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St. Patrick’s Parade organizers plan return to Syracuse

Syracuse St. Patrick's Parade
Syracuse St. Patrick's Parade Website

The Syracuse St. Patrick’s Parade is heading back to the streets for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Planning meetings are underway this week for the event.

Parade President Janet Higgins said when COVID-19 hit in 2020, and the parade was canceled at the last minute, it was awful for her, logistically and personally.

"I had to come home to my children and grandchildren and tell them, and they were not happy,” said Higgins.

So now, Higgins is thrilled that after a two year hiatus, the parade will be back, celebrating its 40th anniversary with the theme “Dance Through Downtown.” Higgins hopes to kick off the parade with 2,022 dancers in the streets.

She said parade goers can plan to see Irish dancers, pipers, fire trucks, and bands, but she is still waiting to hear from several larger groups, who she believes may be keeping an eye on the COVID-19 numbers before officially committing.

While at this point, there are no official COVID-19 restrictions for the parade, Higgins advises everyone planning to go to the parade to assess their own risk factors.

"If they want to wear masks, by all means, wear masks,” said Higgins. “If they want to social distance, social distance. We're all adults. I think we should all be able to make our own best judgment decisions."

She said, at this point, she’s confident the parade will go on as scheduled.

“It’s a done deal,” said Higgins. “The Omicron wave is, I think, it’s headed toward an endemic not a pandemic, and now that the mask mandates are lifted, I have no qualms that it’s going to go forward.”

Parade organizers plan to work closely with city and county officials in the weeks to come to create a safe and fun experience for the community.

"My hope is that I get to see the smiles again on the all the little kids' faces,” said Higgins. “I love to see their little faces and their smiles and the awe.”

The parade is scheduled to kick off Saturday, March 12th at noon.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.