In “one of the best darn communities in the country,” lives Sylvia, a resident at The Inn on Westport in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Sylvia created the St. Patrick’s Day Extravaganza for Sioux Falls in 1980 that she continues to help out with to this day.
Of course, her parade isn’t just for the community which she holds so dearly. It’s for a cause greater than any one person.
When In Doubt, Create a Parade
“I was at a national YWCA meeting on St. Patrick’s day, and of course they paint 5th Avenue green. I thought, ‘For Heaven’s sakes, you could do that in Sioux Falls,’” she answers when asked how the idea for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration arose, adding, “When in doubt, create a parade.”
Most recently, she was able to recruit longtime friends, the Khartum Temple Pipes and Drums from Winnipeg, Canada to perform. The band has known Sylvia for a long time, having met many years ago when they were playing at a park across from Sylvia’s house. Since then, they’ve had a hand in the ongoing success of her St. Patrick’s Day Extravaganza, and they’ve stuck with it because of the cause: “This is all about raising money for Special Olympics, and that’s a cause we believe in.”
Parading for a Special Cause
All the money they raise from the events over the course of the celebration go towards the Special Olympics and other children’s charities in the Sioux Falls area. Sylvia picked the Special Olympics because of its close personal connection with her family. She had a handicapped child that qualified for the Special Olympics.
For Sylvia, there’s nothing quite like using a parade to give back. “It’s good for the community. It’s our community, and it deserves what energies we have. And this is one of the best darn communities in the country. We are living in a hell of a great city.”