By Terry Duffy
St. Patrick’s Day 2021 in Buffalo Niagara will look different next month, as the region continues its rebound from the nearly yearlong COVID-19 pandemic.
In Niagara Falls, the Ancient Order of Hibernians Irish breakfast, scheduled for March 7, is postponed to this summer. The Lockport Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians is holding a virtual Guinness raffle at 7 p.m. tonight. Find details on the group’s Facebook page.
The annual O’Riordan St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Youngstown has been pushed to 2022.
Presented each year by the Youngstown Business and Professional Association, COVID-19 put the brakes on this year’s celebrations. Cheryl Irish Butera, president of the YBPA, said the business association approached the Youngstown Village Board of Trustees with a request to hold the 2021 parade March 13 on Main Street from Hinman Street on the south to Falkner Park on the north, as is tradition.
“Due to COVID-19 issues we are wondering if we could safely hold a modified parade, practicing safe measures,” Butera wrote to Mayor Raleigh Reynolds and the Village Board. “We are thinking vehicle use will be encouraged, i.e.: Volunteer Fire Company trucks, police cars, Lions, US Coast Guard, and local businesses vehicles, as well as the Old Fort Niagara guard and MacKenzie Highlanders – practicing 6 foot social distancing and masks wearing.
“All participants and bystanders will be required to be socially distanced and wear masks.”
“Notice of event will be limited to the YBPA membership, the Village of Youngstown and Town of Porter, and will be conducted entirely outdoors, a totally open-air environment.”
Butera noted YBPA had event insurance in place.
Despite those assurances, the Village of Youngstown decided it was best to not approve this year’s request for the parade.
“The Board discussed your request last night at the Board meeting. The Board feels that based on the current restrictions and spread of the virus at this time they cannot approve the request to hold the parade. The Board is hopeful that we will be back to a normal state soon and looks forward to future events,” Clerk-Treasurer Wendy J. Brown wrote in the village reply.
In response, YBPA said it would hold its 10th annual O’Riordan St. Patrick’s Day parade celebration starting at noon Saturday, March 19, 2022.
“The parade is such a fun tradition, but I'm sure folks will understand,” Butera said. “Looking forward to getting ‘back to normal!’ ”
She invited readers to check YBPA’s Facebook page for news and updates on next year’s event.
•Another local happening modified for COVID-19 is the Youngstown Lions Club’s annual “St. Patrick’s Cash” raffle fundraiser, which is typically held following the parade at the Youngstown Red Brick Village Center. Instead, Youngstown Lions will hold an online “Cash Bash” starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 17.
Youngstown Lions Club President Terry Cummings said, “The club has decided to hold a no in-person event without the usual party due to the COVID-19 regulations. Many worthwhile charities have asked the Lions for their assistance during the pandemic and, without the community’s continual support of the ‘Cash Bash’ fundraiser, it would be impossible for the Youngstown Lions to address their needs.”
Fifteen cash drawings will be held on St. Patrick's Day evening with prizes totaling $3,400. A list of winners will be posted after the draw at the following online locations: the Youngstown Lions Facebook page (www.facebook.com/youngstownNYlionsclub) and the Youngstown Lions website (www.youngstownlions.org).
Proceeds benefit Youngstown Lions Park, the Youngstown Lions Scholarship Fund in honor of the late Neil Riordan, and many other Lions-supported charities.
Tickets are available for a $20 donation. To purchase tickets, contact Suzanne DeJoseph ([email protected]/716-807-8875) Richard Allen ([email protected]/716-870-9722) or Terry Cummings ([email protected]/716-550-6268).
Tickets are also available at the Youngstown Village Diner, Stone Jug, Victoria’s Hair Salon, Coppins Service Center in Lewiston, Porter Town Hall, the Youngstown Barber Shop, Anchor Spirits and Wines and the Little Bakery in Niagara Falls.
“We Lions hope that in 2022 we are able to hold this fundraiser along with entertainment, food and refreshments. The Youngstown Lions Club would like to thank the community for their continued support of Lions fundraisers,” Cummings said.
•Still another St. Patrick’s Day happening that underwent change for 2021 is the annual concert/celebration featuring the Irish Wake Band. This popular event, featuring Pat Stack and a number of talented musicians, has been held in past years at the Somewhere bar/restaurant (currently operating limited operations due to the pandemic).
For 2021, the Irish Wake concert will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 17, at the Rapids Theater, 1711 Main St., Niagara Falls. Tickets are priced at $20 general admission and available online at https://www.outhousetickets.com/Artist/Irish_Wake_Band.