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Initiative to curb drinking, foster family atmosphere at St. Patrick's Day parade gains support

Posted by Patrick Rosso  March 5, 2012 11:55 AM

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(Patrick D. Rosso/

Marchers in last year's St. Patrick's Day/Evacuation Day Parade.

An effort to curb drinking and create a more family-friendly atmosphere at the notoriously raucous St. Patrick's Day parade in South Boston is gaining support.

More than 60 organizations are backing an initiative by the South Boston (CAN) Reduce Underage Drinking. CAN's initiative asks both residents and visitors to respect the neighborhood and work to make sure everyone, including families enjoy the parade annual parade, marred for some in past years by public drinking and drunkenness.

The lastest sign of support comes from the South Boston Association of Non-Profits.

“We hope that events like the Evacuation/St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the St. Patrick’s Peace Parade [following the regular parade] can be an opportunity to show the community, especially our young people, how to celebrate and enjoy this family event without engaging in or supporting public drinking,” the association said in a letter.

The letter continued: “We endorse the South Boston (CAN) Reduce Underage Drinking initiative to extend a Family Friendly Parade Zone throughout our community. The parade organizers continue to attract units that thrill and entertain our children and families. More and more families along the route are creating family friendly viewing areas. This year, we encourage every household in the community to display posters that read: WELCOME TO SOUTHIE – MY HOME.”

Harry Duvall, the president of the organization, said the group, while still encouraging people to enjoy themselves, hopes parade patrons not only do it responsibly but with respect to neighborhood residents.

“The idea was that the parade is a family event and it’s become very popular and people like to celebrate,” said Duvall. “We don’t want to discourage people from celebrating; we just want them to do it responsibly.”

The letter also highlighted the family-friendly events put on by South Boston CAN initiative, including family-friendly zones and kid’s activities.

This year there will be three family-friendly zones for the parade and registration is required to enter the zones.

They are located at:

The Labouré Center located at 275 West Broadway.

The South Boston Action Center located at 424 West Broadway.

The South Boston Collaborative Center located at 8 Reverend Burke St.

Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, March 18 at each of the zones.

The group will also have a meet and greet with Dora the Explorer, Dr. Elmo and Winnie the Pooh Saturday, March 17 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Julie’s Family Learning Program, 133 Dorchester St.

For a complete copy of the letter distributed by the South Boston Association of Non Profits, click here.

Email Patrick D. Rosso, Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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