Paralympic hero Nicole is special guest for Mountmellick St Patrick's Day festival

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Paralympic hero Nicole is special guest for Mountmellick St Patrick's Day festival

Nicole Turner showing her European Para-swimming medal at the launch of Dare to Believe

In a first for Mountmellick, the St Patrick’s Day festival will take place over two days, Saturday and Sunday, March 16 and 17.

With music and Irish dancing, hip-hop performers, bouncing castles, circus acts, stilt walkers, a petting farm, fire engines, magicians and baton twirlers, and special attention for the elderly and wheelchair users, it is a festival for everyone to enjoy.

However weather warnings are in place so wrap up warm!

Saturday is a celebration of the best of traditional music in O'Connell Square. Trad musicians and dancers will perform live from 12 noon to 5pm.

On Sunday the family fun day starts bright and early at 10am.

The parade assembles from 1pm at the LOETB training centre on Harbour Street to set off on a route through the town at 2pm.

The guest of honour is paralympic champion swimmer Nicole Turner from Portarlington. Port has no parade this year but all are invited to come to Mountmellick for the fun.

On Sunday the music takes a twist from trad to dance, hip-hop and r&b, with live acts in the square including Chris Kabs, Joe S who performed at Electric Picnic last year, Tobi Akinborewa and Stevie James Kelly.

Laois UN veterans will perform the formal flag-raising ceremony, with singer Mary Crosbie singing the national anthem.

There are marquees with seating for the elderly and people with disabilities, as well as free teas and coffees for seniors.
The committee will also hold a monster raffle with tickets on sale from stewards.

Lead organiser is Jason McInerney from Central Festival Group is delighted to have lots more young volunteers this year.
“Thirty youth volunteers have come on board this year to be involved with the festival which is fantastic. They have given the festival amazing energy and vibrancy,” he said.

The committee has a ban on public consumption of alcohol, with a promise that drink will be confiscated. Private security and Gardaí will attend the event.