NJ towns canceling St. Patrick’s Day parades for 2021
The luck of the Irish is not with the committees for New Jersey St. Patrick's Day parades as many have been cancelled for this year, some for the second time.
Early parades like the one in Belmar were held as scheduled in 2020 while others were canceled as concern over the pandemic grew and restrictions were put into place to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Although the parades are nearly two months away, parade committees need to make a decision now for several reasons, including the logistics of booking bands and participants.
"Part of it is the logistics and the financing that have to go into the parade from the organizers end. Getting bands there, getting all that set up take a lot of time and effort and really a lot of money," Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin told New Jersey 101.5 after announcing the cancellation of the Mercer County parade for the second year in a row.
Martin said the parade organization lost money when the 2020 parade was canceled and has not been able to do a lot of fundraising.
Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac said that once a contract with a group is signed they have to be paid, parade or no parade.
"Once you book them you pay them," McCormac said.
The other big factor is the current executive order, which limits outdoor gatherings to 25 people with social distancing being practiced. It's not clear when those limits will be increased or adjusted.
"Right now you can only have 10 inside and 25 outside. What are the chances it's going to go to 10,000 in six weeks? That's what we have at our parade," McCormac said.
McCormac said there are plans for a "half way to St. Patrick's Day" concert in September with bands, Irish step dancers, the parade marshals.
"We might even have beer," McCormac said.