ST. PATRICK’S FESTIVAL PARADE ENJOYED BY JUST UNDER 500,000 SPECTATORS
17th March 2013; Despite difficult weather conditions 483,000 people turned out to enjoy this year’s St. Patrick’s Festival Parade with over one million more tuning in to watch the Parade live on RTE 1. The streets of Dublin were awash with colour as the 2013 Parade, fittingly themed ‘Great Things Happen When We Get Together’, was brought to life by the very best in Irish creative, design and artistic talent. Over 3,500 performers participated in this year’s Festival Parade, which was led by Irish broadcast and entertainment sensation, Nicky Byrne as Grand Marshal.
For the first time ever, in celebration of all things Irish; people, culture, heritage and history, ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ and St. Patrick’s Festival invited people from across the world to walk in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The People’s Parade saw almost 6,000 visitors from more than 45 countries walk the 3km parade route passing some of Ireland’s most historic landmarks, including the GPO, Trinity College and Dublin Castle, along the way.
With a live audience on the streets of just under half a million people, Ireland’s leading pageant companies animated their interpretations of this year’s Parade theme, ‘Great Things Happen When We Get Together’. Artistic groups including Buí Bolg, Spraoi, Brighter Futures, Artastic, City Fusion, Inishowen Carnival Group, and Dowtcha presented their awe inspiring and thought provoking imaginative creations on the streets of our nation’s capital today.
The uplifting musical score was provided by musical ensembles from a host of European countries from Ireland to Italy, along with 12 U.S. bands from 11 different states and a Canadian band. The world’s largest marching band drum was flown in on a chartered plane from Indianapolis, by the 331 strong ‘Purdue All-American Marching Band’, especially for the occasion.
Also this year, three new sponsors were welcomed into the St. Patrick’s Festival family. Supervalu joined as new sponsor of Big Day Out on Festival Saturday, 16th March, while Emirates came on board as the Official Airline Partner and Lyca Mobile joined as a Parade Pageant Partner.
Speaking about the Parade, Acting CEO of St. Patrick’s Festival, Edelle Moss said; “Every year the Parade is the highlight of what is now a multi-day national celebration and this year’s St. Patrick’s Festival Parade was certainly one to remember. The atmosphere in Dublin City today really reflected the theme of this year’s Festival parade, ‘Great Things Happen When We Get Together’. Congratulations to the pageant companies, artists, bands and groups that worked so hard to deliver such fantastic performances. Many thanks to all of those who came along to enjoy the day, we were thrilled to see such a huge turn-out.”
The awards for the Marching Bands today went to;
• Best Overall Band: Spruce Creek Marching Band, Florida USA
• Best Adult Band: Colorado State University Marching Band, Colorado USA
• Best Youth Band: Burlington Teen Tour Band, Ontario Canada
• Spirit of the Parade Award: Fanfarenzug Ankenreute E.V. Germany
• Discretionary Award: ACM, Apollonia Di Pollina E Finale, Italy
The St. Patrick’s Festival celebrations were kicked off in style at The Trad Stage on March 14th in Temple Bar’s Meeting House Square. St. Stephen’s Green was brought to life on Friday evening with the sounds of traditional Irish music at the Festival Céilí, where Irish Dancing superstar Dearbhla Lennon of Riverdance fame was joined by a whole host of professional dancers and musicians to lead the dancing; with tourists and Dubliners joining in the fun. Another highlight of the national holiday celebrations is the Festival’s distinct culture programme ‘I Love My City’, where 16 free headline events were staged in some of Dublin’s most prestigious cultural institutions over the five-day festival.
Still to come tomorrow, Bank Holiday Monday, is the St. Patrick’s Festival Treasure Hunt. This free fun trail around Dublin is one of the most popular events of the five-day Festival. Groups of families and friends will unlock the secrets of some of Dublin City’s landmark buildings, many well known and other hidden gems, while enjoying music, street theatre and some great spot prizes along the way.
To find out more about St. Patrick’s Festival 2013, visit www.stpatricksfestival.ie.
For Further Information Please Contact:
Kevin Moore, Fleishman Hillard / 086 825 2611
Maria McGrath, Fleishman Hillard / 086 1653055
Notes to Editors:
St. Patrick’s Festival
The principal aim of St. Patrick’s Festival, since its inauguration, is to develop a major annual international Festival around the national holiday over which the ‘owners’ of the Festival, the Irish people, would stand proud. It sets out to reflect the talents and achievements of Irish people on many national and world stages, and it acts as an exciting showcase for the manifold skills of the people of Ireland, of every age and social background.
As the one national holiday that is celebrated in more countries around the world than any other, St. Patrick’s Day is the day when everyone wants to be Irish.
Why was it started?
To offer a national Festival that ranks amongst all of the greatest celebration in the world.
To create energy and excitement throughout Ireland, via innovation, creativity, grassroots involvement, and marketing activity.
To provide the opportunity and motivation for people of Irish descent (and those who sometimes wish they were Irish) to attend and join in the imaginative and expressive celebrations.
To project, internationally, an accurate image of Ireland as a creative, professional and sophisticated country with wide appeals.
The first St Patrick’s Festival was held over one day, and night, on March 17th 1996. The live audience for the day was estimated to be 430,000.
In 1997, we dropped the word “Day” from our title and it became “St. Patrick’s Festival”, a three day event. The Festival has since grown to become a four day festival and in 2001 was enjoyed by 1.2million people.
Preparation for the first St Patrick’s Festival used to take only 5 months, but with the growth of the Festival, it now takes 18 months to plan for Ireland’s biggest annual celebration.
St. Patrick’s Festival is supported by Fáilte Ireland and Dublin City Council.