Downtown leaders worry about lack of public support after St. Patrick’s Day parade cancelled

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OKLAHOMA CITY – A tradition was postponed this week.

The O’City St. Patrick’s Day parade would have been in its third year, but organizers say the event has been cancelled this year.

“We wanted to make sure to give everybody that is involved in the parade the best opportunity to start and finish to get the best visibility, not only for the people participating in the parade but also for the people watching and ultimately to finish here in Bricktown,” Josh Evans, with Prodigal, said.

With construction underway for the MAPS3 Street Car project and Project 180 along the old parade route, organizers say they cannot make it happen.

“They’re bummed, but I think everybody understands,” Evans said.

Other parades were nixed this past year including the Holiday River Parade on the Oklahoma River and the Oklahoma City Halloween parade in Automobile Alley.

Jill Delozier with Downtown OKC, Inc. said participation and sponsorship for parades are down.

“They have a great legacy and a lot of tradition and people still love them, but we’re seeing attendance go down a little bit,” Delozier said.

She says people are more interested in attending block parties like the H&8th Food Truck Festival and the monthly block party in Film Row.

“When participation is declining or they’re not getting a lot of support from the community and people saying they want it to continue to happen, they’re going to move their resources elsewhere,” she said.

Delozier says the downturn in the economy is a major factor for free events like parades not getting funding, but says it’s starting to rebound.

Prodigal says they plan to bring the parade back in the future.

“It will be something that will be extra special and fun when we get it back up,” Evans said.

There will still be several St. Patrick’s Day events throughout the city, including at Tapwerks in Bricktown and McNellies in Midtown.

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