KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Organizers announced Thursday that the Knoxville St. Patrick’s Day and Cel-O’bragh-tion has been canceled.

Knox Shamrock Fest organizers said in a statement Thursday afternoon the annual event is being canceled this weekend because of Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s declaration of a state of emergency and “rapidly increasing public health and safety concerns.”

“Definitely not an easy decision,” said Christy Watkins, one of the organizers of the St. Patrick’s Day events.

The decision to cancel the parade and the Cel-O’bragh-tion was made by event organizers, after speaking with city events and Mayor Kincannon.

“The risk has become too great,” said Katie Martin, executive director of the East TN Kidney Foundation, who puts on Shamrock Fest. “We are a nonprofit health organization; our priority is the health and safety of our community, especially high-risk populations such as dialysis patients and those with chronic kidney disease.”

“By airing on the side of caution, it can save lives, it can make it so our hospitals and healthcare professionals can have the capacity they need to help people if they do get sick,” said Mayor Indya Kincannon.