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Excitement Builds Ahead of St Patrick’s Day Celebrations

16 March 2016

St Patrick on a motorbike chasing out performing snakes, Irish dancing fairies and garden gnomes magically brought to life, are just some of the wondrous sights in store for spectators at the St Patrick’s Day parade in Derry on Thursday, March 17th.

Thousands of people are expected to throng the streets for Derry City and Strabane District Council’s vibrant annual Spring Carnival celebrations which are taking place over four fun-filled days from March 17th - 20th.

St Patrick’s Day parades will be held in both Derry and Strabane at 2pm on Thursday with a packed programme of family-friendly activities organised to make it a holiday weekend to remember for locals and visitors alike.

The Mardi-Gras style celebrations will also include the Ubuntu Global Festival taking place in the Craft Village on Saturday, March 19th and the LegenDerry Food Festival which will be held in Guildhall Square and the Guildhall on Saturday and Sunday, March 19th and 20th.

The Spring Carnival parade in Derry themed, the ‘Land of the Little People’- which will depart from the car park at Queen’s Quay and be live streamed on the Council’s website from 2.15pm - will see the biggest assembly of fairies, gnomes, nymphs and elves in the city singing for Springtime; performing snakes by the kids from Extern and their leaders; and a towering St Patrick chasing out the snakes to make sure it is safe for all the fairy folk to come out and play!

As part of the Communities United project, Legenderry Irish Dancers and the Rainbow dance punksters will be among the entourage making sure St Patrick doesn’t get lost on his bike! Other carnival highlights include Lego Fairy-Quay Gate, winter fairies from the Bluebell Arts Project and the wonderful Mardi Gras Zumba belles.

Royal fairy subjects from the Cosy Club and Long Tower Youth Group pixies will also be dancing to the beat of the fairy court while, the kids and parents from In Your Space circus clubs will be popping up from their hiding places.

The Fire Fairies from Streetfeet and Create dance will be bringing their energy and power to the parade, together with the Showtime Theatre group and garden gnomes brought to life by the wonderful team at Destined.

Watch out too for Tinkerbell; tree sprites from Fountain Dance and Celtic birds from An Culturlann; an international team of fairies and nymphs all the way from the Philippines; the Glasgow-fairy samba band and the Borrowers from Drumahoe YMCA. Bringing up the rear will be the award-winning Colmcille Pipe Band, and the boys and girls from Steelstown GAA.

Speaking ahead of the celebrations, the Mayor, Councillor Elisha McCallion, paid tribute to the Council’s events team and the many community groups who all played a key role in preparation for what she believes will be an “awesome” Spring Carnival event.

She said: “We are extremely excited about this year’s St Patrick’s Day Spring Carnival as the packed programme of events encourages people to enjoy all that the city and district has to offer for four fabulous days culminating in the LegenDerry Food Festival, which is now established as one of the top food festivals in the entire country.

“It is always fantastic to see so many families out celebrating together and we are also looking forward to welcoming thousands of people to the city for one of the most popular celebrations of the year in honour of our patron saint.

“This year the carnival parade will again be streamed live on the Council’s website, capturing the fun, friendly atmosphere so that loved ones in far flung corners of the world can enjoy a glimpse of home whilst profiling our wonderful city,” the Mayor added.

A whole host of other events will be held including a Pixies Paradise in the Peace Garden at Foyle Street, children’s arts and crafts in the Tower Museum, Mayor’s Family Fun Day in the Guildhall and street animation in both Derry and Strabane to keep everyone entertained.

For more information on the full programme of family-friendly events across the city and district and traffic and travel information, go to www.derrystrabane.com/stpatricks.