On behalf of the Naples St. Patrick Foundation, I invite you to attend and support Naples’ premier winter event — the 35th-annual St. Patrick’s Day parade — to be held on March 16 beginning at 11 a.m.
Our all-volunteer group of local residents has been hard at work to bring you the biggest and best parade Naples has ever seen.
Our 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization continues to harness the power of this great annual event in order to meet our stated goals:
Support high school music programs throughout Southwest Florida
Provide college scholarships to deserving young people in the region
Increase awareness and appreciation of Irish culture and its influence.
We changed our business model in 2010 in an effort to better serve the community and to deliver the best parade possible. Since then we have funded four-year college scholarships to three deserving young men and women from Collier County, with hopes of funding two more in 2013.
Through the Education Foundation of Collier County we fund these scholarships via the statewide Take Stock in Children program.
We have also granted more than $50,000 to local high school music programs to help develop and maintain them. We are able to do this because of the public’s interest and generosity.
As you may know, the parade receives no public funding. Friends of the parade can support the event through a variety of fundraisers. Contributions can be as small as a $5 donation for an opportunity to win a trip to Ireland.
This year we are especially proud to present an Irish music and entertainment event like none that Naples has ever seen or heard. On March 14 we will present “An Evening in Ireland” featuring Opera Naples’ founding artistic director, Steffanie Pearce. Others appearing are Irish shanachie (storyteller) Batt Burns from Kerry, Ireland; Irish step dance sensations Claire and Catherine Gorman; pipe major Don Goller; and Wolfhound, performing traditional Irish music. Tickets are $25, or $35 for preferred seating.
We will also sponsor our 10th-annual Pub Crawl on March 8 from 6-10 p.m. beginning at Mulligan’s Sports Grille, 2041 U.S. 41 N., in Naples Plaza. Tickets are $38. This price includes parking, trolley transportation to area pubs, appetizers and bagpipers.
Tickets for both fundraisers are available at 239-227-5350 or www.naplesparade.com.
Finally, let me invite you to our 18th-annual flag raising which takes place the morning of the parade and is held at The Dock restaurant at Crayton Cove at 9:30 a.m. This traditional and historic program honors our veterans and public safety personnel, who will be featured along with color guards and musical accompaniment.
Come and enjoy complimentary breakfast refreshments. This event is generously sponsored by Vin DePasquale of The Dock and Riverwalk restaurants.