HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - One local non-profit is already planning next year's Mardi Gras celebration, in an effort to make it north Alabama’s stop for the parade.
"We have tourists from Tennessee and all over that are coming to Huntsville just for this parade," said Marydae Sneed, Executive Director for The Blount Hospitality House.
It's the third year the Mardi Gras parade has lined the streets of downtown Huntsville. "We went about it as a celebration, with ‘oh yeah it's a fundraiser too," said Sneed.
The main beneficiary is the Blount Hospitality House, which has helped 30,000 people since 1980. "We are Huntsville’s guest house for families who have loved ones receiving care here in Huntsville -- it could be anything from an infant in the neonatal, to a car accident victim," said Sneed.
They charge a small fee for families to stay in their facility, but that only covers a fraction of their costs. The rest of the money comes from fundraisers or private donations. "Our budget is only about $200,000 a year; however we have operated $60,000 in the hole the past three years. The Blount Hospitality House cannot sustain itself for much longer without support and funding behind it," said Sneed.
They're putting a major focus on the parade, so it may plant roots and provide the funding the Blount House desperately needs, being fund raiser and not a fund sinker; so families won't have to sorry about where they will go in a time of tragedy. "Hopefully for years to come we will be here and if Mardi Gras is the ticket, to keep us on the up and up to keep it going and to partner with whoever we need to partner with is the goal for the foreseeable future," said Sneed.
The event helps other non-profits as well.
If you'd like to be a sponsor for next year, visit Mardigrashuntsville.com.