ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke was not able to host its trademark St. Patrick’s Day Parade for the second straight year, but a crowd still came downtown to celebrate the occasion on Saturday.
Many people who came out said they’re celebrating not just St. Patrick’s Day, but the optimism of declining COVID-19 cases and loosened restrictions.
“This is our first burst of freedom, our first chance to really get out,” said Revonda Brown. “I’ve been working the vaccine clinics. Every time I’m there, there is the hope for all of us working and for everyone.”
Bruce Seligman survived a serious case of COVID-19 late last year. He came downtown because he’s grateful to live another day after his battle.
“When you’re in a hospital and you’re on oxygen, you may or may not come out,” Seligman said.
Several restaurants, including Martin’s, turned surrounding streets into outdoor seating space.
Martin’s owner Jason Martin said the day gives him hope that the parade and normal celebrations can return in 2022.
“I hope that people enjoy this as much as we enjoy having them,” Martin said. “It’s just a glimpse into what are hopefully better days ahead.”