UPDATE: Jason Hicks, the Commander of Patriotic Bodies of Fargo-Moorhead says the issue with the organizers of the St. Patrick's Parade has now been resolved.
Hicks says the veterans group will no longer have to pay a fee to march in Saturday's celebration.
Katelin Madsen with the Downtown Community Partnership (DCP) tells Valley News Live although the veterans group did not want to accept a sponsorship for their fee, the DCP did on their behalf. Now, the veterans group's fee has been waived.
The DCP is also in charge of the 'Holiday Lights Parade,' and Madsen says that event also charges those participating in the parade as well.
Madsen says with the unique circumstances of this year's parade, the organization was in need of money in order to be able to put the event on for the public, which is why they implemented the marching fee this year.
She says the St. Patrick's Parade fee is much lower than that of the Holiday Lights Parade's, adding the DCP didn't want to make the fee too high, as this is the first time in 23 years parade participants have to pay.
Madsen says paying to participate in the parade will most likely continue in the celebrations to come, however it's unclear if the amount will change.
Hicks says he is glad the issue is resolved and there will now be veterans from local organizations in Saturday's parade.
ORIGINAL: A representative for an area veterans organization says the group will not march in this weekend's St. Patrick's Day parade in Fargo-Moorhead.
The Commander of Patriotic Bodies of Fargo-Moorhead says parade organizers from the Downtown Community Partnership (DCP) told the group they would have to pay $50, or find a sponsor to pay the fee, in order to march in Saturday's parade.
"We will not pay to carry the symbol of our great country," Jason Hicks said.
Email conversations provided to Valley News Live show the DCP telling the veterans group that because of this year's financial situation and planning under a tight deadline, they were forced to ask for a marching fee from all parade participants.
Hicks tells Valley News Live the group has never had to pay to march in the parade, and will not start now. Hicks also says he's had several people reach out offering to pay the group's fee. However, Hicks says the group has not accepted any of those offers and the group will not be marching at all.
'It's a matter of principle," Hicks said.
The DCP tells Valley News Live that the small float fee helps pay the volunteer fees and contributes to the cost of security for the parade.
They say the float fee was put into place for those participating in the parade this year after the event was in jeopardy due to lack of funding and the growing popularity of the celebration.
The DCP also tells Valley News Live that the Fargo VFW Color Guard and the Fargo Police Department are still marching in the parade on Saturday, saying there will absolutely still be an american flag present at the event.