Sheffield's Big White Tent
Did you know that, from 1903 to 1970, St. Patrick’s Day was classed as a religious holiday in Ireland?
This meant that, by law, all pubs were not allowed to open and no beer was readily available. Oh, the humanity.
Thankfully, times have changed. And here in Sheffield we have our own way of celebrating the saint – with the annual phenomenon that is ‘The Big White Tent’.
Last year saw it rocking up outside the City Hall. This year sees it returning to its spiritual home at the top of Fargate (you know, where that big ol’ wheel used to be).
Pitching up on St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, it’ll be sticking around until the 20th, open from 11am to 1:30am Thursday to Saturday and 11am till 11:30pm Sunday. This gives you a whole four days of uninterrupted drinking time – leaving no excuses for at least a few cheeky pints of the finest Guinness outside of Dublin.
The tent itself will include various beers on tap (mainly Guinness, of course), Irish dancing and a big screen. Put this alongside a food counter, a heated beer garden, BBQ and Irish and continental food market (including traders from Spain, Belgium, Italy and Holland), and it means there’ll be plenty of stuff available to supplement the inevitable grumbling stomach that hits from spending all day drinking in a tent.
The market will include a wide choice of European products such as cheeses, clothing, confectionary and crafts and, as usual, there’ll be a variety of acts and events on to create a true party vibe.
On the Thursday, Sheffield band ‘The Problem With Marie’ will be providing you with sweet music, alongside the headline act of the day, Limerick’s very own ‘Celtic Fling’. There’ll also be various open mic sessions on stage throughout St. Patrick’s Day providing local and Irish music for all tastes, and various bands on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening – including The Tivoli, The Wildcats and Tom Attah. Alongside this, live Six Nations Rugby (including Ireland Vs England, be careful who you support), and action from the Cheltenham Gold Cup will be screened.
The event is organised by volunteers every year, who quite frankly, deserve a huge hug and round of applause for the effort they put into helping Sheffield’s Irish community (and those of us who enjoy a jolly good knees up) celebrate in style. Entrance to the tent is free all weekend so, whether you’re Irish or not, dig out your big green hat, get down to the tent, and enjoy Sheffield’s very own festival of fun and beer (but mainly beer… obviously).
Seek them out on Facebook or head to www.bigwhitetent.co.uk for more.