Your guide to the Birmingham St Patrick’s Day Festival 2016
Birmingham’s much-loved St Patrick’s Day Parade returns this year, with the theme of the ‘Irish Phoenix rising from the flames of diaspora.’
The parade dates back to 1952, with this year marking 21 years since the parade was brought back to the streets in 1996.
The worlds third largest St Patrick’s Parade in the world will also celebrate Irelands centenary with a theme which will explore the journey, and celebrate the Irish spirit throughout the years, which will be brought to life through the streets of Digbeth on Sunday 13th March 2016.
The Phoenix has long been associated with fresh beginnings, continually morphing and re-morphing, a belief that the end is only the beginning – a fitting theme given this will be the first year without any financial support from Birmingham City Council.
The funding cuts have resulted in the organising committee working tirelessly in search of funding to make sure the parade can continue. Though they have managed to ensure the celebration can take place this year, they still need your support more than ever.
The festival will kick off on the 4th March with the fantastic Launch Party at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel on New Street. With a night of traditional Irish entertainment, and live music by the Holy Show Band, plus a sumptuous two-course meal and a raffle full of great prizes, it promises to be a brilliant night. Tickets are just £15, with the money going to support the festival.
On Saturday 5th March, Edgbaston Street, next to St Martin’s Church, will once again play host to The Reel, an afternoon of traditional Irish music and dance, from 1-3pm.
Throughout the festival, we will also be hosting a photography exhibition of previous parades. Birmingham was one of the major destinations for the Irish diaspora, so we’ll look at how it has celebrated St Patrick’s Day, as far back as the first ever parade. For more information on the exhibition, check www.stpatricksbirmingham.co.uk.
The Main Event
Sunday 13th March will see the main event of the festival: The Parade. It will run throughout Digbeth, the spiritual home of the Irish in Birmingham, on Sunday 13th March from 12pm to 2pm. Along with the traditional floats, music, dance and community groups, there will be a moving confetti blaster along the route! Taking part in the parade will be the VIP bus, which will host the Lord Mayor and Birmingham’s own St. Patrick, and an array of floats, dancers, flag bearers, and vintage tractors.
The fun will continue throughout the day with activities and entertainment around the Irish Quarter. The only official Place To Be on the day will be the Emerald Village, this year situated in Bradford Street Car Park, adjacent to Birmingham Coach Station.
At the heart of the Emerald Village will be the ever-popular ‘St. Pat Rocks’ Stage, commencing straight after the parade finishes, with performances from favourites such as Pat Breslin, LAMPA, Reel Note Ceili Band and De Kelten and more!
Alongside the music will be the Emerald Village Children’s Area, which will include fun for all the little ones.
Anne Tighe Chair of organising committee said, “We are really looking forward to showcasing all of our hard work this year, in the face of many challenges. We hope the people of Birmingham once again come out to support this fantastic parade.”