ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — With a long list of events in Rockford being placed on hold, due to the risk of Coronavirus, festival organizers and businesses already feel the impact.
PaddyFest and the St. Patrick’s Day parade are among the list cancelled.
PaddyFest organizers said they understand it’s what’s best for the public, but since it’s been a long standing tradition they didn’t want it to not go on.
“It’s a tradition, 44 years we’ve been doing this,” said Irish Marching Society President, Danny McDade. “This is the first time we were basically cancelled, we didn’t cancel it.”
He said he wasn’t shocked that the events were cancelled.
“We want everybody to be healthy and we want everybody do the right things for the right reasons,” McDade said.
The Rock River was going to be dyed green, McDade said that was going to be a hit.
“It was going to be a blast, and this year everybody was so ratcheted up, the community I could tell they were really behind it,” he said. “Everybody wanted to come down to see it, so boy I tell ya having the rug yanked out from under ya.”
Down the street Rockford Art Deli has been flooded with calls, and customers want to know if the shops free print day will still be held.
Workers are asking the public what they would prefer.
“This time just so we can try to get everybody their free prints on their shirts, and cater to everybody who wants to come we want to spread it out between Friday, Saturday and Tuesday so everyone has a chance to come on down to our shop and enjoy the free print,” Rockford Art Deli’s Social Media Coordinator, Emily Sotakoun said.
They said they will be prepared.
“We will have a lot of hand sanitizer, a lot of wipes, we’ll spray down all the door handles and make sure that we’re prepared,” she said.
As for future St. Patrick’s Day festivities McDade said, “we had always discussed or tried to have a halfway to St. Patty’s Day party or an Irish Fest in Rockford.”
“We will carry on and we’re just going to…you know like the Irish do we’re just going to pick ourselves up and keep on going,” he continued.
As organizers look to the future for celebrations, it’s important to stay on top of your health now.
If you don’t feel well the Winnebago County Health Department suggests staying home.
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