Sun shines on Birmingham's parade

By on 14/03/2011 in News

Irish eyes were truly smiling at Birmingham’s annual St Patrick’s Day parade when the sun came on cue for more than 85,000 spectators who lined the the streets of the Digbeth area of the city.  They were treated to a colourful parade of over than 100 separate walking groups, dance troupes, floats, pipe bands and marching bands to celebrate St Patrick, on Sunday 13th March 2011.
Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture, Cllr Martin Mullaney, said: ”Birmingham’s St Patrick’s Day parade is one of the biggest events on our annual calendar of cultural festivals.  It has been a huge success over the years and this year is no expception and it has done the city proud.  It is great to see so many people taking part parade and the 85,000 spectators who came to see this year’s  spectacle.”
Floats and walking groups included six champion dancers at the head of the parade as flag bearers, decorated floats with live Irish bands and hurling displays, vintage Ferguson tractors, classic cars and motorbikes and walking groups from the county associations from Armagh to Tipperary, boxing groups and representation from Birmingham’s famous Irish dance troupes.
This year’s St Patrick’s Festival focussed on involving the young such as St Paul’s RC school who created a great display carrying Ireland’s 32 county flags.

St Vincents school of Nechells worked with a group of artists from ‘Off Our Trolley’ to create spectacular carnival style outfits to wear in the parade.
Olivia McMenamen, Chair of the Festival Board of Directors said: 
“Birmingham’s St Patrick’s parade is one of the largest to be seen anywhere and has been a huge success this year with more than 85,000 watching around 100 separate groups taking part in what has been a very well humoured event. 
“This year we have worked hard at getting the young involved and it is good to see so many taking part as flag bearers or working with artists to create festive costumes. It is vital for the future of the parade these third and fourth generations acknowledge their heritage in such a positive and creative way.”
The Lord Mayor Cllr Len Gregory and Lady Mayoress selected winners from the parade as they marched by: first place going to the Academy of Irish Dance; second place, St Paul’s School carrying 32 county flags; equal third place to Scanlon school of Irish dance and St Vincents school with their festive costumes made with artist group  ‘Off Your Trolley’.   The best float was the Irish Forum’s Irish themed 70s disco. Best band was the Triumph RBL.

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