Paddy's Day Goes 'Greener Than Green'

'The Environment' is the theme for Thursday's St Patrick's Day celebrations – organised, for the sixth successive year, by Belfast City Council.

Once again, the carnival will be followed by a free open air concert, featuring pop stars Lemar and Stacey Solomon.

This year's carnival will be encouraging people to think about how they can keep Belfast 'clean and green', now and for future generations.

The performers themselves will be on a mission to clean the city's streets, with a specially designed 'Belfast Dust Buster', while musicians and percussionists will be playing instruments made from recycled materials.

There also will be the world's lowest fuel emission car - powered by keen runners - while a daredevil acrobat will perform between the landmark twin cranes of Samson and Goliath.

The procession will be led by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Pat Convery, alongside the reigning World and European pipe band champions, St Laurence O'Toole.

Pictured at the launch with participants, Road Sweeper Sue (Rachel McCabe from The Beat Carnival and Mr Wizzy (Steve Wilson from Premiere Circus), the Lord Mayor said: "Over the past number of years, St Patrick's Day has become one of the undoubted highlights of Belfast City Council’s events calendar, and this year will see the event continue to grow," he said, noting that the council has worked extremely hard to make the event fully inclusive, so that it appeals to all sections of the community.

"This work definitely has paid off, to make St Patrick's Day an occasion which can be enjoyed by all the people of Belfast, and visitors alike," said Councillor Convery.
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In the lead up to the event, The Beat Carnival - who are organising the carnival on behalf of Belfast City Council – will be working with community groups from across Belfast to create their own colourful carnival pieces to take part in the parade.

Eileen Branagh, Project Manager with The Beat Carnival, said: "There has been a lot of interest in the 2011 Carnival, with many new groups taking part, building on the achievements from previous years.

"Groups will be joined in the parade by a host of carnival performers, Beat Carnival's signature floats, music, percussion and dancing."

The carnival procession will leave City Hall at 12 noon, from where it will make its way into Chichester Street and then into Victoria Street, and from there to Custom House Square.

The main concert, compèred by Stephen Clements from Citybeat, will start at 1pm. The first half of the bill will feature fast and furious traditional music from the acclaimed Pure Blarney, alongside energetic dance performances by Doherty School of Irish Dance, Bright Lights and Artsekta.

Also appearing will be The Blackberries, debuting their new single, 'The Gift', the song was written for the forthcoming British Transplant Games, which take place in Belfast at the beginning of August.

The band's singer, Daniel O'Rourke, received a kidney transplant at the age of three, and all proceeds from the single will go to Transplant Sport UK.

The concert will culminate with a star-studded double finale, with a performance from 2009 'X Factor' finalist and 2010 'I'm A Celebrity…' winner Stacey Solomon, before BRIT- and MOBO-award winner Lemar winds up proceedings.

Entry to the concert will be on a first come first served basis. Gates will open at 12 noon and under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

No alcohol will be sold or permitted on the site, and standard Belfast City Council terms and conditions apply.


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