A BUMPER Lá Fheile Pádraig is planned in Carlow town this year, with music, performers, street entertainers, bouncy castles and carousels all part of the St Patrick’s Day parade and festival.

Organisers have announced the return of Carlow town’s St Patrick’s Day parade following an absence of three years. SETU president Veronica Campbell has been chosen as the parade’s grand marshal and SETU is excited to be leading the parade, which celebrates the town’s new status as ‘Carlow, a university town’.

Making a welcome return to the Carlow parade this year is the Killeshin Pipe Band, while a colour party from the reserve defence forces is expected to be made available by the Department of Defence. Representatives from local veteran units, scouts and guides will also be there in force.
The reviewing stand will be positioned beside the Liberty Tree in Dinn Rí car park, Kennedy Avenue to facilitate the use of the stand as a stage for post-parade entertainment, which will run until about 5pm. The organisers would like to thank the management and staff of Dinn Rí and the McLoughlin family for accommodating this.

Live music on stage will include ballads from John Kelly and Seán Byrne of Róisín Dubh, as well as performances from various local bands, dancers and entertainers.

In addition to the parade, a huge Family Fun Festival Day will take place from 2pm to 5pm on Potato Market, which will be closed to traffic. An enclosed area featuring a range of bouncy castles, carousels and even candy floss will be available for little ones, while also featuring activities for older children.

This year, the festival will incorporate the new Carlow Exchange in the festivities, which will host a number of food stalls and activities for the children. There will be music and busking as well as free face painting for young and old throughout the afternoon. Some of the stallholders from Carlow Farmers’ Market will be trading on-site for the entire afternoon, including stalls selling fruit, freshly-made crêpes, ice-cream, burgers and lots more.

A great day of national celebration is in store throughout the day; however, the organising committee wishes to point out that participation is the key to a successful parade and it’s appealing to all businesses, clubs, schools, community groups, dance schools and voluntary organisations to participate.

Touchpoint Media has kindly sponsored prizes in Comórtas na bhFuinneog, the bilingual best shop window competition, as well as prizes for the best in-house display.

For safety reasons, maximum measurements allowed for floats are ten metres long and four metres high, and stewards in high-viz jackets must accompany them along the route.

Extra volunteers will be most welcome and much appreciated. Assembly will take place from 2pm, with the parade moving off at 3pm.

Walking groups will assemble at the former Perry’s carpark, Kennedy Street, while vehicles will line up on Burrin Street, with Carlow vintage and classic cars taking up position in Pembroke.

To ensure the parade moves along freely with no gaps, there will be no performances by participants at the reviewing stand.

The organising committee is indebted to An Garda Síochána, the Civil Defence and Order of Malta as well as elected members, officials and outdoor staff of Carlow County Council for their expertise in ensuring the safety of all events on St Patrick’s Day. A special word of thanks also goes to members of the local business community, who have given generously in previous years and continue to contribute towards the cost of funding the activities.

For further details, contact the committee on 087 7999066 or email carlowparade@gmail.com.