Plans are off for the Connecticut Veterans Parade in Hartford in November.
Organizers of the parade announced that they are not planning a November 2017 procession and said the Connecticut Veterans Fund, a nonprofit organization that coordinated the annual parade in Hartford cites the high cost of running this type of event and the increasing difficulty in raising funds to produce it as contributing factors.
The cost to run the parade is around $100,000, according to Marilda Gandara, co-founder of the parade that began in the year 2000.
“This was a difficult decision for our committee to make because the parade has been a labor of love for all of us,” Ray Lilley, president of the Connecticut Veterans Fund, said. “But the rising costs of producing an event of this magnitude, combined with funding challenges, and the dwindling number of spectators who come out to cheer on a cold November day has brought us to this conclusion.”
Organizers are instead urging veterans service organizations, military and veterans support groups and individual veterans to participate in local annual Veterans Day observances and for residents to attend the local events.
“We are grateful to the planning committee, comprised of many veteran service organizations, the State of Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs, and thousands of individual veterans for their participation and support since 2000, the very first year of the parade,” Lilley said in a statement. “And we thank the many companies, organizations and individuals for their donations of dollars and services over the years.”
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin released a statement, saying the parade has been a longstanding and proud tradition in the City of Hartford.
“(A)s a veteran I have always valued that tradition deeply. While I'm saddened that the parade will not be taking place his year, I respect the decision of the parade organizers and I'm grateful to them for all that they have done. The City of Hartford always stands ready to partner with the Connecticut Veterans Fund, and I'm hopeful that the parade may return in the years ahead," Bronin said in a statement.