The Athlone Town Marching Band is to lead the way in this year's St Patrick's Day parades in both Athlone and Moate.
The band, which reformed early last year, recently invested in new marching gear and musical equipment, and feel leading the way in this year's parades is the ideal way to repay a very supportive public.
Band member Paula O'Sullivan said they have received enormous support from the public since reforming, and especially thanked Cllr Kevin 'Boxer' Moran, Westmeath County Council, Athlone Credit Union, Peter Holohan (Manchester), and IUNVA Post 9 (Custume Barracks, Athlone) for their contributions since the band's reformation.
This St Patrick's Day will represent the first time in over 20 years the Athlone Town Marching Band has led the parade locally.
The band also wanted to thank the public for supporting recent bag-packing days at Dunnes Stores in Athlone, and also its Church Gate collections.
"The support of the public enabled us to recently purchase new uniforms and equipment, so hopefully leading the St Patrick's Day parade will give something back," said Paula O'Sullivan.
To further aid the development of the band, they will be holding a fundraiser in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone, on St Patrick's Day (10pm), when the Kaye Twins will entertain. For further information or to purchase tickets (priced €5) contact Paula at 087 9798072 or Lorraine at 086 1049688. Patrons can also pay upon entry on the night.
And while the parade itself will be a colourful and fun event, the organising committee has a full schedule of events for the day.
A window display competition will also be held and committee member Helen McCaul has called on all traders and shop owners to enter the competition.
"We are asking all to dress up the town and make St Patrick's Day a colourful day," she said. The committee pointed out that there will be something for everyone during the day and they are expecting to attract a large influx of visitors to the town. One of the highlights of the day will be an Abba tribute band.
The parade itself will commence at 2.30pm from Heavin's in Golden Island and the organisers are calling on all entries to arrive by 1.45pm so the stewards can organise the order of entries.