The programme has been announced for this year’s St Patrick’s Day festivities, and it’s the busiest one yet, jampacked with music, entertainment, exciting displays, and fun for all the family.
The new-look festival was launched yesterday (Wednesday ) evening in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel, where this year’s theme of ‘Irish Myths and Legends’ was officially announced.
In addition to a parade featuring colourful floats and displays around this theme and entries from a host of local groups, a full programme of events will take place at various locations across the town.
Buskers and musicians will be scattered throughout the town to provide a festive atmosphere on the day, while St Mary’s NS Children’s Choir will perform from 1-2pm.
The Conway-Byrne Dance Academy will give an Irish dancing display at the front entrance to Athlone Towncentre at 12.30pm, while Attitude Dance will perform at the entrance to Dunnes Stores (beside Flannery’s Pub ) at 12pm.
A number of bands have also agreed to perform on the main stand on the day, including 40 Watts at 1pm and Weekend Celebrity featuring local singer Donna McCaul at 4pm.
There will also be an opportunity to test your karaoke skills with Tommy Tombstone from 12.30-2.30pm.
For the little ones who would like to have some musical fun and try out new musical instruments, Musicality and Right Start Montessori will be at the front of the Castle from 12-2pm.
There will be hair-raising BMX displays from Thunder Action Sports at the Civic Square at 12pm and 3.30pm, a river display from Athlone Boat Club at 1pm, and a duck race at Athlone Boat Club at 4.30pm.
Athlone Towncentre will be organising face painting, balloons, and St Patrick’s Day arts and crafts from 1-5pm.
The parade route, which traditionally went from Golden Island westwards, has been reversed for this year, and will go from the Shamrock Lodge Hotel eastwards through the town. This year’s parade will have a grand marshal, whose identity is yet to be announced, and a special crozier is being made which will be passed down through the years.
A major fundraising campaign got underway in recent weeks to help create a spectacular celebration for the town this March 17. Almost €5,000 has been raised so far through a Go Fund Me fundraising page, which has been matched with a €5,000 allocation from Westmeath County Council.
The committee are encouraging local businesses and individuals to donate whatever they can afford, in order to help make these fantastic plans a reality.
They are also looking for volunteers to help out in the run-up to the festival and on the day itself. Anyone interested in getting involved can contact the committee on (085 ) 8277409, through their Facebook page ‘St Patrick’s Day Festival Athlone’.