Abington St. Patrick’s Day parade cancelled again

The lingering COVID-19 pandemic has again forced the cancellation of Abington’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.

The parade was among the first events cancelled last spring, as the seriousness of the pandemic became clear. A year later, vaccines are being rolled out, but not enough people will be inoculated by March 14 to make it safe for thousands to gather along the town’s streets, parade founder and Chairman Jack Bailey said.

“I’m very disappointed,” Bailey said. “But we knew even before the Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade was canceled there was no chance. With the rate of the virus going around, it couldn’t happen. It would have been unsafe.

Bailey founded the parade in 1979 to win a $20 bet. It has grown into one of the town’s most popular annual events, with thousands lining the roadways between Abington Center and North Abington Center.

Last year, 98 percent of parade sponsors said to roll over their donations until 2021, Bailey said. That money will again be carried forward to the 2022 parade.

The parade had never been cancelled in its four-decade history until last year. Even in 2015, when the region received more than 9 feet of snow in January and February, the parade went on, as the parade committee paid to have the sidewalks cleared.

Bailey kept the streak going last year – kind of; he once again arranged for St. Patrick to drive the parade route along with a couple other vehicles. He said there’s a “possibility” he could do the same thing again this year.

Anyone with questions can call Jack Bailey at 781-878-7785 or email him at kjbailey@verizon.net

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