Cities plan Memorial Day celebrations as COVID-19 restrictions loosen

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With COVID-19 restrictions loosening in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, some cities and towns are announcing the return of Memorial Day celebrations.

Philly Pops will play its first concert in a year and a half on Memorial Day weekend. The group is returning to the stage at the Mann Center with a free show saluting veterans and first responders.

"To hear the applause, to see our patrons, to get all 65 of our musicians on stage," said Frank Giordano, the president and CEO of Philly Pops.

The group hopes to expand its capacity to more than 2,500 people.

"Not everybody goes to the shore on Memorial (Day) weekend, and we wanted to kick off the summer," he added.

Down the shore, cities and towns are getting ready for the return of crowds on Memorial Day weekend and are back to planning events.

"We're just going with it," said Absecon Mayor Kim Horton.

The city is holding its annual Memorial Day parade after having to cancel for the first time last year because of the pandemic.

"It may be a smaller version than what we normally have, but we don't care. We just think that we need to do this year," Horton said.

That's how the community in Wayne, Delaware County feels too.

The Radnor Memorial Day parade has been going on for more than 100 years, and the township says it will happen this year.

"I think it shows we're getting back to normal. The parade's a real family affair. It's a real community event," said Robert D'Amincantonio, a committee member of the parade.

In Wilmington, the Memorial Day Committee will meet with the city Wednesday to decide if the parade will happen. It's a tradition dating back to the 1800s that was scaled back to an observance last year.

Across the tri-state area, some people say the return of summer celebrations is an encouraging sign.

"People are just coming out. I think people are much more confident that things are safer now that people are vaccinated, but people want to get back out," said Deanna Doane, the president of the Wayne Business Association.

The return of summer events should mean a boost in tourism too.

Tourism leaders will gather at the Independence Visitor Center in Philadelphia Wednesday to announce initiatives to help the hospitality industry get back on its feet.
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