade and set a self-imposed Sept. 20 deadline for that to happen.

The nearly six-month lag time would be necessary for the group to book bagpipe bands and get other logistics in order, he added.

“Quite honestly, it hasn’t happened yet,” Rivkin said. “I think if we had someone in place by that date, we would have a good shot at continuing this with a refreshed, back to its roots, format.”

JTTA started a Facebook page, “Save The Jim Thorpe St. Patrick’s Parade” to gauge interest in volunteers.

In addition to a chairperson, the group said it would be looking for around a dozen committee members.

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