THIS year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in Portlaoise will be all about colour, as the committee have decided to hold a major charity fundraising event in conjunction with the autism support group, LOFFA, by launching thousands of coloured balloons into the skies above the town to celebrate the national holiday.
Over the coming weeks committee members will visit all schools in the area and pupils will be able to put a message in a balloon for €3. The balloons will also be on sale in Laois Shopping Centre on the Saturdays leading up to the parade. Individuals can put a message to a loved one or just a wish into a helium-filled balloon and all the balloons will be released into the skies at the end of the parade, creating a most spectacular and colourful sight.
The committee are also appealing for support this weekend when they hold their annual fundraising collection on the streets and roundabouts of the town. Last year it cost €12,000 to run the parade and unlessthere is considerable financial support then the future of the event is in serious doubt.
As well as the prizes for the most colourful float there will also be prizes for the most traditional, most humorous, best musical and best vintage, as well as awards for the best sporting clubs and community groups.