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Helena gearing up for St. Patrick’s Day parade

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HELENA - It’s time to dig out the green for the annual St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Helena.

The hamlet’s St. Patrick’s Day parade will be held Saturday, followed by a live auction and 50/50 raffle to benefit the “River of Hope” Relay for Life team that will be participating in the Massena/Louisville Relay for Life on June 7-8 at the Louisville Community Center.

Robert W. Carter, who organizes the effort with his wife, Irene F., sent out 27 flyers last month 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. The parade always takes place the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day, which falls on Sunday this year.

“Right now I’ve gotten 10 to 15 responses,” he said Tuesday.

But, since advance registration isn’t required, Mr. Carter said many participants just show up on the day of the parade and get in line with everyone else for the march down Main Street in Helena. Thirty participants were in last year’s parade.

“We usually have anywhere from 15 to 25. It’s usually fire departments, rescue squads, Blevins Motors and Frenchie comes. All of them kind of show up. You can actually show up with your bicycle if you want to. Last year I had a bunch of guys on motorcycles. They’ll ride, they’ll bring a tractor, they’ll bring a buckboard, just anything,” he said.

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

The auction at Bobby-I’s begins following the parade, with all proceeds from food and the auction going to the American Cancer Society’s Massena/Louisville Relay for Life. It runs until 4 p.m.

Food includes chili and hot dogs, according to Mr. Carter.

“Sometimes we do hamburgers. We just go the gamut,” he said.

The auction is the big event, he said.

“It starts once the parade goes through. Last year we did $3,000. We donate all of the food. We donate anything that anybody brings in to raffle off. Whatever they bring in to auction off, we auction off. Last year we did a pen. We auctioned it off and got $100. All of that goes for the cause,” Mr. Carter said.

Other restaurants in the area will be featuring live entertainment that evening after the conclusion of the festivities in Helena.

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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