Detroit's St. Patrick's Parade is once again canceled due to COVID-19

click to enlarge Detroit's St. Patrick's Day Parade, 2017. - MIKE FERDINANDE
Mike Ferdinande
Detroit's St. Patrick's Day Parade, 2017.

Pour out some green beer — or better yet, drink a pint alone, at home, where you've been since, well, last St. Patrick's Day, because this year's festivities in Detroit are once again canceled.

What would have been the 63rd annual Detroit St. Patrick's Parade on March 14 is no longer happening because COVID-19 not only continues to pose a threat to large gatherings, but now there are several new mutated and hyper-contagious variants of the virus. Not to mention, with Michigan's vaccination rollout underway, the next few months are crucial in the fight against COVID-19.

St. Patrick's Parade-adjacent events, like the Corktown Races, have also been canceled this year.

“As we continue to follow the COVID-19 safety protocols, it became very clear that it would be difficult to promote and host the 2021 Detroit St. Patrick’s Parade in a way that maintained safety for our sponsors, members, participants, and viewers,” The United Irish Societies (UIS) President Michael Kelly said in a press release. “Therefore, with heartfelt disappointment, the UIS and Detroit St. Patrick’s Parade Committee have decided to cancel the 2021 Detroit St. Patrick’s Parade this year.”

If any of this is at all triggering to you, it might be because on March 11, 2020 — just four days before the St. Patrick's Parade was scheduled to take place and one day after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Michigan's first two confirmed coronavirus cases — the parade was canceled, making it one of the first major Detroit-based events to pull the plug to keep people safe. And, as we know now, things have not been the same since.

The parade, which normally attracts somewhere around 80,000 people along the parade route near Sixth Street and Michigan Avenue in Corktown, is known for its marching band performance, festive floats, color guards, and clowns.

“We’re looking forward to the biggest and most successful Detroit St. Patrick’s Parade in our history on Sunday, March 13, 2022,” Kelly said. “We’ll transform Corktown, Detroit’s oldest neighborhood, and Michigan Avenue, home to industry, dreamers, entrepreneurs, and more, into a celebration of Irish history, culture, and opportunity.”

We should be so lucky.

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