Thousands of people flooded into the town centre yesterday to enjoy the 16th Huddersfield St Patrick’s Day Parade in blazing sunshine.
Unable to believe their luck with the weather residents forgot Sunday lunchtime chores to grab a slice of the craic in St George’s Square. They also watched the parade wend its way along cordoned off roads around the towncentre.
In fact for some of those taking part in the 90 minute procession the party had begun the previous evening at the Irish Centre when the City of Limerick Pipe and Drum band joined top Country singer Nicky James for a memorable evening.
On the day itself attractions included various floats, the Frumptarn Guggenband from Barnsley which tours all over Europe, the Silver Stars Majorettes from Almondbury, Cassidy Irish dancers from Huddersfield, The Giants Cheerleaders and much more.
At 12.55pm the City of Limerick Pipe and Drum band played A Nation Once Again before the parade began five minutes later.
At 1pm in Market Place, Richard Horsley, chairman of the parade, told the crowds: “Thank you Town Crier, Vic Watson, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, you are very welcome to your 16th Parade.
“In union with Irish organisations across the world we participate in ‘Ireland 2016’ centenary by commemorating the Easter Rising and celebrating 100 years of positive Irish cultural connections with local communities.
“Nowhere is this integration better demonstrated than at the St Patrick’s Day Parade in the great Yorkshire town of Huddersfield.
“To mark the occasion, Rurry McKena, Delia Warne, Owen Jefferson and Katie-MacJefferson representing Irish cultural groups will now present the Huddersfield Town Crier with an Irish Shamrock, a Yorkshire White Rose and some tea and biscuits to round off a good old-fashioned Irish welcome. Thank you.”
And Vic was in full cry at 1.45pm when the colourful All Saints float waved their flags signalling entry into St George’s Square. This was the signal for a four act display.
One of the marchers who had dressed up in a leprechaun outfit – a type of fairy in Irish folklore - was Chris Levy, 48, of Clayton West.
“He said: “I used to play Gaelic football for Huddersfield back in the 1980s and ’90s and it’s great to see the Irish community out in force as well as all these people who support the event.”
Pat Shepherd, who is involved with the Silver Star Majorettes, said: “We would like to thank Aubrey’s Cafe in Almondbury for their £500 donation which has gone to buy batons and uniforms for the parade.”
Nigel Bath of the Frumptarn Guggenband, who lives in Holmfirth, said: “The turn out is absolutely huge, the weather is great and everyone seems to be having a wonderful time.”
And Olde Hatte pub DJ Michael Pascal, 52, of Huddesrfield, had also dressed up specially for the occasion as a leprachaun, said: “I did it last year and couldn’t resist coming again this year, I love it.”
A quirk of the parade is that it take place four days before the world-wide St Patrick’s Day celebrations which will sweep this country on Thursday.
Given the glorious weather the organisers must be on to something!