The annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration in Shamrock, Texas, has been canceled this year because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It’s the first time in almost 70 years that’s happened.
The festival’s board and steering committee voted Tuesday to cancel the event scheduled for March 18-21 and announced it would concentrate its energies on the 2022 festival, which would be the 75th such event.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, the St. Patrick’s Association stated:
After considering public health/safety and economic concerns, the St. Patrick’s Executive Board and Steering Committee voted to cancel the 2021 St. Patrick’s Day Celebration scheduled for March 18-21 at a meeting held at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 5, 2021. The voting committee, made up of current and past general chairpersons, reviewed state guidelines concerning public gatherings and active case and hospitalization rates and their implications. The committee also considered input from 20 local, regional and state health, government, industry, and school officials before voting unanimously to suspend the 2021 event and to focus on planning the 2022 75th Diamond Jubilee St. Patrick’s Day Celebration which will be held on March 17-20, 2022.
All committee members expressed significant regret that such a decision needed to be made, but after discussion, it became apparent that it was in the best interest of community safety and the economic impact on future St. Patrick’s celebrations.
The last time the festival was canceled was 1952, during the Korean War. The St. Patrick’s Day Celebration also took a hiatus from 1942 to 1949, part of which was World War II.
Texas in general has seen a big upswing in coronavirus cases. Wheeler County, where Shamrock is situated and has about 5,000 people, currently has an estimated 70 active cases of the disease.
A bit more history behind the festival:
Shamrock’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration was the idea of Glenn Truax, a Shamrock bandmaster.
Truax envisioned the town of Shamrock capitalizing on its Irish name and producing an annual one-day celebration to draw thousands of visitors to the Irish City.
With the help of the Shamrock Boosters Club, the first St. Patrick’s Day Festival was reeled off in successful fashion in 1938. The initial production attracted a few thousand people and 12 bands.
In 2013, the legislature designated the Shamrock event as the official St. Patrick’s Day celebration for the state of Texas.
(Image from the 2018 St. Patrick’s Day Celebration in Shamrock, Texas, by Barbara Brannon via Flickr)