The South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade is back on after a two-year hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, but some in the neighborhood are criticizing this year's shortened route.
Julio Roman is getting his flower shop ready.
"As a business owner, I'm excited,” said Roman, owner of Micro Plant Studio. "I have decorated my front window to welcome folks."
Roman's business sits right along the route.
"It's not only great for the parade, but it's also great for business exposure," he said.
But not everyone is thrilled about the path the parade will take.
"If that parade happens just on Broadway, I won't be attending," said Lauretta Brennan, a South Boston native.
She says the new route — much shorter than the traditional parade and now just a straight shot along Broadway — is a disservice to the community.
She's started a petition to bring the old route back so it won't miss some of the parade's historic spots commemorating Evacuation Day and won't bypass several public housing developments, which typically have front-row seats.
More on the St. Patrick's Day Parade
"It usually goes out there, back around the Dorchester Heights," she said. "That's not going to happen."
On the parade's website, organizers say "In recognition of ongoing challenges to public health and safety caused by the pandemic, the parade will follow a shorter route that has been used in the past in circumstances of inclement weather."
"Because it's more condensed, many people won't be going," said Brennan. "It should be spread out."
Still, the parade marks a return to normalcy, and many businesses are gearing up for perhaps the biggest payday in three years.
At OTTO Pizza, they'll be bringing in security to deal with the crowds hoping for a slice.
"I think people are excited to get back to normal, just living life again, the way it was, instead of just at home," said Mario Polena, the restaurant's general manager.
Parade organizers have not returned a request for comment.