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An inspiring thing happened when the Annie Malone parade was canceled

They decided on a 5-day long virtual parade, and it exceeded expectations.

ST. LOUIS — “So, the Annie Malone Parade is probably one of the most anticipated community events. You actually have to be there to feel the energy; just the vibe.”

When the parade was canceled because of COVID-19, organizers wondered if a virtual event was even possible.

Pat Washington, Vice Presidents of Development and External Affairs, called motivational speaker Koran Bolden for help.

“But how do you have a virtual parade? You can't put all those pieces together. And remember, this is the second largest African American parade and one of the oldest,” said Washington.

 “We talked about it, we brainstormed, and after, you just think so much, the only thing you can do left next is to execute. We wanted to be able to make it something that would feel a little bit like tradition,” said Bolden.

They decided on a 5-day long virtual parade.

“We just had different people that came online, and they would talk live, and we had a zoom conference. And so, different people that are normally seen in the parade got a chance to still be a part of the parade and still help us raise money in the process. And people tuned in from all over the city,” said Bolden.

The whole time, people donated to support Annie Malone Children & Family Services.

Parade revenue varies from year to year. This year, the parade exceeded their expectations.

“By 5 p.m., we had raised $76,000. We are now up to $82,000 and still counting. The primary mission is to prevent child abuse, neglect and trauma in children, and to help create and maintain stronger and healthier families,” said Washington.

You can still donate by visiting anniemalone.com.

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The parade is the second oldest African American parade in the country, and the largest fundraiser for the Annie Malone Children and Family Service Center ST. LOUIS - For 110 years, the Annie Malone May Day Parade been a St. Louis tradition.