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Houston Thanksgiving Day parade in jeopardy

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

For more than 60 years the Thanksgiving Day parade rolled down the streets of Houston without fail until now.

Kim Stoilis says, "in November prior to the parade we knew we were already short $50,000 to start the parade."

The dollar is why the board of directors at Houston Festival Foundation decided to end the annual event that's also televised.

President and CEO of Houston Festival Foundation Kim Stoilis says the parade has been in the financial hole for the last five years. For example: In 2011 the Thanksgiving day event generated $250,000 in sponsorships...But the cost of the parade was $385,000...That left the organization $135,000 in the red.

"It hadn't demonstrated in the past several years that we were finding the funding for the parade and that we needed to make the decision to no longer produce," says Stoilis.

After the news broke Wednesday Mayor Annise Parker's office issued a statement. Stoilis says as if it was news to the administration their operation of the parade was ending.

The Mayor's statement in part reads: "I am disappointed HFF is having difficulties and is walking away from producing the annual holiday parade..."

But Stoilis tells FOX 26 the Mayor's office and key executives in the administration have known they were ending the parade for financial reasons as far back as December.

Stoilis says, "we sent a notification to the Mayor's office of special events and let them know like very unfortunately we will not be producing the parade this year."

Stoilis' organization - Houston Festival Foundation - also produces the International Festival. She says that event is financially strong. In fact, the CEO says for the last few years they've used funds from I-Fest to sustain the parade.

In the meantime, Mayor Parker expressed disappointment with Houston Festival Foundation. She says the non-profit also sold the floats for $30,000 to another city.

"They've left us in a difficult position because they sold off the assets the parade floats," says Parker.

Stoilis says that's not quite right either. She tells FOX 26 News she attempted to sell the floats to the city of Houston as early as June and the city said no.

"We were asked to give the floats to the city...we have offered to negotiate the transfer of floats at a very very reduced rate so that they would stay in the city...in the end...we proceeded in selling the floats to the city of Hildalgo."

Parker says she's attempting to find new sponsors to keep the parade rolling in the city of Houston.

On Thu, Aug 8, 2013 at 5:25 PM, isiah carey <isiahcarey@gmail.com> wrote:

For more than 60 years the Thanksgiving Day parade rolled down the streets of Houston without fail until now.

Kim Stoilis says, "in November prior to the parade we knew we were already short $50,000 to start the parade."

The dollar is why the board of directors at Houston Festival Foundation decided to end the annual event that's also televised.

President and CEO Kim Stoilis says the parade has been in the financial hole for the last five years. For example: In 2011 the Thanksgiving day event generated $250,000 in sponsorships...But the cost of the parade was $385,000...That left the organization $135,000 in the red.

"It hadn't demonstrated in the past several years that we were finding the funding for the parade and that we needed to make the decision to no longer produce," says Stoilis.

After the news broke Wednesday Mayor Annise Parker's office issued a statement. Stoilis says that statement read as if it was news to the administration their operation of the parade was ending.

The Mayor's statement in part reads: "I am disappointed HFF is having difficulties and is walking away from producing the annual holiday parade..."

But Stoilis tells FOX 26 the Mayor's office and key executives in the administration have known they were ending the parade for financial reasons as far back as December.

Stoilis says, "we sent a notification to the Mayor's office of special events and let them know like very unfortunately we will not be producing the parade this year."

Stoilis' organization - Houston Festival Foundation - also produces the International Festival. She says that event is financially strong. In fact, the CEO says for the last few years they've used funds from I-Fest to sustain the parade.

In the meantime, Mayor Parker expressed disappointment with Houston Festival Foundation. She says the non-profit also sold the floats for $30,000 to another city.

"They've left us in a difficult position because they sold off the assets the parade floats," says Parker.

Stoilis says that's not quite right either. She tells FOX 26 News she attempted to sell the floats to the city of Houston as early as June and the city said no.

"We were asked to give the floats to the city...we have offered to negotiate the transfer of floats at a very very reduced rate so that they would stay in the city...in the end...we proceeded in selling the floats to the city of Hildalgo."

Parker says she's attempting to find new sponsors to keep the parade rolling in the city of Houston.

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