Detroit's St. Patrick's Day Parade, one of country's largest, canceled again

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

For the second year in a row, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed a beloved Detroit tradition — the St. Patrick's Day parade.

Parade organizers on Thursday morning said that given the safety protocols that would have to be followed, they realized it would be "difficult" to host and promote this year's event, planned for March 14. The parade typically draws between 80,000 and 100,000 people and is one of the largest St. Patrick's Day parades in the country.

Michael Kelly, president of the United Irish Societies, which puts on the parade, said they made the decision to cancel with "heartfelt disappointment." Kelly is already planning for 2022.

Patrick Fitzpatrick Irwin waves the Irish flag during the 2012 St. Patrick's Day Parade along Michigan Avenue in Detroit.  Modern St. Patrick's Day celebrations are a far cry from those of the city's first Irish settlers, who date back to 1808.

“We’re looking forward to the biggest and most successful Detroit St. Patrick’s Parade in our history on Sunday, March 13, 2022," he said in a press release. "We’ll transform Corktown, Detroit’s oldest neighborhood, and Michigan Avenue, home to industry, dreamers, entrepreneurs and more, into a celebration of Irish history, culture and opportunity.”

The parade raises funds for several Irish charities, and the United Irish Societies has donated more than $32,500 since 2018 to organizations such as St. Patrick’s Senior Center, Bridges Beyond Boxing and the Capuchin Soup Kitchen.

The Detroit St. Patrick's Day Parade, which dates back 62 years, was last held in 2019.