Wilmington's St. Patrick's Day parade canceled due to coronavirus fears


@VALUEZTV


Ryan Cormier,


The 45th annual St. Patrick's Day parade in Wilmington on Saturday has been canceled due to coronavirus, parade and city officials announced Thursday morning.


It will be the first time in 44 years that the parade has not been held, according to the Irish Culture Club of Delaware, the longtime parade organizers.

The post-parade hooley where revelers can purchase a glass mug for $20 for unlimited refills of keg beer is also called off.


"The group of us running the thing thought it would be stupid at this point," said parade chairman Patrick Kelly. "We spoke about keeping the hooley and scratching the parade, but the hooley is the most potent dilemma we have, jamming all these people in here next to each other.


"The whole world is in a tizzy and we're worried about canceling a parade? Just cancel the damn thing."

The Wilmington cancellations came a day after New York canceled its parade for the first time in more than 250 years, which followed the cancellation of parades in Boston and also overseas in Dublin, Ireland.


When Philadelphia's St. Patrick's Day parade scheduled for this Sunday was scrapped earlier this week, the Irish Culture Club of Delaware also canceled its annual bus trip to the 250th annual parade.


In the past, parade organizers have gone to great lengths to ensure the parade never missed a year, even in 1993 when a "superstorm" dumped more than a foot of snow in northern Delaware.


Not wanting to let the parade's streak end, Kelly dressed as St. Patrick just like he does every year and marched. The idea was to film it and send it in to "America's Funniest Home Videos."


When Kelly arrived at the parade site, former Philadelphia WPVI-TV reporter Lauren Wilson was in the middle of the street doing a story about the snowstorm.


Kelly went up to Wilson, now a spokeswoman for the Colonial School District, and told her she had to move because a parade was coming down the street.

"She busted up laughing and said, 'Oh my God, it's been canceled.' I told her nobody told us," Kelly told Delaware Online/The News Journal in 2015. "It was hysterical."


Her news crew shot his one-man parade and the footage soon went national. Kelly's family back home at North Dakota was watching CNN when they suddenly saw Kelly marching through the snow.


This time, Kelly won't be marching to keep the streak going. This is too serious a situation.


I'm scratching that," he said. "I would be the only jackass in the state doing it." 


Got a tip? Contact Ryan Cormier of The News Journal at rcormier@delawareonline.com or (302) 324-2863. Follow him on Facebook (@ryancormier), Twitter (@ryancormier) and Instagram (@ryancormier).


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