Birmingham Irish Association steps in to save St Patrick’s Day Parade from being axed
The public event, which attracts nearly 100,000 people and is thought to be the third largest in the world, has not been seen in Birmingham for four years due to COVID-19 restrictions followed by ongoing road works in High Street Deritend.
The original organisers – the St Patrick’s Festival Birmingham Organising Committee – have disbanded which left the annual event facing a very uncertain future in the city.
Thankfully, the BIA stepped in to become the custodians of the event and have confirmed that plans are underway to review the situation and sort out something for festival goers in 2023.
A BIA spokesperson confirmed today that plans are “under review and still at an early stage” but a “low-key community event” is under consideration for 2023 while roadworks and redevelopment in Digbeth prevent the traditional parade from taking place in the heart of Birmingham’s iconic Irish Quarter.
The usual route of the St Patrick’s Day Parade which goes past The Irish Centre in Digbeth is currently a maze of concrete, tarmac, cement, bricks and orange cones as the area is redeveloped and tram lanes constructed by West Midlands Metro along the route used by those taking part in the parade.
There has been sadness expressed by Birmingham’s Irish community as plans move ahead to demolish The Irish Centre in Digbeth as developers move into the area with proposals for apartments and studios.
The annual St Patrick’s Day Parade is usually one of the highlights of the Birmingham community arts and cultural calendar with visitors attending the festivities from around the country.
The family friendly festival – which attracts people from the diverse communities of Birmingham – usually hosts a week of fun fairs, live music, poetry and storytelling sessions, heritage talks celebrating the Irish contribution to Birmingham, and a whole host of stalls and stands that sell everything from street food and drinks to arts and crafts, and a spectacular and colourful carnival style parade that brings smiles to those in attendance.