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100-year-old Pat to lead St Patrick’s Day parade

Mayor, Alderman Hilary McClintock pictured at the launch of the Spring Carnival which this year has the theme, ‘Forever Young’. Included are Celtic Warrior Michael Johnston, Fiona and Sora Umetsu from Ibuki Taiko Drumming and Tina McLaughlin from the  North West Carnival Initiative.

Mayor, Alderman Hilary McClintock pictured at the launch of the Spring Carnival which this year has the theme, ‘Forever Young’. Included are Celtic Warrior Michael Johnston, Fiona and Sora Umetsu from Ibuki Taiko Drumming and Tina McLaughlin from the North West Carnival Initiative.

STRABANE centenarian Pat Gillespie will once again be the grand marshal of this year’s St Patrick’s Day festival which is being aptly themed ‘Forever Young’.

Details of the St Patrick’s Day programme have just been unveiled and it includes puppetry and storytelling at the Alley Theatre, a 5k fun run at Melvin, Irish language events and a family fun afternoon at Butcher Street car park.

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The highlight of the celebrations is expected to be the Spring Carnival Parade which is being organised by the local St Patrick’s Day Committee and will see hundreds of performers from community groups taking part.

The Forever Young theme will be particularly fitting for the grand marshal of the parade Pat Gillespie who has just celebrated his 100th birthday. Pat will be joined by MMA star James ‘The Strabanimal’ Gallagher who has been confirmed as a special guest.

Before and after the parade, there will be entertainment in the Alley Theatre and Butcher Street including live music and children’s arts, face painting and more.

Speaking at the launch of the Spring Carnival, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Hilary McClintock said the spectacle would have something for all the family.

“I’d like to congratulate all those who organise and take part in the carnival parade which is one of the biggest events in Strabane,” she said.

“I’m particularly impressed by the events planned for the Alley Theatre which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. With shows, live music and entertainment, the Alley provides a great day out for families and ensures a great vantage point for viewing the parade.”

Spokesperson for the Strabane St Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, Aodhán Harkin added, “It is a great occasion for all the family and the crowds bring a welcome boost to our local economy”.

The St Patrick’s Day Parade starts at St Mary’s Church on the Melmount Road at 2pm.
 
It will wind its way down the Melmount Road onto Bridge Street and across the bridge to Market Street through Abercorn Square and onto Railway Street before finishing in the Score Site at Dock Street.
 
From 1.30pm there will be music at the Main Stage with a showcase of local talent.

• More information on the St Patrick’s Day Spring Carnival programme is available at www.derrystrabane.com/springcarnival.

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