Wexford on parade for its 100th
WEXFORD put its best foot forward with a spectacular St Patrick's Day parade, with hundreds taking part in a multi-coloured procession through the streets of a town celebrating its 100th parade.
The festivities were fittingly halted for a minute's silence for the crew of the Rescue 116 helicopter, lost when the Coast Guard helicopter came down off the Mayo coast a week ago, and for former Cllr Dominic Kiernan who died last week.
The parade, led by a smartly turned out unit provided by the Army Reserve, took a phenomenal one hour and 35 minutes to pass the reviewing stand, where Mayor Cllr Frank Staples too the salute, without any stops, .
Bui Bolg's 100-foot inflatable snake chased by a large number of St Patricks delighted the crowds who turned out in numbers on a cold, grey day, but at least the threatening rain held off.
Among those taking part in the parade were martial artistes, make-up artists, ballet dancers, scarlet- and black-clad musicians and even 'Dolly Parton' - albeit in the larger than life shape of the Wexford Light Opera Society's new show '9-5 The Musical'.
Nine bands took part in this year's parade, with stalwarts the Northfield Caledonia Pipe Band returning from Birmingham for what has become an annual trip across the water.
Bands from Arklow, and Dublin were among them, but not every band was traditional, with the Bloc OGarman samba band introducing a new element to the usual festive sounds.
'It was very successful, it has been going 100 years and it's still going,' said parade secretary and organiser John Fowler.
Local business reported brisk trade, especially of hot drinks.
Wexford Parade is the oldest in the country, with the first parade taking part in 1904, however it was not until 1917 that it was officially recognised.
Prizes for the parade are: Best Irish Theme, The Mayors Cup, Loch Garman Comhaltas; 1st Best Group/ Uniform Body (The George Furlong Perpetual Trophy), Clonard Scouts; 2nd Best Group/Uniform Body, Tallaght Youth Band;
1st Best Float (The People Group Newspapers) 2nd Wexford Scouts; Best Community Group (The Phil Kelly Perpetual Trophy), Wexford Academy Martial Arts; Best Dresses Individual/Group (Stevie Martin Perpetual trophy) School of Ballet & Performing Arts; Best Funny/Comic, Wexford Light Opera Society; Best Band, St Michaels Pipe Band, Gorey; Parade Overall Winner 2015 (The Wexford Credit Union Perpetual Trophy), Wexford Polish School.
Merit plaques were awarded to Rockin' Joe's Diner, The Monageer Group, the Northfield Caledonia Pipe Band and St Fintan's GAA Club.