The Dayton area’s largest St. Patrick's Day celebrations were either canceled or significantly downsized on Thursday after Gov. Mike DeWine announced a state ban on most public gatherings of 100 or more people to try to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The ban applies to mass gatherings in any confined indoor and outdoor space, including festivals, parades and fairs, which doomed the largest celebrations.
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Steve Tieber — owner of the Dublin Pub in Dayton’s Oregon District, site of large-scale gathering of St. Patrick’s Day celebrants every year — said Thursday afternoon his pub will be open, but the traditional celebration under a large tent will not be happening.
Tieber said the Dublin Pub will begin serving breakfast at 5:30 a.m. and will have several bands on St. Patrick’s Day, but the street will not be blocked as planned.
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Tieber said the situation will be similar at Flanagan’s Pub, which also had planned a large-scale celebration that included a tent. Tieber had been coordinating with Flanagan’s Pub owner Nick Keyes Jr. on the two celebrations, and the shuttle bus that has traveled between the two St. Patrick’s Day destinations has been canceled, the Dublin Pub owner said.
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He said he and others may attempt to host a large St. Patrick’s Day-themed event later this year.
“We might just postpone St. Patrick Day until the weather is warmer and the sickness is gone. If that doesn’t work, we will be back next year,” Tieber said.
The city of Fairborn’s WTUE St. Pat-Rock’s Day event was canceled Thursday afternoon.
Mike Gebhart, Fairborn’s assistant city manager, said city officials consulted with the city’s event partner, iHeartMedia, which owns WTUE-FM, and decided to pull the plug on this year’s event.
The governor’s ban, Gebhart said, is designed to protect the health and well-being of Ohioans, “and we support that.
“We plan to bring it back next year, bigger and better,” Gebhart said.
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Mack’s Tavern owner MacKenzie Manley said Wednesday she is still planning to host the tavern’s “St. Mack-trick's Day Party” on St. Patrick’s Day.
The event will include a food truck, a 50-50 raffle benefiting Washington Twp. firefighters and Irish dancers.
Organizers of Carroll High School’s St. Pat Fest — a traditional fish fry on Friday followed by a carnival–style family-fun day on Saturday — decided Thursday to cancel much, but not all, of the event.
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All events Saturday are canceled, but on Friday, event volunteers plan to sell carryout orders of fish, coleslaw and French fries dinners for $10 between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., according to Carroll spokesman Michael Franz. Those who purchased pre-sale tickets will receive $5 off for next year’s fish fry. The St. Pat’s Fest auction will be held online.
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“Everything else Friday is canceled. Saturday is completely canceled,” Franz said.
St. Pat’s Fest is Carroll High School’s biggest event fundraiser, bringing in tens of thousands of dollars annually, he said. Pre-sale tickets were up for this year’s fish fry.
“We were expecting a record year,” he said. “It is disappointing that we had to cancel this event that so many in our community were looking forward to.”