DAPHNE – The last Eastern Shore Mardi Gras parade scheduled for 2021 was called off when the Daphne City Council voted to revoke the parade permit for the Shadow Barons due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19
The Daphne men’s organization had been scheduled to roll Feb. 13.
The council had approved a parade permit for the group in November. On Monday, Jan. 4, council members voted unanimously to cancel the permit.
Councilman Ron Scott said the parade permit had been issued with the understanding that the city could cancel the event if COVID-19 continued to be a threat.
“We said that we would reserve the right to change our minds, basically, based on what was happening with COVID,” Scott said. “We are, as a community, probably at the worst part of COVID that we have been and it doesn’t appear that the vaccine is going to be able to be distributed in enough quantity to be able to stem the tide anytime soon and I personally think it would be irresponsible if we had approved a large public gathering at this point.”
In a letter to the City Council, the organization asked that the Shadow Barons be allowed to parade members and parade watchers be allowed to make up their own minds whether to take part.
“As an organization, our thoughts are quite simple and grounded in the belief that the people should be given the privilege of choosing to attend a parade or not. For the last two decades, we have paraded during cold and flu season. People had a choice as they do now. The simple math and statistics do not bear any difference year over year, however, we as citizens have had our choice options diminished by national and state leaders over the last 10 months. We are asking that as our local council, you do not fall in line in not having faith in our citizens to choose what is right for them,” part of the statement said.
Scott said all other parade organizations in Daphne had decided to call off their parades and that canceling the Shadow Barons permit was in the best interest of the city and residents.
“As much as I don’t desire to be what I call a nanny state. I would prefer that the organization had decided on their own like others have done not to have the parade,” Scott said, “I think it’s incumbent on us to help them make a what I think would be a wise decision, so I’m in favor of rescinding the approval of the parade.”
The two other Daphne parade groups, Apollo’s Mystic Ladies and the Loyal Order of the Fire Truck, canceled their parades, according to city officials. In Fairhope, the four parades scheduled for the 2021 Carnival season, the Knights of Ecor Rouge, Maids of Jubilee, Mystic Magnolias and the Mystic Mutts pet parade, were also called off by organizers.