Tri-State Fair Parade back on after Fiesta Foods agrees to underwrite costs

Wednesday morning, the Amarillo Tri-State Fair and Rodeo announced that its annual parade will now take place on the parade is back on Saturday, September 15. Fair officials had originally canceled the parade citing security concerns and noting that the city of Amarillo would no longer absorb costs associated with the long standing event.

Fiesta Foods has agreed to sponsor the parade and underwrite all of the security and setup costs. The majority of the costs include the use of Amarillo city employees to set up barricades and Amarillo police officers providing security for the parade.

"Fiesta Foods is proud to announce that the Amarillo Tri-State Fair Parade will continue it's 94 year old tradition!

" We are proud to sponsor the parade this year so that our customers, our neighborhood, our city and the entire panhandle can enjoy this tradition," the local grocery store posted on Facebook.

“We are pleased to continue the parade tradition and will release a formal announcement naming our sponsor soon,” said Virgil Bartlett, general manager of the Tri-State Fair & Rodeo.

This City of Amarillo issued a brief statement about the future of parades in the city.

"Last year, 94 parade permits were issued by the City of Amarillo. In the past, the City has provided support services which could include police presence, barricades and trash clean-up. When services are provided for parades or events, cost incurred by the City could be up to $15,000 per event.

"Providing this level of in-kind support from the City creates a financial burden to tax payers, which led to the decision to pass the cost on to parade and event organizers. This decision will save taxpayers significant dollars annually. The City encourages event organizers to seek sponsorships or private funds to cover the support costs.

"A year ago, the City notified the Tri-State Fair organizers about this change allowing time for planning; however, as of today, their board announced the parade cancellation. The Tri-State Fair has been a great partner with Amarillo, and we are ready to provide services for future parades and events," the city said.

Amarillo City Manager Jared Miller confirmed the city notified fair officials in 2017 that the organization would have to start footing the bill for overtime costs for city employees working the parade.

"We love doing parades and we love helping people do parades but there's a lot of costs associated with it, so this policy is really designed more to just recover those costs.

"If you consider the overtime cost for security of intersection for laying out barricades from public works, cleaning up after some of the events with parks personnel and other personnel, there are a lot of costs associated with supporting these parades and it is anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 a parade and those are general estimates.

"We really do want to help them raise the money if they want to do the parade, we want to help them find a way to do the parade but from an overtime standpoint, from a budgetary standpoint, our tax rate really isn't designed to be able to provide a half a million or more in overtime costs to support parades," Miller said.

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