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COVID Again Triggers Cancellations, Including Tarrytown Halloween Parade

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September 15, 2021

By Robert Kimmel

For the second consecutive year, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on local Halloween activities. One of Tarrytown’s most anticipated events, its Halloween Parade has been jettisoned following earlier plans for its appearance. “After much thought and deliberation, the 2021 Tarrytown Halloween Parade has been cancelled to protect our most precious attendees, our children,” the Village announced yesterday.

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The message went on to state, “This was not an easy decision, and we look forward to the parade returning in 2022. Thank you for all your support and enthusiasm.” The decision to cancel the parade was made Tuesday during a meeting of the parade committee and Village officials. Eliminated last year because of the pandemic, there was hope the event could take place this October. However, the emergence of the Delta variant and the rising number of children infected by Covid led to the decision.

Rich Slingerland, Tarrytown’s Administrator, further noted, “The Village of Tarrytown has been working very closely with our Halloween Parade Committee.  We’ve been monitoring the Halloween activities taking place in other communities, and in particular noted that White Plains and Nyack both cancelled their Halloween parades and/or block parties, in large part because so many of the event participants (estimated at as high as 50 percent of the attendees are children aged 12 and under) will be children who are below the age to be vaccinated.  Because of this, we are concerned that holding a large event where everyone is congregating in close quarters could create a superspreader event and put families and children at risk of infection.”

“We will still have the annual Trunk or Treat event down on the waterfront near the Recreation Department, and we are looking into booking a fun drive-in movie instead,” Slingerland said. “We’ll be back to have a bigger and better Halloween Parade and Block Party celebration in 2022 when everyone, including children, are all vaccinated.”

Children account for just 15.5 percent of total COVID-19 cases nationwide since the beginning of the pandemic; however, per the American Academy of Pediatrics, children accounted for 28.9 percent of the cases reported last week. Generally, children have had considerably less severe illness than adults who contract the disease. While vaccinations have been authorized by the FDA for youngsters 12 and older, they have not yet been approved for younger children. The FDA is evaluating that action.

Tarrytown’s Halloween parade has drawn as many as 4,000 spectators at some of those pageants since its inception in 2002. The parades have included bands, as many as 38 floats, and dozens of costumed participants, with a block party on Main Street following a procession that starts at Patriots Park and moves along Broadway.

Among other cancelled nearby fall events are the Old Dutch Church Fest, Horseman’s Hollow and the Sleepy Hollow Experience. Dobbs Ferry Mayor Vincent Rosillo has announced the cancellation of his Village’s October Festa event, which typically draws thousands. Citing the Delta variant, he stated, “After seeing other outdoor gatherings drawing daunting crowds in places like Provincetown, Mass., leading to an uptick in cases, we decided that it is best to wait until next year to celebrate together.”

Rosillo went on to explain, “75.7 percent of our community has at least one dose of the vaccine, and those who are vaccinated are very rarely hospitalized with COVID.  Nevertheless, the latest research demonstrates that vaccinated individuals can transmit the delta variant of the virus, and we have many in our Village, including children under 12, who are still not eligible to receive the vaccine. We just did not want to take the risk with Festa.”

Coming area events scheduled to take place as planned are the Sleepy Hollow Craft & Street Fair on Beekman Avenue, Oct. 10; Irving’s “Legend,” at Washington’s Irving’s Sunnyside in Tarrytown, next month; and The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, which returns to Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson this Friday.

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