Birmingham St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Birmingham St. Patrick’s Day Parade
The Birmingham St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the largest Saint Patrick’s Day parade in Europe outside Dublin as well as the largest single-day event in Birmingham. It is the culmination of the St. Patrick’s Festival Birmingham, a week-long celebration dedicated to all things Irish.

Birmingham’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade was founded in 1952. It was the first event of its kind in Britain. The parade was organized by the local Irish community to reinforce their national and cultural identity and to ensure their strong ties to the home country. Since 1996, the parade has been held in and around Digbeth, a district within Birmingham City Center that has very close links with the city’s Irish community and is increasingly also known as the Irish Quarter.

The annual parade is preceded by a week-long festival. St. Patrick’s Festival Birmingham is a non-profit event that relies upon the donations and fundraising work of the Irish Center. Every February the organizers hold a fundraising party featuring the finest Irish musicians that have performed at the festival over the years. The program of the festival itself includes the official civic reception, the festival reel, the Emerald Village with live music and family entertainment, and other events and activities.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the highlight of the festival. It kicks off at noon on the Sunday preceding Saint Patrick’s Day celebrated on March 17. The parade lasts almost two hours. It doesn’t focus exclusively on Irish culture because its main goal is to showcase the diverse cultures and communities of Birmingham.

This vibrant celebration of multiculturalism features Irish dancers and Caribbean dancers, Welsh dragons and Chinese dragons. There are bagpipe bands and marching bands, costumed characters and spectacular floats. The parade draws around 100,000 spectators because what’s there not to enjoy?

The parade is followed by numerous parties and celebrations hosted by local pubs, venues and businesses.

Birmingham St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Photo: Jim Monk




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