Over half a million people turned out to enjoy this year’s St Patrick’s Festival Parade. The streets of Dublin were awash with colour as the 2016 Parade, themed “Imagine If…” was brought to life by Ireland’s leading pageant companies. Close to 3,000 performers participated in this year’s Festival Parade with Joanne O’Riordan holding the honorary position of Grand Marshal. The Parade kicked off the four-day festival of events and street theatre.
In 2014 the festival embarked on a three-year creative thematic for its principal event, the Festival Parade, each year being inspired by the past, the present and the future respectively. This year, “Imagine If…” responded to the future thematic and marked the final instalment of a creative trilogy. The theme looked into the future of Ireland as seen through the imaginations of the youth of Ireland and resulted in some spectacular pageantry and performance.
Spectators enjoyed the creative presentations from Irish artistic groups including Spraoi, Artastic, Inishowen Carnival Group, City Fusion, Dowtcha, Buí Bolg, DIT and Brighter Futures. In what is a first for St Patrick’s Festival and in partnership with the office of the Lord Mayor and Dublin City Council, the festival adopted a theme tune. Award-winning Dublin song-writer Pete St John composed the celebratory tune March to Dublin. The march is a declaration of the welcoming spirit ever present in the nation’s capital city for all visitors to Ireland’s shores. It is an all-inclusive invitation to enjoy the history and culture of over one thousand-year-old city on the banks of the river Liffey.
Two new sponsors, Tayto and Keelings, have been welcomed into the St Patrick’s Festival family this year. Once again Volkswagen Ireland joined as official vehicle partner with their new Volkswagen Golf model featuring as part of the Festival Parade, while Ethiopian Airlines touched down again as official airline partner to the Festival.
Bands from the USA, the UK, Brittany and Ireland provided the musical score for the Parade as it travelled past some of the most famous and historic landmarks of the capital city. Ten US marching bands were welcomed from nine different states and brought their individual flavour and style to the Festival Parade.
Speaking about the Festival, Susan Kirby, CEO of St Patrick’s Festival, said; “Every year we continue to be impressed by the vision of artists seen through their parade creations and performances, and this year is no different. The Festival Parade is a true testament to the artistic talent we have here in Ireland, talent that is showcased on a global stage as the Parade is viewed by millions the world over.”