(WXYZ) — The annual 63rd annual Detroit St. Patrick's Day Parade in Corktown has been canceled, as well as the affiliated Corktown Races, normally scheduled for the Sunday before St. Patrick's Day.
The parade and races were scheduled for Sunday, March 14 and typically attract up to 100,000 people from around the metro area.
Organizers determined that canceling the parade and races would be best to keep the community safe amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Compared to last year, at least this year we had a little warning,” said Bob Roberts, who owns McShane’s Irish Pub and Whiskey Bar on Michigan Avenue.
He’s also the President of the Corktown Business Association. Roberts says business had been rough before the pandemic. That’s because restaurants relied on a boost from the North American International Auto Show every January.
The 2020 event was moved to summer and eventually canceled.
Restaurant owners had their eyes set on parade day — buying thousands of dollars worth of food and beer.
Normally, what they make on parade day equals a month’s worth of revenue. Roberts says at least three Corktown businesses have permanently shut down since last March.
“We cannot successfully pull off a safe parade in 2021,” said Michael Kelly of the United Irish Societies, who adds that it was a difficult decision to make.
They are now focused on trying to raise money for organizations that relied on the event as a fundraiser. The goal is to raise at least $6,000 for four groups.
“We will come up with some charities this year and we will make contributions to them also," Kelly said.
The parade is expected to return in 2022, and be bigger and better than ever.
"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,” said United Irish Societies president President Michael Kelly. “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,” Kelly said.