Panti Bliss ‘honoured and excited’ to be Grand Marshal for London St Patrick’s Parade

Panti Bliss ‘honoured and excited’ to be Grand Marshal for London St Patrick’s Parade

PANTI BLISS has been announced as the Grand Marshal for next month’s St Patrick’s Parade in London.

The popular Irish drag queen and gay rights activist said she was “equally honoured and excited to be the Grand Marshal of this year's London St Patrick's Day Parade” before adding that she was “already in training to cover the distance in high heels”.

Bliss will lead the parade through the streets of the capital when it kicks off on Sunday, March 17.

More than 50,000 people are expected to line the streets as the annual procession of Irish marching bands, dance troupes and pageantry winds its way through central London.

Drag queen and gay rights activist Panti Bliss will lead the Mayor of London's St Patrick's Parade

And its host, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is looking forward to the event too.

“London’s annual St Patrick’s Day festivities are a highlight of my year,” he admitted this evening as the plans for the event were unveiled.

“It’s wonderful to join with tens of thousands of Londoners and visitors to celebrate the immense contribution the Irish have made to our great capital over many decades,” he added.

“This year is going to be particularly memorable as we welcome Panti Bliss as Grand Marshal of the St Patrick’s Day parade.

“Celebrations like St Patrick’s Day showcase how welcoming and diverse our city is as we continue to build a better, fairer London for everyone.”

The parade will be followed by the annual St Patrick’s Festival in Traflagar Square.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan pictured at the 2023 St Patrick's Day Parade and Festival in London

The free event takes place from 12noon, offering an afternoon of family friendly entertainment which has been programmed in partnership with the London Irish Centre.

The line-up includes traditional music from Biird and Bodhrán player, Ruairi Glasheen; Irish music with a bhangra twist from the band Jiggy; contemporary music from Kestine and folk singer Laura Elizabeth Hughes as well as performances by the Celtic Youth Orchestra; traditional Irish dancing from the Maguire O'Shea Academy of Irish Dance; community choirs; and a singalong finale.

Celebrity chef Anna Haugh will also be putting on a cookery demonstration from the main stage followed by a Q&A session.

London Irish Centre CEO Séamus MacCormaic, said: “The London Irish Centre is delighted to be Programme Partner for London’s St. Patrick’s Festival for another year.

“This special event acknowledges and celebrates the contribution of Irish communities to London, and we are proud to be part of this story.”

He added: “We will be showcasing a diverse programme of Irish arts and culture in the iconic Trafalgar Square, celebrating the creativity and vibrancy of the Irish community in London, and of Irish artists from the island of Ireland.

“It will include everything from trad fusion band Jiggy, to Kestine, a rapper and singer from Cork, as well as intergenerational London-Irish community representation from Maguire O’Shea’s junior dancers to The Irish Pensioners Choir.

“We want to thank the Mayor of London and Greater London Authority for collaborating with us.”

The Irish Post is the Media Partner for the Mayor of London's St Patrick's Festival 2024.