All systems go for new-look St Patrick’s Day

The finishing touches are being put to the most anticipated St Patrick’s Day Festival in years, after a fundraising campaign drew huge local support.

A sum of almost €14,000 has been raised, which includes a grant of €6,800 from Westmeath County Council and €7,120 collected through a crowdfunding campaign on Go Fund Me. The additional funds meant the organising committee could put together an expanded programme of events.

With a theme of ‘Irish Myths and Legends’, the revamped parade, which starts at 2.30pm at the Shamrock Lodge, will feature colourful floats and theatrical displays, as well as entries from a host of local groups. Derry McMahon, the longest serving member of Athlone Sub Aqua Club, has been chosen as this year’s grand marshal.

St Mary’s NS Children’s Choir will be performing from 1-2pm on the steps of Ss Peter and Paul’s Church, and on the main stand at 2.30pm.

Attitude Dance will perform at the entrance to Dunnes Stores from 12-1pm, while the Conway-Byrne Dance Academy will give an Irish dancing display at the front entrance to Athlone Towncentre at 12.30pm and at Starbucks at 1pm.

A number of bands will perform on the main stand on the day, including 40 Watts from 1-2pm and Weekend Celebrity featuring local singer Donna McCaul from 4-5.30pm. Spankin’ Brass will be performing behind the Castle at 4pm.

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 Sport at the Civic Square from 12-1pm and 3.30-5pm, a river display from Athlone Boat Club from 1-2pm, magician Adrian Murphy at the Civic Centre from 12.30-2.30pm, 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, and there will be a pet farm in Burgess Park from 12-2.30pm.

The St Patrick’s Festival Committee would like to thank the council, volunteers, local businesses, and all who have contributed to making the day a success. For more details and updates, see ‘St Patrick’s Day Festival Athlone’ on Facebook.

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