A host of new activities have been added to the line-up for the St Patrick's weekend festivities in Athlone.
The parade, which is to take place on Saturday, includes entries from the Green Knight Motorcycle Club, Military Vehicles Ireland, Moate Vintage Club, Famous Hit Machine Drummers, a ukulele band, yacht club, medieval group, as well as Junior Mayors, representatives from the Indian and Nigerian community, and a group representing the city of Providence in Rhode Island.
Among the floats and entertainment that have also been secured for the parade are superheroes including Spiderman and Batman, Ernie from Sesame Street, the 'Del Boy' Robin Reliant car, as well as a selection of colourful dragons, sharks, horses, elephants, whales, and lots more.
The parade will start at 12.30pm from the Shannon Academy (former St Aloysius College) and finish in Burgess Park, and organisers say roads will be closed for a maximum of two hours.
There will also be a chance to enjoy bouncy castles, pet farm, magic from Oisin Foley, and delicious food from Smoke BBQ restaurant.
One of the highlights of the day will be a karate display from a gathering of karate clubs from all over Europe and America. The Order of Malta, Fire Brigade, Garda Síochána and Army will also be carrying out demonstrations in the park.
Following the parade, the Guinness Book of Records will be on hand to judge a World Record attempt to have the most St Patrick's in one place.
Local clubs, schools, businesses and community groups are encouraged to get involved and be part of history in the making at Burgess Park at 2pm. Midlands 103 will be on hand to capture all the action on the day.
On Sunday March 17, a Family Fun Day is planned at Garrycastle GAA Club. The day kicks off at 12pm with a family walk from the White Gates along the Greenway to Garrycastle GAA. This will take the form of a scavenger hunt with an emphasis on biodiversity, with participants encouraged to spot different plants and insects along the way.
A Teddy Bear Picnic takes place at Garrycastle at 1pm, so bring along your picnic basket and blanket, and don't forget your teddy bear! If the weather is unsuitable, this will be held indoors.
An American football game will follow at 2pm between Westmeath Minotaurs and Galway Warriors. All proceeds from the day go to Esker House Women's Refuge.
There is great excitement in Moate as the town gears up for its annual St Patrick's Day parade, with the news that RTÉ will be in town to film the parade.
The national broadcaster will visit the town as part of its round up of events happening nationwide to celebrate our national holiday.
A feast of music and entertainment is being planned by Moate Action Group this Sunday, March 17.
Centre stage in this year's parade, which starts at 3.30pm, will be members of St Hilda's Support Services, Moate, who will be acting as grand marshal.
The parade will also feature music from Rathana Pipe Band, dancing from well-known act the Celtic Blondes, and a host of floats and entries from local community groups and businesses. Anyone who would like to enter a float is asked to get in touch with Moate Action Group.
The parade starts at the Carmelite Friary on the Dublin Road, and will make its way to the viewing area which will be outside the town library on Main Street. Additional musical entertainment on the day will be provided by First Day Lines, Adrian Rabbitte, and Maggie Dunne.
Chair of Moate Action Group Jimmy Redmond is encouraging everyone to come out and support the day, which he says would not be possible without the support of many local individuals and groups.
“I would like to thank the stewards, local businesses and everyone who supports the parade. I would like to acknowledge two people in particular for all their work, Antoinette and Monica from the Moate Action Group,” says Jimmy.