The annual New Bedford Half Marathon has been canceled for a second straight year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So has the beloved Joe Jesus's 50s Night celebration that draws thousands to downtown New Bedford. Both events are good for business since they attract a lot of folks from outside the city.

The race was tough to schedule because it is run on or near St. Patrick's Day, which left little time for planning. Besides, things have not fully re-opened as yet. The 50s Night celebration, while still months away, still would have also been behind the eight ball for planning.

There are still many events in and around the Greater New Bedford area that folks enjoy each year, and Mayor Jon Mitchell said it's too soon to think about canceling them at this point while the vaccine rollout is still underway. On my Wednesday program, Mitchell urged event organizers to hold off for at least a few more weeks before deciding whether or not to pull the plug.

Events such as the Chowderfest, the Cape Verdean Independence Day Parade, Summerfest, and the granddaddy of them all, the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament, were all scuttled last year due to the coronavirus. Mitchell said they could well return this summer, provided proper precautions are taken and the virus continues to recede.

Area residents could sure use a little "feast" right about now. The thought of resuming community gatherings once more is exciting. Let's hope conditions allow it to happen.

Mitchell is right. Let's take a little time and see what develops. Things are progressing in the right direction. There is no need to rush.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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