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Organizers seek entrants for Helena St. Patrick’s Day parade

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HELENA - St. Patrick’s Day is still a few weeks away, but organizers of the annual parade in Helena are starting to look for participants who not only want to march in the parade, but also support breast cancer efforts.

Robert W. Carter, who organizes the effort with his wife, Irene F., said he sent out 27 flyers this week to groups who have regularly marched in the parade, advising them that it will be held on March 16 and inviting them to take part.

“It is always is the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day. This year St. Patrick’s Day is on Sunday,” Mr. Carter said.

The flyers went to organizations such as fire departments and local businesses that have traditionally marched or driven down Helena’s Main Street.

The Carter’s efforts on this year’s parade actually started in December, he said, because of the need for permits.

Now they’re looking for anyone who wants to enter anything into the parade.

“They can put anything in they want. They can put an Amish buggy and a buckboard. Some of the guys come out with farm tractors,” Mr. Carter said. “Floats, fire engines, buckboards and anything else your imagination can think of will help to make it a great occasion for all.”

The parade lines up at 11 a.m. at the corner of state Route 37C and Depot Street and steps off at noon.

But the day is more than just about a parade. Mr. Carter said they’ll also have an auction at Bobby-I’s, the Carters’s restaurant, to raise money for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and the Cancer Foundation. Last year’s efforts raised $3,000.

The auction featured donations from businesses, organizations and individuals. It begins at 1 p.m. and lasts until 3 or 4 p.m.

“That’s how many items are out there,” he said. “The whole Relay for Life team is there. We auction off anything and everything. Last year Bucky Black had a pen in his pocket. He pulled it out of his pocket and auctioned it off. Somebody bought it for $50. A T-shirt went for $100.”

March 16 will also be Customer Appreciation Day with Irish music and plenty of food and special treats throughout the day, including the traditional corned beef and cabbage.

And when the fun starts winding down at Bobby-I’s around 4 p.m., activities will shift to the other restaurants in the area, which will feature live entertainment.

The Helena St. Patrick’s Day celebration has been an annual event for more than 40 years. Mr. Carter and his wife had been in charge of it for the past 15, and turned in into a Relay for Life fundraiser seven years ago.

For more information, contact the Carters at 764-5990 or 764-5988.

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