THOUSANDS of Sydneysiders are expected to flock to the Entertainment Quarter in Moore Park on Sunday, March 18 for their city’s first St Patrick’s Day celebration in three years.
And organisers are very confident that the free event will go ahead – rain or shine – because of the new choice of venue. Last year’s event at Prince Alfred Park had to be cancelled because days of heavy rain turned the park into a safety risk.
The Sydney St Patrick’s Day president said this year’s Green Quarter event will be a fantastic family celebration of Irishness. The venue, he said, was fit for purpose and offered both open-air and covered areas.
“The reason we’ve chosen the Entertainment Quarter this year is because there is proper drainage,” said Robert Kineavy.
And, while most of the festivities will be in the open air, Mr Kineavy said there are also canopies and marquees.
One of the highlights is the children’s parade beginning at noon.
About 300 children wearing fancy dress will march around the Entertainment Quarter, accompanied by pipe bands and flag bearers for the 32 counties. Parents can register their children to take part.
“We see this as a great way to put family at the centre of the celebrations,” said Mr Kineavy.
“The event has different meaning for everyone. For me the celebration is about passing Irish culture to my children.”
There’ll also be a dedicated children’s area, with a bouncing castle, face-painting, lots of fun field events and a creative tent for arts and crafts.
For the adults, most of the focus will be on the main stage where bands like Blackwater and The Bottlers will perform.
A smaller sessions stage will showcase Irish traditional music and there will be a performance tent with story telling. Of course, there will be a bar for that essential St Patrick’s Day Guinness, as well as many Irish craft and food stalls.
“We want to make it a truly worldclass St Patrick’s Day event,” Mr Kineavy said.
Organising all this has taken months of work for the Dubliner and his fellow volunteers. Mr Kineavy admits they have not had it easy.
In 2016, the parade had to be called off because of financial losses caused by bad weather. Having to cancel again last year was a double blow.
While the organisation’s financial situation is much improved thanks to a determined fundraising effort, Mr Kineavy said they still need ongoing community support. Staging the event each year costs about $250,000.
“It is in Irish and Australian Irish people’s interests to keep our culture alive and kicking in Sydney,” he said.
Car parking discounts will be available with the purchase of official merchandise.
To find out more or to register children for the parade or field events, go to sydneystpatricksday.com.au or follow Sydney St Patrick’s Day on Facebook/Instagram