As soon as the new calendars come out, it's nearly a given, most folks circle the second Tuesday in March for New Bedford Day in Ft. Myers, Florida – but not this year.

Brian Lawler is the former New Bedford mayor who, with his wife Johan, created New Bedford Day. The Lawlers have hosted it since 2004. Brian will join me at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, January 12, to share the reasoning behind this year's cancellation, and to make an announcement of utmost importance.

Hundreds of SouthCoast snowbirds use New Bedford Day as a fun get-together at the Shell Factory for cocktails and kicking back with old friends they haven't seen in a long time.

In its 17th year, this will be the first time ever that New Bedford Day has been called off. Last March, my wife Celeste and I noticed the crowd was only about 500 people, compared to 900 or more in previous years, as it was the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. People concerned about the novel coronavirus stopped going out to large events with close contact with others.

When we flew back, I had to quarantine for two weeks and broadcast the morning show from our home. I remember saying that this virus would be out of here in a year, so we went ahead and reserved our hotel room for 2021.

Well, sadly, we won't need the waterfront room now.

1420 WBSM has been broadcasting from New Bedford Day for years now, delighting family and friends hearing loved ones get on the radio live from Ft. Myers. To some, this may sound a bit dull and corny, but it's a community connector and the sound waves had good vibrations that listeners revered.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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