PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Peoria Saint Patrick’s Day parade is canceled for the second year in a row, but some Irish bar and restaurants owners say the decision isn’t ending all celebrations.
The St. Patrick Society of Peoria points to the ongoing pandemic and low parade registration as reasons for the decision.
“It’s not good that we lost the parade down to drive-thru capacity originally, but not having it at all is even worse,” said Sean Kenny, the owner of Kenny’s Westside Pub.
Last year, after planning, cooking, and stocking up for Saint Patrick’s Day, many bars and restaurants were shut down and the parade was also canceled.
Pat Sullivan, the owner of Kelleher’s says it’s unlucky that the parade is canceled again. It usually draws a crowd to his business.
“A lot of times we’re busy right at lunchtime when we have the parade in that time frame because it’s noon, one o’clock when it’s just getting over,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan says he’s still hosting a St. Patrick’s Day party.
“This year, we’re going to have tents and we’re going to have Irish music going. We’ll get everybody spread out further but we’ll have tents and plenty of Guinness and so forth to go around,” said Sullivan.
On Monday, the City of Peoria, Peoria County, and Peoria City/County Health Department sent out a letter to remind business owners of the COVID-19 protocols ahead of the holiday.
“We’ve been dealing with this kind of stuff for a year so we’re just going to try and do the right thing and have the best St. Patrick’s Day that we can have,” said Kenny.
Kenny says it’s a big holiday and brings in a pot of gold.
“It’s our most important day of the year. We plan our whole year around what happens in March, and we kinda got robbed of that last year,” said Kenny.
He says people can feel comfortable whether you’re going out or staying in.
“Those that want to come out and celebrate safely sure can and we can do carry out corned beef and cabbage all day,” said Kenny.
Both business owners say they’re hoping for next year’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade and events to return in full capacity.