SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The annual Memorial Day watchfire at the New York State fairgrounds has been cancelled for the third year in a row.

The event, founded by the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) CNY Chapter 103, started in 1995 with around 40 to 50 people. At the most recent watchfires, the visitors numbered in the thousands. Watchfires were first used during wars to help soldiers find their way back to their troops after a battle.

Unfortunately, the event’s popularity is why it has to be cancelled in 2022. Bill Martin, the watchfire’s co-sponsor and a member of VVA CNY Chapter 103, says that new regulations from the NYS Health Department would limit the number of people at this year’s event.

In 2020 and 2021, the event was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

NewsChannel 9 has reached out to a representative of the fairgrounds and the NYS Health Department for more information on this year’s cancellation.