The Ballyshaners, a nonprofit organization that founded and is co-sponsor of Alexandria’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, will host its annual fundraiser Sunday at Pat Troy’s Ireland’s Own to support this year’s parade, which is scheduled for March 6.
Beginning at 4 p.m., the fundraiser will include a variety of entertainment, silent and live auctions and a raffle. A new twist was added to this year’s event: A select few of the group’s members and friends will be auctioning themselves as dates to the parade’s Grand Marshal dinner. Bids will include two tickets to the March 5 gala (valued at $80 each) and the auctionee’s company as the winning bidder’s date. In addition to four women and three other men, Alexandria City Councilman Frank Fannon is offering himself in the date auction.
The fundraiser helps to pay for the costs associated with running the parade, including city and police personnel expenses. It is a major event in the Ballyshaners’ efforts to showcase Old Town and attract business to the city. This year’s Grand Marshal is four-star General Ann Dunwoody who oversees the U.S. Army Materiel Command. Dunwoody is the first female four-star general in U.S. history.
“We are dedicating the parade to our men and women in the Armed Services,” said Ballyshaner Chairman Pat Troy. “General Dunwoody serving as our Grand Marshal is a marvelous honor.”
The fundraiser will also celebrate Ireland’ s Own’s 30th anniversary and complimentary cake and champagne will be provided.