After Lawrence’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade was canceled last year out of precaution for COVID-19, a “reverse” parade was held this year instead. Spectators walked down Mass Street where storefronts were decorated, and a variety of bars and restaurants had specialty deals in honor of the holiday.
Kay Traver, a member of the parade’s planning committee for 28 years, said they decided to have a “reverse” parade because it was the safest option.
“We got a lot of participation from around town, including people who did a little extra to decorate their homes,” Traver said. “Our theme this year was ‘Keeping the Luck Alive.’”
Mandy Denton, an employee at Red Lyon Tavern, said she was hoping for nicer weather, so more people could use the outdoor seating. However, the bar experienced better turnout than expected.
“People still want to get out and have some fun, so we’re helping them do that as safely as possible,” Denton said. “We still have the same protocol inside, like masks while you’re standing and social distancing.”
Watkins Museum of History planned to have outdoor exhibits related to St. Patrick’s Day, however the rain prevented it from happening. The panels provided information on the history of celebrations in Lawrence, Will Hickox, Public Engagement Coordinator at Watkins, said.
“While some American cities have had St. Patrick’s Day celebrations since the 1760s, Lawrence celebrations were originally small gatherings,” Hickox said. “The annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Lawrence started in 1988. Until 2020, the parade ran in all kinds of weather, growing in community participation from its start until today.”
"It was definitely a smaller and slower turnout because there wasn’t a parade,” said Jonah Wigrinis, an employee at Red Lyon Tavern. “But because we’re in a pandemic, no one knew what to expect.”
Traver said an in-person parade next year is possible, but they will have to take state mandates into consideration, such as mask-wearing and social distancing.