City donates to parade prizes
The Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce is looking for some financial help when it comes to the city's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.
The event, which chamber president Kathy Graveman said will turn 18 next month, started with a few founders, including John McCaffrey. When McCaffrey became ill a few years ago, Debbie Breuer and Kay Soetaert helped organize the event. Since McCaffrey died in 2002, the two residents have continued to help organize the event.
"Debbie and Kay have done a wonderful job, but they're wanting someone else to step forward," Graveman said.
The Tonganoxie Recreation Commission and the chamber have done much of the work for the event in past years, but Graveman thought the city also should become a sponsor of the parade, set for March 18.
"Along the line, the chamber got their names attached to it and we as a board have some trouble using chamber funds raised in dues to pay for putting this on," Graveman said. "It's not something that technically benefits business. We think it's a city thing and we know the city doesn't want to put this on."
Council member Jim Truesdell said he was surprised, adding: "I can't believe that it doesn't help business at all," Truesdell said.
¢ The St. Patrick's Day Parade will start at 10 a.m. March 18.
¢ Prizes, provided by the city, will be awarded for: The best band, $100; the best float ($125 for first place; $75 for second place; and $50 for third place); and open class ($60 for first place; $40 for second place; and $25 for third place).
In addition to the parade, other events planned on March 18 include:
¢ Girl Scout Biscuits and Gravy Breakfast, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., Old Ratliff Drug Store, Fourth and Bury.
¢ Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner, after the parade until 1 p.m., Congregational Church, Fourth and Shawnee, sponsored by P.E.O. Chapter AT Tonganoxie.
Although it may help some businesses, Graveman said it could interfere with others. She said she didn't mind asking businesses for donations for the event, but didn't want to use dues to finance it.
The chamber officials asked whether the city would consider co-sponsoring the parade. The chamber could do leg work, organization and some fund-raising if the city would help with funding.
After much discussion, the council unanimously approved paying for this year's parade prize money, which is $475. The city did not have money budgeted for such an event for this year, but the council plans to look into that for next year's budget.
Council member Steve Gumm asked Graveman to provide the city with records of fund-raising efforts so the council can decide how much to budget for next year.
During discussion council member Ron Cranor suggested the chamber cut expenses. He questioned whether bagpipers were necessary.
But council member Jason Ward said the organizers should retain the bagpipers.
"I understand Ron's comments and the bagpipe portion of the funds is quite a bit of the process," Ward said. "But every little thing you have there adds to participation."
Ward noted such attractions bring in people from out of town.
"That's what makes the St. Patrick's Day Parade," he said. "If we want people to drive their cars and up and down the street, we can do that any day of the week."