Irish Fest, parade canceled again
Some local New Dublin traditions remain
By John Faucher
For the second year in a row, the Shamrock Club of New London announced that it is cancelling their annual Grand Parade and Irish Fest due to COVID 19.
The club announced the cancellation Jan. 21, 2021, one year after the first confirmed case of COVID 19 hit the United States.
As of Monday, the United States has recorded 25 million confirmed cases of the virus and suffered 417,936 deaths.
As of Jan. 25, Waupaca County has reported a total of 4,636 positive cases, with 182 active cases. There have been a total of 146 deaths due to the pandemic in Waupaca County.
Historically, New London’s Grand Parade and Irish Fest are an economic boon for the city which typically draws crowds well in excess of 20,000 or more people on a single day in mid-March.
A year ago, club members and most Americans remained hopeful that the virus would pass quickly and 2021 would come back even bigger and better than ever.
That didn’t happen.
Ryan Lanning advertisement committee member for the Shamrock Club of New London told the Press Star in an email, “It is with regret that the Shamrock Club of New London is cancelling their annual Grand Parade and New Dublin Irish Fest due to COVID 19.
The safety of our patrons and club members remains our biggest concern.”
Lanning said the club is working on plans to continue its traditional Leprechaun Day March 15, Hooligan Day March 16, and an Irish entertainment and dignitary appreciation night March 19.
Lanning said the 2020 dignitaries will carry over for 2021, making them the first in history to hold the role two consecutive years.
Grand Marshal: Dorothy Neilson
Irish Man and Irish Rose: Bob and Terry Murphy
Irish Lad: Jack Flocker
Irish Lassie: Jasmine Villalobos
The Shamrock Club selects Irish Fest and Grand Parade dignitaries annually, since 1983.
Club member Judi Barrington reports this year the club’s traditional “Family Night” program held during St. Patrick’s week is renamed “Irish Entertainment and Dignitary Appreciation Night.”
“We didn’t want to make our 2020 dignitaries wait another year,” said Barrington.
“They were chosen because they are special to the Shamrock Club and deserve their special night.”
Dignitaries and their families will be honored and introduced Friday, March 19 in an evening of local entertainment and Irish celebration.
Leprechaun Day, Hooligan Day
Barrington said the club is still planning to celebrate Leprechaun Day Monday, March 15 and Hooligan Day, March 16.
Irish caroling March 17, is still tentative pending the club’s ability to ensure safety with COVID precautions in place.
“We want everyone to know we are alive and kickin’ here in New Dublin and will continue to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and being Irish however we can,” said Barrington.
April Kopitzke, executive director of the New London Area Chamber of Commerce, said not having the traffic from the grand parade and Irish Fest for a second year in a row will be difficult on local businesses.
She asked that the community continues to patronize and support local businesses by shopping and placing orders with them.
“I’m proud of the Shamrock Club of New Dublin for keeping what traditions we can alive. It’s important to remember that the normalcy we once knew will take time to get back to and rushing things may lead to regression,” said Kopitzke.
For more information, visit www.newdublin.com.