GIRARDVILLE -- The annual St. Patrick's Day Parade is one of the biggest and most treasured traditions for the borough of Girardville. Monday night, parade organizers and borough officials made the decision that it wouldn't be safe to hold the parade this upcoming weekend, as originally scheduled.
Instead, they announced Tuesday afternoon, it will be held on April 8.
Ray Carfrey owns RC Top Cat's, a tavern on West Ogden Street in Girardville and one of the most popular stops along the parade route for the borough's annual parade day. The parade draws thousands of people from throughout Schuylkill County and beyond.
"It's one of the best days we have all year. When it first started, I could last maybe three-quarters of the year with just proceeds from the parade," Carfrey said.
His son was supposed to fly in from Indiana this weekend to help bartend. He won't be able to reschedule his trip for the postponed date. Carfrey says it will be only the second time he misses a parade in 14 years.
Tonya Weikle's parents live on Main Street along the parade route. She and her 6 year old look forward to the parade each year.
"I'm happy that they're still going to have it. Postponed is better than cancellation, absolutely. Mother Nature brought what she brought, and now we have to wait for her to get rid of it," Weikle said.
Last week's winter storm dumped nearly two feet of snow in Girardville. Borough officials have done the best they can to remove the snow with the funds they have.
"The problem is if you drove into town, you saw the snow piles. There's just no way anybody could park a car. There would be no place to put buses and so forth. The parade route wasn't exactly cleaned off yet," explained Joseph Wayne. Wayne is the president of the borough's parade.
"They'd be lined up along here, sitting down. You'd have a little walkway to go through there on the road," said Weikle as she pointed to the sidewalk in front of her house. She is still shoveling a week later and says it would be chaos if they tried to have the parade this weekend.
Parade organizers say they've never had to cancel or postpone a parade because of weather. With the snow still piled high along sidewalks, they think this was the decision that needed to be made.
"Unfortunately when this dumped on us, we weren't logistically able to keep up with it and take care of everything," said Girardville Mayor Joe Catizone.
Mayor Catizone and parade organizers say many out of towners who are booked to come in this weekend still are scheduled to do so, therefore extending the celebration to two weekends rather than one.
"Then more than likely, I believe on April 8, it's going to be more of a local crowd, more people that are kind of around the area will be celebrating on the 8th," Mayor Catizone said.
Parade officials received word Tuesday afternoon the new April 8 date is officially good to go. The parade will begin at noon that Saturday on East Main Street.