It appears that the 2020 Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade saga has finally come to an end. After voting 4-3 in support of the parade during an emergency council meeting Tuesday night, the council took another emergency vote at Wednesday night’s council meet to vote to revoke the parade permit from the Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade organizers due to the coronavirus pandemic.
At Tuesday’s Newport City Council Meeting, Bova at first spoke in favor of canceling the parade before changing her decision after hear public testimony. Bova was the ultimate swing vote to support the parade in a 4-3 vote.
The vote to revoke the parade license and cancel the Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade was 7-0.
This is the first time in its 64-year history that the Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been cancelled. The closest it has ever come to being cancelled was in the 1980’s when Newport was hit with a blizzard and was one of the only parades to march in the North East.
The parade had been billed to be held “rain, snow, or shine,” on Saturday, March 14th and was to begin promptly at 11:00am from Newport City Hall and was to proceed to Carroll Avenue at Saint Augustin’s Church in the heart of the Fifth Ward.
This is a devastating blow to Newport businesses who are still recovering from the financial beating they suffered during the 2019 gas outage. Historically, the Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade is known as a coming out party of sorts after a long and slow winter season.
The 2020 parade was to be dedicated to Frederick “Fred” Margolis (1935 – 2016) and Maurice “Morris” Margolis (1937 – 2017) with Brent Ryan and Derek Luke of Newport Craft Brewing & Distilling serving a Grand Marshalls.
It’s not all bad news though. Tavern on Broadway, La Forge Restaurant, Gurney’s, Dockside and The Deck will all soldier on and will hold their scheduled St. Patrick’s Day celebrations on Saturday, March 14th.
Tavern on Broadway will host their Irish Breakfast from 9am – 1pm with drink specials running all day. The Irish punk/rock n roll band The O’Tooles will play from 1pm till 4pm. (no cover)
La Forge Casino Restaurant will still have their St. Patrick’s Day celebration on Saturday with Guinness, Corned Beef Hash & Cabbage, and Dave Manuel will be on the piano playing some Irish tunes! (no cover)
And on Sunday, La Forge will have their legendary Irish Lunch Buffet with live Irish music.
“Parade or no parade, we’re celebrating the parade as if it was happening, ” said Tavern on Broadway owner Jim Blumel. “We’re going full throttle and we’ve been disinfecting Tavern since the beginning of the outbreak.”
La Forge put out a statement regarding their efforts.
“La Forge cares about your safety and well-being during the spread of the coronavirus. We personally want to make you aware of La Forge’s efforts that are underway amid the growing concerns around the coronavirus,” the statement said. “Please note that we will have hand sanitizer at the front door and have increased the frequency of our sanitation protocols. We encourage you to wash your hands every 2-4 hours and avoid touching your face.”
Jim Quinn from the Newport Blues Cafe weighed in.
“Newport St. Patrick’s Parade Day is the day we all look forward too after a long Winter, and especially with us only being there for another 3 weeks. We’re hoping people will still come out and celebrate the day, said Quinn. “We certainly understand the concern but with the parade being an open air event and the virus affecting a more senior population, we really didn’t think it would be canceled, especially with NYC still moving forward with theirs. With all that we’ve heard and read this really seems to add to the hysteria surrounding the virus adding more to a panic situation when the major precautions seem to be proper hygiene and sanitation. Happy Parade Day That Wasn’t 2020 , hope to see you there.”