Rich Howells

Scranton and Wilkes-Barre St. Patrick’s Day parades postponed until September

Scranton and Wilkes-Barre St. Patrick’s Day parades postponed until September
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

On Sunday, the Scranton St. Patrick’s Parade Association announced that it will move its annual event from March to Saturday, Sept. 18, and today, Mayor George C. Brown followed suit and postponed the Wilkes-Barre St. Patrick’s Day Parade to Sunday, Sept. 19.

These are tentative dates, as the onset of the coronavirus pandemic postponed and ultimately canceled both events last year. The Pittston St. Patrick’s Parade has already canceled its 2021 event outright and set its next date for March 5, 2022, posting the following message on Facebook on Jan. 21:

Here in Pittston, we know that the luck of the Irish is strong. Over the last seven years, we have weathered some really, really cold parades and still had perfect days. Heck, three years ago, it snowed 8 inches on Friday and our committee and friends shoveled and plowed until we couldn’t move – but still pulled off a beautiful parade a few hours later.

As good as our luck has been, it’s not bigger than a global pandemic. As you can probably assume, due to COVID-19, we aren’t going to be able to have a grand parade this year. It breaks our hearts – trust us on this one – but we know it’s just not safe. We were one of the only Saint Patrick’s Parades in the world in 2020, and for that, we are grateful (and no one can ever complain our parade is too early ever again).

In true leprechaun fashion, we still have some tricks up our green sleeve to commemorate this year’s parade, so stay tuned for announcements. There’ll be some surprises – leprechauns are unpredictable and silly after all.

Our committee extends its most humble gratitude to the courageous frontline workers that have weathered this storm. We also extend our deepest sympathies to those who have lost loved ones to this virus.

Save the date for March 5, 2022. It will be the Best.Day.Ever.

Love, Sarah, Mike, & Committee

Last year, the Scranton St. Patrick’s Parade Association declared that its 59th annual event would proceed as scheduled before reserving that decision less than two days later after Philadelphia, Boston, and even Ireland canceled their parades. Wilkes-Barre’s 40th annual parade was postponed that same day.

Scranton boasts that it has the second largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the country (for cities with a population over 50,000), with over 12,000 participants and about 100,000 spectators annually. Local bars are typically packed with thousands of partiers who start early early in the morning and drink long into the night.

Some of those bars still held their own festivities last year, but current government restrictions will likely prevent large gatherings this year. However, the first-ever Scranton Ice Festival will make its debut on Friday, Feb. 5 through Sunday, Feb. 7, so downtown businesses are still planning safer, socially distanced events in 2021.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Lackawanna County has had a total of 10,807 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 1,690 probable cases, and 360 deaths attributed to the virus. Luzerne County has had a total of 21,374 confirmed cases, 1,652 probable cases, and 638 deaths. The department is also tracking the vaccine rollout, reporting 19,288 partial vaccinations and 5,244 full vaccinations administered in Lackawanna County and 24,620 partial vaccinations and 6,247 full vaccinations in Luzerne County.

See NEPA Scene’s photos of the 2019 Scranton St. Patrick’s Parade and the Parade Day party at The Bog here.

Photo by Scott Kucharski Photography/NEPA Scene