Sunday May 29th, 2016 1:52AM

Confetti, fun fly as Shriners return to Helen

By Rob Moore Reporter
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HELEN - Just after 2 p.m. Saturday there was no doubt that the Shriners had returned to Helen.<br /> <br /> The group came back to the city this year for its Yaarab Shriners Helen Summer Ceremonial, culminating in Saturday afternoon's parade.<br /> <br /> Helen Police Chief Jim Couch estimates some 4,000 people turned out to watch Shriners' antics in that parade.<br /> <br /> But what are Shriners, some may ask.<br /> <br /> Shriners International is a fraternity based on fun, fellowship, and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief and truth. <br /> <br /> Atlanta's Yaarab Shrine, founded in 1889, is one of 195 chapters of Shriners International.<br /> <br /> According to the Yaarab Shrine website, Atlanta Shriners have been raising money for 125 years to support Shriners Hospitals for Children, and the more than 4,000 members contribute more than $800,000 annually to those hospitals.<br /> <br /> Shriners Hospitals for Children is a healthcare system of 22 hospitals that provide care for children up to age 18 with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate.<br /> <br /> Helen Mayor Judy Holloway is pleased the Shriners came back to Helen this year after an absence.<br /> <br /> "It's a lot of fun for one thing to see all of them and talk to them," Holloway said. "They do a great job with all the charity work they do. We're fortunate to have them back and hope they all enjoy themselves."
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