"Everyone is Irish one parade day," says Alexander Williams, of Dunmore. Everyone that is except the US Naval Academy Band. Just one day before the big celebration parade organizers got a call that the band had to cancel. Parade President Joe Burke says "nobody gave us a drop dead reason on why or how this all came about." They were told all military bands have been advised by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs that they are not to participate in any activities for the public. "Knowing the military and how they operate, will we ever get the nuts and bolts of it? Probably not," says Burke.
Patricia Murphy-Donnelly came from Corning, New York to see the parade. She says "I think that's really sad if it's because of the budget cuts because I think they should be here," but the Parade President says there are no hard feelings, "it's disappointing that they can't come. We were looking forward to it. They have been here before, they have been very good. It just is one of those things and we'll just have to go about it and we'll invite them back maybe next year or the year after."
People we spoke to gearing up for the Irish festivities are not worried about one missing band. Peter Angelo Oliver Kelly, Irish Wolf Pub Owner,
says "it's not going to affect anything. The same people come every year plus more. They are going to come and have a great time. And the weather will be spectacular because God is Irish, so it'll be good."
As the festivities are already underway Donnelly has one thing to say to parade goers "hey, have a freaking really great time, you know, and Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone!"
Eyewitness News did reach out to the Naval Academy Band, but we have not heard back with an official reason why they had to cancel. In the meantime, the Scranton St. Patrick's Parade steps off Saturday at noon and more than 100,00 people are expected to fill the streets.