FAIRPORT HARBOR, Ohio — People in Fairport Harbor are celebrating Independence Day with a new spin on an old tradition.
The village’s annual Mardi Gras event, which takes place around the holiday, was cancelled in January due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials said they made the decision because they couldn’t predict where the state would be in the fight against the virus in July.
Now that COVID-19 safety restrictions have been lifted, the village organized its Red, White, and Blue Festival and Golf Cart Parade.
The festival was held in the village’s Memorial Park and Finn Hollow Park.
“Today it's nice because you get to see all your neighbors,” said Sarah Irvine, a Fairport Harbor resident who attended the festival.
Many, including Irvine, were thinking back to just a year ago when gatherings like the festival couldn’t happen and the city had to cancel Mardi Gras for the first time.
“It was like a ghost town. It was quiet, very quiet, nothing going on, nobody even out. It was definitely difficult,” said Irvine.
“It means a lot for the village. It means a lot to our local organizations, right from the schools to the businesses. So not to have that event for five days was really, really devastating,” said Tim Manross, the Mayor of Fairport Harbor. “It's good to have something this year with the Red, White and Blue Festival to still keep that July 4th Spirit alive here in the village.”
Festival visitors could enjoy food trucks, vendors, a DJ, and live music.
“It's like, really, I didn't know we had so many people around, you know, what it's like to have freedom,” said Clyde Patrick Ogborn, who attended the festival.
“I love it, you know what I mean? I think it speaks well to where we are as a nation. You know, we're getting the pandemic behind us and we're moving forward. That's what Americans do,” said Manross.
There are plans to bring back the full Mardi Gras event in 2022.
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