WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The North Country Goes Green Irish Festival is postponed due to concerns about the new coronavirus.
The Watertown YMCA also postponed Saturday’s Shamrock Run, which coincides with the festival.
The festival had been planned for Friday through Sunday at the Dulles State Office Building in Watertown.
Organizers say they’re disappointed, but they’ll try to reschedule. They had already set up chairs, tables and decorations and some food was already prepared.
Organizers say they had made shepherd’s pie and corn beef for the event, but they didn’t make that much in anticipation of last-minute changes.
There’s no word yet on what they’ll do with the food that’s already made, but they are working on returning unopened food and ingredients.
Although organizers say cancelling the event was their decision, it also happens to line up with an announcement Governor Cuomo made Thursday that New York will ban most gatherings of more than 500 people beginning at 5 p.m. Friday.
“So we’re going to take very dramatic actions in that regard. To reduce the number of people in a contagious environment, no gathering with 500 people or more,” said Cuomo.
All festival events, including the parade, Donegal Beard Contest and Miss Ireland Pageant, are postponed.
Organizers put out the following news release:
"Out of an abundance of caution during the novel coronavirus outbreak, North Country Goes Green has announced the postponement of the 35th Annual North Country Goes Green Irish Festival.
"The festival was originally scheduled for March 13, 2020, through March 15, 2020. Due to the volume of participants, attendees and spectators, the decision was made by festival organizers to postpone this year’s events for public health and safety.
"Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Jefferson County. Parade and festival organizers would like to take every possible precaution in an effort to keep members of our community safe and prevent individuals from contracting the virus.
"All festival events have been canceled for this weekend, including the pageants, Shamrock Run and the Irish Festival Parade. The committee will meet to reschedule at a later date.
“The committee would like to thank the volunteers for countless hours of preparation, as well the many sponsors and vendors for their understanding and support.”