Athenry defies coronavirus by going digital for St Patrick’s Day

By Sharon Dolan D’Arcy

Athenry is to take its St Patrick’s Day parade online after the local parade was cancelled due to coronavirus.

Parade organisers, Athenry Community Council have recognised that the cancellation will be disappointing to people planning to participate in the event.

They are now offering a unique digital alternative and inviting the community, “in the spirit of community, inclusivity, positivity and participation” to get involved with the Digital Athenry St Patrick’s Parade 2020.

The digital parade organisers say they want community videos, shot/streamed and shared on their event page on St Patrick’s Day itself. 

They want people to re-imagine the parade; performing it in their driveway or having schools filming their band practice. Various themes like hospitals, choirs, pets, comedies, politics and drive-by floats will all be accepted. 

Athenry based arts group, Gliondar who were to have a float in the parade initially came up with the idea. Gliondar’s chairperson, Máire Daly said that they decided to think outside the box by doing a “whimsical jaunt” through the town and live streaming their section of the parade. Their idea was that if the audience can’t gather to see them, they would reach out digitally to them. The concept grew into a real sense that perhaps people from far away might want to join in on the fun.

“We asked the Athenry Community Council if we could do it officially. They loved the idea, as their coveted prizes are original works by local artists that are specific to each year and dated as such. So we changed the settings on the parade’s Facebook page so the public can post freely.”

Chairperson of Athenry Community Council, Shelly Herterich Quinn said:

“Not even the threat of COVID-19 can stop Athenry celebrating St Patrick’s Day. I can’t wait to see the entries to promote some fun for St Patrick’s Day. Go n-éirí an t-ádh libh go léir.”

The Athenry public are asked to perform their entries in their own location, film them and post to the Facebook event page at Athenry2020 Digital, St. Patricks Day Parade 

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