SLIGO'S St. Patrick's Day Parade will feature an estimated fifteen bands and entries from voluntary, sporting, community, industrial and business sectors.
At least 15,000 people are expected to line the streets on Saturday for the Parade, which will celebrate the 450th anniversary of the signing of the charter for the Borough of Sligo.
The Parade is the centre piece of a three day mini festival to mark the national holiday and will be led for the first time ever by two members of the Garda Mounted Unit, the City of Sligo Pipe Band and an army colour party.
The St. Patrick's weekend begins with a concert and dancing in the Best Western Southern Hotel on Friday night. The Clabby Pipe Band from Tyrone will perform and there will be an exhibition of Irish dancing by local dancers. Two professional ballroom dancers will also give a display and the evening will conclude with a dance to music by the Jack Ramsey band.
Parade prize giving will take place on Sunday at a special function in the Sligo Park Hotel at 5.00p. m. This will also feature music and dance and an exhibition by Highland Scottish dancers and the Maugherabay Pipe Band, Enniskillen.
The organising committee say they have received a good response to recent appeals for greater participation in the Parade.
"At this stage we are looking forward to what should be one of the biggest Parades in recent years and all the preparations are in place," said Committee P. R.O., Seamus Dolan.
The Parade will start at the traditional time of 12 noon from Mail Coach Road and the route will follow through Temple Street, Adelaide Street, Wine Street, Hyde Bridge, Markievicz Road, The Slip, Connaughton Road, Lake Isle Road, Bridge Street, Thomas Street and Teeling Street before dispersing at the Garda Station. These streets will be closed and traffic diversions will be in place.
Because of health and safety issues and the lay- out, the Parade will not travel down O'connell Street and extra safety barriers will be located along the route. Spectators are asked to obey the Gardai, Civil Defence and stewards.
The reviewing stand will be located outside the Yeats Memorial Building, Hyde Bridge, and the judges are Harry Keaney of The Sligo Champion, Ronan Mcevilly, former Director of Sligo Art Gallery, and Stella Mew of the Yeats Society.
The Sligo Concert Band will perform at the reviewing stand prior to the Parade.
The Oldham Pipe Band, Manchester, will return to take part again this year. Other bands participating are the Strabane Concert Band, the Ballinacarrow School Band, and the Samba Band.
A float to commemorate the signing of the Borough Charter will be one of the highlights.
In order to defray costs- estimated at € 19,000- a bucket collection will be taken up on the day.
Entry forms and further information is available at sligoparade@ gmail. com or by telephoning 087 9058921. Entries are also taken on the day, subject to insurance.