St Patrick's Festival Parade Plans Shaping Up

The St Patrick’s Day Cross Community Carnival Parade is the high point of the festival held in March each year and is supported by the community relations unit of the OFMDFM. It’s that time again now to get cracking and start work on this year’s float and costumes !! The theme for this year’s parade is ‘Celebrating our fabulous Forests, Flora and Fauna‘ marking the United Nations International Year of Forests 2011, which seeks to raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests and is an opportunity to celebrate people’s action to sustainably manage the world’s forests. [caption id="attachment_19903" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Ladies in Red. Salsa dancers entertaining the crowds in Market Street during the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Downpatrick."][/caption] So, folks it’s time to turn over a new leaf and to celebrate and branch out into this new theme…excuse the pun… animals and plants will literally take on a new life. With the natural world under threat, this theme is most appropriate. The parade will be held in Downpatrick on Thursday 17th March at 2.30pm There is just five weeks to go to the parade left. The driving force behind the festival, Down District Council, has reminded organisations that the closing date for parade entries is Friday 25th February. Community, voluntary, statutory and commercial organisations are invited to take part in the cross-community parade by entering an entertaining float, vehicle or attraction in the parade, or walking in the parade in fancy dress, traditional costume or club colours. [caption id="attachment_19896" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Local businesses getting involved. Wilson's Butchers in Downpatrick were delighted at winning the first prize for the Best Shop Window for 2010 displaying goods in English and Irish organised by the Lecale Gaelic Society during St Patrick's Festival. Pictured are John Wilson, manager, Pearse Wilson owner, and David Stranney, butcher."][/caption] Voluntary, community and charity groups entering the parade will receive an attendance fee of £100 and all parade entrants will receive refreshment vouchers and a certificate of participation. With the five best group entries in the parade each being awarded £200, it is expected that there will once again be some intense but friendly, good humoured rivalry between the many entrants who support the parade each year. Not quite like the film “Those magnificent men in their flying machines” ! The parade will assemble on the Ardglass Road beside the Downshire Estate from 1.00pm and will depart at 2.30pm along its customary route along Edward Street, John Street, Irish Street and Market Street to the finish area in Market Street car park. It is estimated that the parade will arrive in the town centre at approximately 2.50pm. All road junctions and exits/entrances along the parade route will be closed to traffic from approximately 2.00pm and will reopen at approximately 4.00pm. Further information about the parade including rules, conditions of entry and entry forms can be obtained by contacting the Community Relations and Development Section, Down District Council, 24 Strangford Road, Downpatrick, Co Down BT30 6SR or telephone (028) 4461 0800. The closing date for the receipt of entries for the parade is Friday 25th February, 2011. ]]>