Irish Eyes Are Crying Rockaway St. Pat’s Axed

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 It’s official. The highlight that ends each winter, the Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day Parade, is cancelled.

Earlier this week, The Rockaway Times had contacted parade organizer Michael Benn regarding any changes to the parade, which was scheduled to take place just five weeks away on March 6, but we did not receive a response by press time. However, a message on the website for the Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade revealed the sad news. The website reads, “Our 46th Annual Parade will be held March 2022. Covid-19, All 2021 Permits Cancelled.” Instead, this year’s parade will simply feature an online compilation of prior parade highlights to “continue our tradition and keep in mind the safety of all our marchers and community during these trying times,” the website says.

The 46th Annual Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade is officially scheduled for March 5, 2022.

The Rockaway Times broke the news of the cancellation on social media. The news reflected coming full circle as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc almost a year later. Last year’s 45th Annual Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day Parade marked the last occasion where the community came together and celebrated before New York City announced a full lockdown about a week later with school and business closures. It was also the last St. Patrick’s Day parade for the season as the New York City parade on March 17 was cancelled. However, the date of last year’s parade, March 7, also coincided with the first patient in Queens diagnosed with coronavirus being admitted to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, showing that the virus had announced its presence on the peninsula.

The news of this year’s parade being cancelled was met with mixed reaction on social media. While some responded that this is the right call given the circumstances, many were disappointed to hear the news and others called it “ridiculous” given that the parade is held outdoors. Some even discussed staging a “protest” and unofficial plans to keep the parade tradition alive are already being discussed among locals.

A note on the official parade website hinted against taking the risk. “Thank you for supporting us in our parade. Please be extra careful with this tremendous Coronavirus. Don’t take any chances. Use all necessary caution and care.”

This news comes as the status of local restaurants and bars, that would normally be packed on parade day, still remains unknown. While Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced he would ease some lockdown restrictions across the state, as we go to press, plans to ease the ban on indoor dining in New York City bars and restaurants have not been announced.

In addition to the parade, all parade fundraising events, including the installation ball at Antuns, are also cancelled. However, donations can still be made to support next year’s parade. Tax deductible donations can be made out to P.O. Box 82, Rockaway Beach, NY 11693 or the Parade Committee, c/o Michael Benn, 181 Beach 112th Street, Rockaway Park, NY 11694.

For information about the parade, check out https://queenscountyparade.org/

 By Katie McFadden

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