WASHINGTON — Citing the high costs of government-required security, organizers said the 2019 St. Patrick’s Parade in Washington has been canceled.
The parade on Constitution Avenue usually steps off the Sunday before March 17, featuring marching bands, bagpipes, Irish step dancers and floats. About 100 units have comprised some past parades.
The St. Patrick’s Parade Committee of Washington D.C. said the costs of preventive security measures increased sharply after the 2016 truck attack in Nice, France. Since then, major gatherings in D.C. are often secured by multiple street closings employing dump trucks or other heavy vehicles in addition to a robust presence of police.
Organizers said the high security costs, coupled with stagnant funding, have foiled plans for this year’s parade.
“DC Government expenses have increased almost by 44 percent, and this goes to police security, ambulance security, cleaning of the streets after the parade and different things like that,” said Robert Monagan, the parade committee’s chairman. The problem, he said, is “our revenue has not increased as fast as the city expenses have increased.”
The parade relies on private fundraising and a grant from the D.C. government.
There are other St. Patrick’s Parades scheduled to take place this year in places including Alexandria, Manassas, Gaithersburg and Annapolis.
The group behind the D.C. parade says plans remain intact and fundraising is underway for the parade in 2020 which will mark the 50th anniversary of the St. Patrick’s Parade in the nation’s capital.
“We can’t have a parade, if we can’t afford to pay the bills,” Monagan said of the $100,000 endeavor. “This was a very emotional decision to cancel this parade. It was not easily done or quickly done,’ he said.