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Thursday, February 14, 2013
The question asked by Jim Baldwin in Tad Dicken’s article “Festival going less green this year” (Feb. 10 news story) remains unanswered: “Why mess with the formula?”
It has taken 20 years to develop the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Celtic festival into an event that draws an estimated 15,000 people to Roanoke. The parade-goers and those who remain for the Celtic festival brave unpredictable March weather because of the Celtic theme, the Celtic music and food, and to enjoy “being Irish for the day.”
Instead of continuing what works — bagpipers, pipe and drum bands and dancers — we now see a step backward away from the Celtic emphasis of the day. Apparently, the thought is that visitors to downtown Roanoke to view the second largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the Southeast will remain to be entertained by “a couple of Irish- and Celtic-flavored acts” and “a couple of rock and pop acts.”
Roanokers have spoken over the last 20 years. They appreciate what the St. Patrick’s Day celebration has become. They will speak again, and we will see declining attendance and a resulting economic decline, to the detriment of downtown restaurants and shops.
Why mess with the formula?
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