HHI St. Patty's Parade makes history this year

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - The St. Patrick's Parade on Hilton Head Island attracts thousands of people each year and has even been named one of the top 20 Tourism Events in the Southeast.

But over the years, parade organizers say it's been harder and harder to keep this tradition on the island going.

"We've struggled for several years with financing as our costs have increased from the Sheriff's Department over the years and we've gone through several different ways to fund that," said Kim Capin, Parade Chairman.

"For the past couple of years, we've sold wrist bands through the businesses on the parade route and many of the businesses have picked up the costs and have given them to their customers."

But this year, the parade committee just announced they'll have a presenting sponsor to help ease the financial burden.

"Merchant Service Center is joining us this year as the presenting sponsor which really is a gift to the whole community," said Capin.

Joseph Roces, the President of Merchant Service Center, says he's happy to give back and be a part of such a rich tradition on the island.

"It's great, great, feels great," said Roces. "It's such a great community gathering, everyone comes out. I think it works hand in hand with what we do in our business. We're in the merchant processing business and we deal with a lot of local businesses here in the community. We felt it was proper to sponsor a community event like this."

"I think this is a win, win for the community," said Capin.

The GM at Wild Wing Cafe says it's a real win for businesses as well.

"Having a sponsor makes a heck of a difference for us," said Dominic Hausher, Wild Wing Cafe GM. "Everybody doesn't have to worry about that extra fee first of all and second of all, it's one less thing off our plate."

The parade will be held on Sunday, March 11th right on Pope Avenue. Parade organizers are expecting big crowds again this year and say it will be another great parade.

For more information, visit www.stpatricksdayhhi.com.

To volunteer, call Frank Dunne at 843.684.5100 or email frank@frankfreelancewriter.com.

For car and driver information, call Lynne Hummell at 843.290.9860 or email hum90@aol.com.

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