100 St. Patricks at centenary Wexford parade
Wexford will mark 100 years of St. Patrick's Day parades on March 17 with a centenary event to remember, featuring an appearance by the Irish Defence Forces and a spectacular show by street theatre company Buí Bolg.
A giant, slithering snake chased by a succession of St. Patricks will form the centrepiece of the Buí Bolg entry with over 100 participants involved in the display.
Wexford enjoys the distinction of being home to the oldest parade in Ireland which was established in 1904 when a committee of residents invited the Mayor and members of Wexford Corporation to join a procession organised to 'traverse the principal streets of the town on the 17th March instant, in honour of the National Apostle of Ireland'.
The Corporation accepted the formal invitation and the rest is history. While the first parade took place in 1904, there were a number of breaks due to war and weather and this year will be the 100th year that a St. Patrick's Day procession has happened in the town.
Excitement is building about the event which won't be short of marching music as at least nine bands have signed up to participate. The organisers led by chairman Michael O'Reilly and parade secretary John Fowler have put in a supreme effort behind the scenes to ensure that the 2017 parade is an extra special one.
The parade will start assembling in the Fisher's Row area at 9.45 am with Defence Forces troops and emergency service organisations in the lead, followed by other groups and floats.
Explaining the logistics, John Fowler said all participating groups are informed in advance of their position and sequence in the parade to avoid chaos and confusion on the morning of the event.
The parade will move off at 10.45 am, proceeding down William Street, Trinity Street, Paul Quay, Crescent Quay and Commercial Quay passing by a reviewing stand adjacent to Wexford Bridge into Redmond Place and Redmond Square.
A number of road closures will be in place from 9.15 a.m. from Brendan's Road into Maudlintown, from the Maudlintown traffic lights down into William Street, Trinity Street to the junction of Parnell Street/Trinity Street. No traffic will be allowed into this area until after the parade has started.
Mr Fowler said safety is paramount. 'Anything that turns up for the parade that in the eyes of our safety officers is a danger to anyone will not be allowed take part' and anyone taking part should obey the stewards' directions.
The prize-giving will take place in Macken's, The Bullring, at 7 pm on March 18.