The 2020 parade occurred just before full quarantine began but the village has been unable to celebrate St.Patrick since. (File photo)

Forest Park’s Chamber of Commerce board voted early this month to postpone the already postponed St. Patrick’s Day Parade from Sept. 18 to March 5, 2022.

Here’s what happened and why.  In 2020 the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade took place as scheduled on March 7,  just one week before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. The chamber board at that time optimistically hoped that the virus would be contained in a year and put the parade on its calendar for 2021.  

That would have been March 6, but as everyone knows, the virus was still on the rampage in March, so last spring the chamber postponed the parade till Sept. 18 not wanting the event to become a super spreader. Now though, the chamber board, noting the rise in cases in Cook County, issued the following statement:

“Out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our business and residential community, the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce made the difficult decision to cancel the Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day Parade that was to be held on Sept. 18. With rising COVID cases and the emergence of the Delta variant along with additional strain the event would put on restaurants and bars that are already struggling with staffing issues, the chamber feels that cancelling this event is the responsible thing to do for our community as a whole.”

Laurie Kokenes, the chamber’s executive director, emphasized the word “difficult” in her organization’s statement and said, “We were very much looking forward to hosting the St. Patrick’s Day parade. It’s a great event that’s enjoyed by thousands of families and parade goers each year. The parade not only brings in much-needed revenue for both the bars and restaurants and the chamber, but it also draws traffic to town and keeps Forest Park’s name on the map.”