UTICA, N.Y. – The 2021 Utica St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee says the event will not take place in March this year.
The Utica St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been an annual event for over 30 years. It’s considered one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parades in New York. Due to the pandemic, it didn’t happen last year, and it’s been canceled for this March, but Parade Committee members are hopeful it can still happen in 2021.
Patrick McGrath is the co-director for the Utica St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
"The faces on the people when it’s all over from the volunteer aspect, and the fact that it went well, and we put on a parade for the community that everybody enjoyed, and we kept it as safe as possible," he said. "I think that’s what I’ll miss, and especially being able to support those small businesses once the parade is over."
Message from Parade Directors: The Utica St. Patrick's Day Parade committee has officially voted to cancel the parade...
Officials say they are discussing the possibility of holding the parade later in the year, but it will depend on health and safety guidelines.
Many local taverns and restaurants will likely miss out on the financial boost they’ve come to expect in March, but it’s nothing compared to the pandemic regulations imposed by State government.
David Wood is also a co-director of the Utica St. Patrick’s Day Parade. He talked about the financial impact to local business.
"It’s been almost a year now of this problem. I don’t know if we would be making or breaking anyone having this parade or not unfortunately," he said.
The parade committee takes months organizing everything from police availability to mass gathering permits, but scheduling is the biggest challenge this year.
"That’s our number one challenge is to get the people who participate and walk down the parade route involved. That’s going to be the number one," said McGrath.
Parade organizers will be working around other events like the Utica Boilermaker so emergency services aren’t overwhelmed. Right now Patrick McGrath says their number one goal is the health and well-being of everyone.
"We’re a very strong community that knows that we are doing everything we can on the parade end to provide this event at some point for these people, and they’ll be back, and these people will be stronger than ever. The greater Utica community. That’s for sure."
A final decision on whether to have the parade will be made by July. You can go to the Utica St. Patrick's Day Parade facebook page for the latest parade updates.
The Syracuse St. Patrick's Day parade has also been canceled.