SCHENECTADY -- St. Patrick's Day traditionally attracts the largest crowd of the year to Schenectady's Hibernian headquarters on State Street.
Not this year. When Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday ordered bars, restaurants, gyms and other public places to close in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, he cancelled today's St. Patrick's Day celebrations all over the state.
Take-out service will be permitted. So John Ericson hopes a large crowd takes advantage of a quickly-assembled "drive through" service that will be in place outside the hall operated by Ancient Order of Hibernians, JFK Division 1.
Ericson, the Hibernian's corporate board president, said the drive-through will operate today between noon and 7 p.m. in the front parking lot of the hall located at 1748 State St.
"We will have our volunteers here bringing meals out to their cars so they don't need to come into the building at all," Ericson said. "We'd rather them stay in their vehicles."
Corned beef dinners, served with cabbage, red potatoes and carrots, will cost $10. Corned beef sandwiches will be sold for $8. Shepherd's pie also will cost $8, with Irish colcannon -- a potato dish -- available for $4.
Irish soda bread and scones also will be on the menu.
"As this is our one and only big fundraiser for the year, we've already made purchases of all these items and prepared them, just in case we were going to be able to do this Tuesday," Ericson said. "It turns out we can't, so this stuff will either all go bad or we need to get rid of it and sell it.
"We're going to give it a go and sell it and hopefully help people have a meal they can bring home with them for St. Patrick's Day," Ericson added.
Nobody will be allowed inside the Hibernian building. The bar will be closed.
Ericson said the loss of the day-long St. Patrick's Day celebration is a big one.
"It's going to be a heavy blow to us, as with any business in the city," he said. "Us, as a not-for-profit, it's more of a blow to us because this is our one and only fundraiser, it kind of sustains us throughout the year.
"It kind of knocks us for a loop," Ericson added. "We're going to do our best to recuperate what we can."
Hundreds of pounds of corned beef have already been cooked. Ericson said when large gatherings are planned, many foods must be cooked beforehand and later re-heated.
Ericson also said people can pre-order their St. Patrick's Day suppers and sandwiches by calling the Hibernians at 518-374-9003.
Contact staff writer Jeff Wilkin at 518-395-3124 or at [email protected]