This year, the 12th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held in the neighboring city of Pacific, not Sumner's Main Street. Organizers say the cost of hosting the parade isn't worth it this year, citing small crowds and to blame.
“I guess Pacific is more Irish than Sumner,” joked Sumner Rotarian John Skinner, who is helping Pacific organize the event. In 2000, he helped launch the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Sumner.
The has sponsored the parade in the past, but decided not to participate this year because of the addition of city event fees and smaller crowds -- less than 100 were counted at last year's event.
The , which helped promote the local parade, is looking forward to finding a way to bring it back to Sumner next year.
“Had we known it was a money issue, SDA would certainly have stepped up to assist,” said . “It is our hope to build on the parade by sharing it with Pacific next year, although the board has not yet addressed this or discussed this further with the Rotary or representatives of the town of Pacific.”
Since Sumner is not hosting the parade this year, Skinner took the idea to neighboring Orting, as a private citizen interested in continuing a local tradition. Turns out, Orting charges to host local events, too.
When Skinner pitched the idea to the city of Pacific, he said local leaders jumped on the idea – no event fees included.
“[Pacific] told me that they would be proud to host the St. Patrick’s Day Parade – they believe that since citizens pay for streets and other things, they shouldn’t have to pay for local events,” said Skinner. “The mayor and city council are all participating.”
The parade starts at Alpac Elementary School and will end at Pacific City Hall, where residents can enjoy a community meal with corned beef, cabbage, green cookies and Irish beverages.
The Old Cannery Furniture Warehouse will represent Sumner in the parade with its double decker bus and train, said Skinner. They also plan to donate dessert – Irish fudge – to the community dinner for free.
IF YOU GO:
Pacific's St. Patrick's Day Parade is Saturday, March 17. It starts at 11:30 a.m. at Alpac Elementary School at 310 Milwaukee Boulevard North and will end at Pacific City Hall, 100 3rd Avenue Southeast.
The community is welcome to attend a dinner of corned beef and cabbage after the parade. Donations will be accepted and will go toward Pacific schools.
Editor's Note: The Sumner Downtown Association has not been an offiical sponosor of the St. Patrick's Day Parade, their role has been only in promotion. Changes are reflected in the article.