The Dundalk St Patrick’s Day Festival will be a two-day event in 2020, with organisers breaking from tradition in holding the parade on Monday March 16 – with a family fun day to be held on St Patrick’s Day itself, including two stages and a family zone at the Market Square in the town.
The parade was officially launched on Thursday evening at Dundalk Gaol, where organisers revealed the theme of the 2020 festival ‘Urban Green’ and that local secondary students involved in the Trashion Fashion competition – in which schools from across the county are invited to make costumes from recycled materials – would act as Grand Marshals for the parade.
The students were present at the launch at the Oriel Centre as were the Dundalk Mens Shed Choir, McGee School of Dance performers and Dundalk Brass Band. All performed on the evening and will return in even bigger numbers later this month for the festival itself.
The parade will take place on the evening of Monday March 16, starting at 7pm from Patrick Street, through Church Street, Clanbrassil Street, Park Street and ending at Tesco Extra on Hill Street. The parade will be sponsored by PayPal, who were represented at the launch by Senior Director and Site Lead Margaret Ward, as well as a number of other senior staff.
On March 17, when towns and cities across the country will be lining the streets for their parades, the people of Dundalk will have the options to move between two stages and a family zone in the town centre as part of a family fun day, the second such St Patrick’s Day event in successive years. The stages will be located with Market Square and the revamped St Nicholas Quarter, with the family zone located as last year at the Square.
Wristbands, for access to the family fun zone are now available for sale at Stitchcraft on Earl Street.
Speaking at Thursday’s launch, organising committee chairperson Cllr Conor Keelan paid tribute to everyone “who contributed to ensuring that we followed through on our commitment to having a festival for 2020”, an event he said could be the “greenest ever public event in the town.
“Last year’s cultural and music event in Dundalk proved to be a success and it was important to build on this theme. While retaining this music and cultural day for March 17, we took the decision to move the parade to the night of March 16,” Cllr Keenan said. “This is a new departure for Dundalk but there is nothing to fear from innovation in any field of work or enterprise as we can celebrate the theme of Urban Green over the course of two days.”
PayPal’s Margaret Ward, also speaking at Dundalk Gaol, said: “As soon as we heard the Urban Green theme we knew straight away this was something we wanted to support. Community involvement is something that is very important to everyone in PayPal.
“We have exciting few weeks ahead of us in advance of the parade. We have partnered with local schools and are sponsoring a green themed colouring and poster competition. We are also working with the local schools to share our knowledge and experience of green initiatives.”
Pay Pal are also hosting a ‘Kids to Work’ green workshop where the company reduces and recycles materials for children to create with. The fruits of the workshop will be on display for all to see during the parade.
Also speaking on Thursday, Dundalk Chamber of Commerce President Pat McCormick said he was pleased the chamber was able
to financially support this year’s events and chairperson of Dundalk Tidy Towns, Helen Byrne, said the organisation was hopeful the event could spread a positive message.
“Reflecting on the theme of this year’s festival, urban green, Dundalk Tidy Towns is aware of the importance of biodiversity in our local community,” she said. “We are delighted to be able to contribute to enhancing biodiversity by donating 500 seed bombs of native Irish wild flowers, which will be handed out to the public.
“We are delighted to be part of this festival and hope that it is successful in promoting the positive aspects of our community and bringing people together.”
The organising committee thanked sponsors Dundalk BIDS, Louth County Council, Dundalk Chamber of Commerce, PayPal, the Longwalk Shopping Centre, Stage and Lighting, Louth Volunteer Centre, Pelican Promotions, Wuxi, Louth Leader Partnership, Last Lap Café, Cuchullainn Credit Union and AIB for their support.