KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Officials announced Thursday that the 48th Annual Kansas City St. Patrick's Day Parade has been canceled.
According to the release, the parade was canceled over fears of the spread of COVID-19.
Mayor Quinton Lucas had said Wednesday that the parade was still on, but recommended that anyone over 60 or with underlying conditions avoid the crowds. That changed after the Big 12 tournament decided to no longer allow fans at games due to similar fears.
"Canceling the parade was not a decision we made lightly," parade Sr. Co-chair Adam Cannon said in the release. "But, with the rapid developments that have occurred over the last 24 hours including the announcement from the World Health Organization and the President’s address to the nation, we feel that the most responsible thing we can do is cancel the parade.”
Parade organizers will meet in the coming hours to discuss a plan moving forward.
Organizers of the Snake Saturday Parade in North Kansas City also announced plans to cancel on Thursday.
It's the first time in parade history that it has been canceled, but the organizers are encouraging healthy people to get out and support local businesses anyway.
"The thought that we are canceling the parade for the first time in 36 years is very difficult for those of us that are on the committee currently and previous committee participants," organizer Mindy Hart Davis said. "You know we're all sad because we've weathered the snow and the sleet and the temperatures. We weren't going to let any of those things stop us. This is a little different."
All of the charities involved in the parade will still receive their prize money.