South Boston’s annual St Patrick’s Day Parade, scheduled for March 15, may be canceled due to snow piled up along the parade route.
“We’re trying to see if there is a way to do something creative to continue the parade,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh told WGBH’s “Boston Public Radio” on Friday. “But today, I don’t see how it goes through the neighborhoods.”
Weather experts are expecting temperatures to read the mid-40s next week, but that may not be warm enough to melt the snow, reports the Boston Globe.
To make matters worse, some forecasts say that even more snow is expected next week.
“If we get any more snow, it’s kaput,” said parade organizer Brian Mahoney. “But if we get no more snow and it’s warm and it rains, maybe it can work.”
The mayor said that while bulldozers and dump trucks are being used to clear the snow accumulated across Boston, the city had not yet focused their efforts on the parade route. Snow clearing crews are continuing their work this weekend, with a focus on polling places in East Boston, where an election is scheduled for Tuesday.
Walsh said that to clear snow from the parade route would be “very costly to the city and very complicated logistically.”
“I have concerns about the amount of snow on the route and the amount of cars buried that haven’t been dug out on the route,” Walsh said. “It’s not snow anymore, it’s ice.”
The mayor and City Council Bill Linehan will meet with parade organizers next week to discuss what can be done about the parade.
“You could shorten the route, you could change the route, and you could change the day,” said Linehan. He added that the parade was postponed until April one year.
The parade could also take an alternate route, possibly traveling from South Boston to downtown or using the same path the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl parade used earlier this month, which traveled down Boylston, Tremont, and Cambridge streets.
Mahoney said that parade organizers are open to suggestions but would be reluctant to change the route as it has a special significance.
Boston’s St Patrick’s Day Parade is linked to Evacuation Day, which commemorates a Revolutionary War victory on March 17, 1776, when colonists forced British trips to evacuate by secreting cannons on Dorchester Heights. The parade traditionally passes this prominent hill in South Boston.
The parade this year also holds particular importance for Walsh, reports The Boston Globe. When he became mayor last year, Walsh boycotted the parade because organizers refused to allow openly gay marchers. He has continued to lobby against the prohibition, and this year organizers approved an application by OUTVETS, a group honoring lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender military veterans.
“This is long overdue,” said Walsh the son of Irish immigrants. “This year, I look forward to marching in the parade.”
However, the snow is going to make it “extremely difficult” to have the route ready in two weeks.
“I really don’t want to see it canceled,” Walsh said, “because it’s a tradition.”