South Side Irish Parade Makes Final Funding Push

By Erica Demarest on March 4, 2013 4:32pm 

 Firefighters, police and their families were chosen as Grand Marshals for the 2013 South Side Irish Parade.
Firefighters, police and their families were chosen as Grand Marshals for the 2013 South Side Irish Parade.
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DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday

CHICAGO — With less than a week to go, organizers for the 2013 South Side Irish Parade are making one final fundraising push the best way they know how — through Facebook.

On Monday afternoon, an “unusual request” went up on the parade’s Facebook page.

“A big moneymaker is our raffle ticket sales and frankly, we are behind,” the post said. “Reply to this post with a comment if you would like to buy a ticket (or 2 or…).”

It closed with: “Please help.”

The parade’s social media director, Tom McGourty, said organizers have sold about 700 of their 1,000 raffle tickets, priced at $50 a piece.

“We’ll be fine,” McGourty said, “but we’re making sure we cover every avenue to sell the last few we have … . Social media is a very powerful thing.”

The popular parade — which reemerged in 2012 after a two-year hiatus after complaints about rowdy, drunken revelers — will cost about $200,000 in 2013, said Joe Connelly, a parade co-chair.

“That’s a big increase from the past,” Connelly said.

Roughly $40,000 goes to city services, Connelly said, with another $40,000 allotted for private security. Entertainment and portable toilets take up the rest.

Organizers have raised the bulk of their money through fundraising parties and a summer golf outing, but still rely on raffle tickets to round out the costs.

McGourty said he received six “immediate responses” within minutes of posting the Facebook message.

“Last year, we had a big push in the last week, and we did manage to sell out the raffle,” Connelly said. “We’re hopeful we can do that again.”

Whether or not the raffle sells out, one thing is certain: “We will definitely have a parade, no matter what,” McGourty said.

If worst comes to worst, Connelly said, organizers will probably prorate the raffle prizes, which currently include one grand prize of $10,000 and nine smaller cash prizes.

“We’re really close to meeting our fundraising objective,” Connelly said. “The raffle will get us over the push. Having it sell out is an important message that the Beverly neighborhood really does support the parade."

Parade kickoff is Sunday, March 10, at noon.

Those interested in buying raffle tickets can visit the parade website or stop by its storefront at 10934 S. Western Ave., from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday or from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

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